A directory of resources inthe field of technical communication.

Works Published in 2006

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An index of all the works published in 2006.



Developing DITA Maps   (PDF)

DITA maps provide a mechanism for ordering topics and creating a topic hierarchy. Because DITA maps consist of lists of references to topics, you can reorganize the content in a deliverable simply by changing the order of the topic references. You can create different maps referencing the same source topics to create two deliverables to meet different users' needs.

Linton, Jennifer. ComTech Services (2006). Presentations>Information Design>XML>DITA


Developing the Invisible

During my years as an interface designer, I've worked with lots of different development teams. From big companies to small startups, the interactions between me--the product designer--and developers have been pretty consistent. We work through what interactions and features are possible given our timeframe and resources. We discuss edge cases and clarify how specific interactions should work. We debate product strategy, information architecture, target audience, front-end technologies, and more. We also frequently encounter the same issue: the need to consider what's not there.

Wroblewski, Luke. UXmatters (2006). Design>User Interface


Developing User Interface Guidelines for DVD Menus

Watching DVDs can be a frustrating experience, because DVD menus often miss out on usability and are complex and difficult to navigate through. Similar to the early years of web development, there is a lack of design standards. In this paper, we show the development of user interface guidelines for DVD menus. These guidelines can be used to design and evaluate DVD menus. We built a prototype according to the guidelines, conducted usability tests with the prototype and evaluated other movie DVDs using the guidelines to show the applicability, utility and usability of the guidelines.

Kappel, Karin, Martin Tomitsch, Thomas Koltringer and Thomas Grechenig. Proceedings of ACM CHI 2006 (2006). Design>User Interface>Multimedia>DVD


Developing with Apache Derby -- Hitting the Trifecta

Along with creating a database schema and populating tables with data, being able to selectively modify data is one of the most important skills necessary for a database developer. This article teaches you how to selectively delete or update data in an existing table and how to modify the structure of an existing table. To perform data modifications on a more complex database schema, you'll learn about embedded subqueries, both scalar and table, with data update and data insert operations. You'll also find out how to delete and modify data in complex schemas using the Apache Derby database.

Brunner, Robert. IBM (2006). Design>Web Design>Server Side Includes>Databases


Digital Content Developers and Cultural Memory

Digital content producers must regard preservation and archiving as an essential task.

McLeod, Michael. Content Matters (2006). Articles>Web Design>Cultural Theory>History


Digital Divide: The Three Stages

The 'digital divide' refers to the fact that certain parts of the population have substantially better opportunities to benefit from the new economy than other parts of the population. Most commentators view this in purely economic terms. However, two other types of divide will have much greater impact in the years to come.

Nielsen, Jakob. Alertbox (2006). Articles>Usability>Accessibility>Online


Digital Libraries and the Need for a Universal Digital Publication Format   (peer-reviewed)

Reports have revealed low uses of e-books and other lengthy texts held in digital libraries. In this article we claim that one of the main reasons for the lack of interest is the current multitude of end-user text formats, some oriented towards print, others proprietary, and few optimized for sustained reading of text-intensive publications. We note IDPF's reluctance to develop a common digital publication format, discuss requirements for a universal, open-standard end-user format, and present the effort to establish such a format by the OpenReader Consortium. The main objective of the article is to examine the pros and cons of a universal, reader-oriented text format for different types of critical text editions and digital libraries.

Hillesund, Terje and Jon E. Noring. Journal of Electronic Publishing (2006). Articles>Publishing>Standards>Online


Dimensions of Usability: Defining the Conversation, Driving the Process

Have you ever wondered if your colleagues or clients really understand usability? Too often, standards or guidelines substitute for really engaging our business, technical and design colleagues in a discussion of what usability means. By looking at usability from five dimensions, we can create a consensus around usability goals and use that definition to provide the basis for planning user centered design activities.

Quesenbery, Whitney. uiGarden (2006). Articles>Usability>User Centered Design


Directives Do Right: Writing for the "Mounties"   (PDF)

Coates's job as a senior writer and editor for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police is full of variety and challenges.

Coates, Melanie. Intercom (2006). Careers>Business Communication>Case Studies


Display 2.0: A Look Forward to the High-Definition Web and Its Effect on Our Digital Experience

The adoption of high-resolution displays--with 150 or more pixels per inch--will significantly alter our conception of what the Web and networked applications can potentially be. As the price of high-res displays comes down to earth and early adopters make way for mass consumers, beautiful visualizations of data will enrich the digital realm.

Follett, Jonathan. UXmatters (2006). Design>Graphic Design>Web Design>High Definition


Displaying ADO Retrieved Data with XML Islands

An XML data island is a piece of well-formed XML embedded into an HTML file. This article will show you how to retrieve data in an XML format from a database using ADO; you will also learn how to bind this data into an HTML document.

