A directory of resources inthe field of technical communication.


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Creating An Information Model

An Information Model provides the framework for organizing your content so that it can be delivered and reused in a variety of innovative ways. Once you have created an Information Model for your content repository, you will be able to label information in ways that will enhance search and retrieval, making it possible for authors and users to find the information resources they need quickly and easily.

Hackos, JoAnn T. WebRef (2002). Design>Content Management>Single Sourcing>Web Design


Creating RSS Files for Your Web Site

Recently I have received more and more questions about the Rich Site Summary (RSS) format and its use for Web masters. The short answer is that RSS is a great way for any Web site to advertise their content in an always up-to-date fashion.

WebRef (2000). Design>Web Design>XML>RSS


Debugging JavaScript Using Venkman

Most people who do even a little bit of JavaScript programming, even those who are simply tweaking somebody else’s code, are familiar with the rudimentary JavaScript debugger in the recent versions of Internet Explorer. Click on the yellow warning icon in your browser, and you get a listing of various JavaScript errors in your code. It is simple, and for many people it is enough, but it’s not really the type of fully-fledged debugging environment with features programmers have come to expect in other development languages. If you find yourself doing a lot of JavaScript programming or tweaking and you are concerned with cross-browser support for your scripts, then Venkman is worth checking out.

Schengili-Roberts, Keith. WebRef (2003). Design>Web Design>Programming>DHTML


Designing Site Navigation

Even with the best possible design of any single page, your site will fail to attract visitors if not equipped with a neat, consistent, and intuitive navigational interface. This article addresses the main issues designers confront when building effective navigation tools.

Kirsanov, Dmitri. WebRef (1997). Design>Web Design>Information Design


Serving Up Web-Friendly Animations in a Flash: Macromedia Flash Basics

You've undoubtedly heard of Macromedia's Director and have oohed and ahhed over Shockwave movies on the web after, of course, they finally finished downloading. Flash, however, may be less familiar. The May release of Macromedia Flash 2, formerly FutureSplash, marked a new phase in web animation -- one that streams. Working with Flash will enable you to create sophisticated frame by frame animations that stream and include sound. Flash movies require a plug-in; however, you can export your final flash files in one of 12 other formats, including GIF89. So if you're of the anti-plugin crowd, don't hit your back button yet. Besides, if you're relatively sure your audience is using a 'new' browser, then they'll likely have the Shockwave plug-in built in (once both browsers 4.0 are out, that is).

Cowen, Amy. WebRef (1997). Design>Web Design>Software>Flash


What Makes a Great Web Site?

What are the essential traits of great Web sites? After you visit a site and find yourself staying awhile, what makes you stay? A sense of humor helps. Flashy graphics are nice. But the fundamental traits that make a site work are more elusive. This article will break down the essential characteristics of great Web sites into some easily followed rules of thumb. Most of these guidelines are just plain common sense, which seems to be a scarce commodity on the Web. The sexy proprietary page-layout and text markup features provided by Netscape and Explorer as they leapfrog each other have seduced many a webmaster into jazzing up their pages, only to be forced to put 'you must use Netscape/Explorer to view these pages' at the bottom. This could be rephrased to say 'these pages look awful without Netscape or Explorer.' Stick with standard HTML (currently HTML 4) (1) and your pages will look good on all browsers that support it. Overall, we've found that companies either get the Web or they don't. Your Web site should reflect the culture of the Web, which we call the 'Gift Economy.' (Witness Netscape and Microsoft.) Very few sites (5%) can charge for admission or require membership, and many people avoid sites with these barriers. Give away something valuable: information, software, advice, humor, and people will flock to your site.

WebRef (1999). Design>Web Design

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