Krishnaswamy, Jayaram. Dev Articles (2006). Articles>Information Design>XML>XHTML


DITA Knowledge Base

The DITA Knowledge Base pages provide a reliable basis of technical and educational information on the standard.

XML.org (2006). Resources>Information Design>XML>DITA


DITA--A Standard for TD?   (members only)

The abbreviation DITA stands for 'Darwin Information Typing Architecture', an information architecture based on XML. DITA is not a mere reinvention of the wheel: rather, it sets the standards for known structuring requirements. The most striking feature of this architecture is the clear orientation towards a technology for structuring, which has already proved its worth in online documentation.

Closs, Sissi. tekom (2006). Articles>Information Design>XML>DITA


Do Internet Users Want Deep Content or Immediate Gratification?

For a long time I have been an advocate of quality content on web sites. And now I am conducting an experiment that pitches quality content against immediate gratification.

Usborne, Nick. Excess Voice (2006). Articles>Information Design>Web Design>Writing


Do Links Need Underlines?

During our recent Virtual Seminar on home page design, several people asked about whether it makes a difference if links are underlined or not. It's a good question and one we get frequently.

Spool, Jared M. User Interface Engineering (2006). Design>Web Design>Usability>Interaction Design


Do Too Many Graphics Reduce Sales Page Conversion Rates?

Optimizing an offer page to maximize the number of people who make a purchase or pay for a subscription is a delicate process. You need to get the balance just right.

Usborne, Nick. Excess Voice (2006). Design>Web Design>Graphic Design>E Commerce


Do Usability Expert Evaluation and Testing Provide Novel and Useful Data for Game Development?   (PDF)   (peer-reviewed)

A case study was done to study whether usability expert evaluation and testing are suitable for game development. In the study, a computer game under development was first evaluated and then tested. Game developers were then asked to rate the findings and give other feedback about the methods used and the results gained. It was found that the usability expert evaluation and testing provided both novel and useful data for game development. Based on these and the other results it is argued that the usability expert evaluation and testing have considerable face validity in game development. In addition to the usefulness and face validity of the methods it was studied whether the usability experts participating in the game usability expert evaluation should be double experts. It was found that there was no significant difference in the number or the rated relevancy of the problem the gamer and non-gamer usability specialists found.

Laitinen, Sauli. Journal of Usability Studies (2006). Articles>Usability>Testing>Methods


Do We Really Need a Site Navigation?

Whoever performed any usability tests knows, that users look straight away at the content. Users first look the pictures then at the titles then at the text. Navigation often gets completely ignored. In my seven years of conceiving websites and monitoring usablity tests I am tempted to say that navigation is useless.

Information Architects Japan (2006). Design>Web Design>Information Design


Do's and Don'ts for Resumes

Keep it simple and easy to read. Do not overuse bold or italic lettering. When sending via e-mail, remember everyone may not have the same equipment/programs that you do.

Raperto, Marie. IABC (2006). Careers>Resumes


DocBook or DITA?

XML is the future. You hear it at every conference you go to, in every magazine you pick up, in every article you read on-line. For technical writers, right now that future comes down to two products—DocBook or DITA. But what exactly are they, and which one should you choose? They are schemas for creating XML.

Technical Writer (2006). Articles>Documentation>DocBook>DITA


Documentation for Sarbanes-Oxley

In the financial end of business, more work is being done with documentation, thanks to Sarbanes-Oxley and financial accountability.

KeyContent.org (2006). Articles>Business Communication>Documentation


Documentation Quality Checklist

Basic checklist for assessing and improving the quality of technical documentation, especially software documentation such as user manuals, online help files, interactive demos and tutorials.

Achtelig, Marc. indoition engineering (2006). Articles>Documentation>Quality>Documentation


Does the Intrusiveness of an Online Advertisement Influence User Recall and Recognition?

This study investigated the effect of the type (banner ad, pop-up ad and floating ad) and state (animated and non-animated) of online advertisements on recall and recognition of the advertisements. It was hypothesized that floating ads, pop-up ads, and animated ads would be easier to recall due to their intrusive nature. Results showed that participants in the pop-up ad and floating ad condition had better recall of the presence of the ad as well as better recognition. Animation did not significantly influence any of these measures.

Shrestha, Sav. Usability News (2006). Design>Web Design>Usability>E Commerce


Dogmas Are Meant to be Broken: An Interview with Eric Reiss

With training in everything from stage design to Egyptology to hypertext games to web projects, Reiss has had extensive practice in finding out what makes an experience work. Could these be the principles I've been waiting for? I tracked down Reiss in Vancouver to find out.

Danzico, Liz. Boxes and Arrows (2006). Articles>Information Design>Theory>Minimalism


Doing HTTP Caching Right: Introducing httplib2

In the latest installment of Joe Gregorio's The Restful Web column Joe goes a bit nuts, presenting httplib2, a Python HTTP client library written with the goal of doing caching in HTTP right.

Gregorio, Joe. XML.com (2006). Articles>Web Design>Server Side Includes>Python