IEEE Transactions on Professional Communication

Issue 4 • Dec. 1986

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Displaying Results 1 - 25 of 26
  • [Front cover]

    Publication Year: 1986, Page(s): c1
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  • Inside front cover

    Publication Year: 1986, Page(s): c2
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  • Getting to know you

    Publication Year: 1986, Page(s): 1
    Request permission for commercial reuse | Click to expandAbstract |PDF file iconPDF (72 KB)

    Each of the eighteen PCS members who make up the Administrative Committee (AdCom) extends an invitation for you to actively participate in our common purpose of improving technical communications. Service on one of our committees can be a rewarding experience for both you and our Society. View full abstract»

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  • From the guest editors the growing importance of computer documentation

    Publication Year: 1986, Page(s): 2
    Request permission for commercial reuse | Click to expandAbstract |PDF file iconPDF (85 KB)

    Producing computer documentation today involves more than just writing. Today's computer documentation specialists must draw on a wide range of multidisciplinary skills to produce an effective documentation package. Beyond knowledge of the underlying computer technology and the necessary writing skills, they must also draw upon pertinent concepts from marketing, user psychology, graphic design, sc... View full abstract»

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  • Opening passage: A new look at the system documentation problem

    Publication Year: 1986, Page(s):3 - 10
    Cited by:  Papers (1)
    Request permission for commercial reuse | Click to expandAbstract |PDF file iconPDF (601 KB)

    The unwieldy and sometimes bizarre practices used in computer documentation spring from its role in the computer company and its relation to software development. This paper analyzes the assumptions and research methods behind manuals for programmers and system administrators. It builds an objective critique of current manuals' disjointed and legalistic approach. The paper also relates documentati... View full abstract»

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  • User expectations of online information

    Publication Year: 1986, Page(s):11 - 15
    Cited by:  Papers (4)
    Request permission for commercial reuse | Click to expandAbstract |PDF file iconPDF (365 KB)

    What you see is what you get — and what you expect to see is often what you get. Users' expectations that the display screens used in on-line documentation will be understandable, transparent as to mechanics, intelligent in dynamic interaction, animated, and capable of being read at an acceptable speed are discussed in this paper. Ways of meeting these expectations are presented, and areas ... View full abstract»

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  • Documentation is the key to user success

    Publication Year: 1986, Page(s):16 - 18
    Cited by:  Papers (2)
    Request permission for commercial reuse | Click to expandAbstract |PDF file iconPDF (169 KB)

    This article discusses tests conducted at the IBM Human Factors Laboratory to compare the productivity of people using task-oriented versus product-oriented information. The failure rate was 310 percent higher with the product-oriented information. The conservatively calculated overall productivity gain attained by task-oriented information was 41 percent. View full abstract»

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  • Computer user documentation problems: Their causes and solutions

    Publication Year: 1986, Page(s):19 - 20
    Cited by:  Papers (1)
    Request permission for commercial reuse | Click to expandAbstract |PDF file iconPDF (149 KB)

    Computer user documentation tends to be written by computer people, who organize manuals in terms of software structure. The author details problems caused by this approach, and ways in which they can be resolved. View full abstract»

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  • Programmer and writer collaboration: Making user manuals that work

    Publication Year: 1986, Page(s):21 - 25
    Cited by:  Papers (1)
    Request permission for commercial reuse | Click to expandAbstract |PDF file iconPDF (431 KB)

    Collaboration between the programming and documentation departments may be the key to writing good user manuals. Although time constraints and the computer culture stand in the way of collaboration, writers and programmers can overcome these problems with respect, good humor, and careful thinking. This paper describes an informal but successful system developed over the last three years at a softw... View full abstract»

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  • So what is task orientation, anyway?

    Publication Year: 1986, Page(s):26 - 32
    Cited by:  Papers (3)
    Request permission for commercial reuse | Click to expandAbstract |PDF file iconPDF (439 KB)

    This article discusses the results of a mail survey of 42 software manual writers, editors, and their managers residing in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area. The survey analyzed the concept of task orientation in computer manuals. Analysis of the survey led to the following conclusions: software manual writers, editors, and their managers overwhelmingly think task orientation is the best way to organi... View full abstract»

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  • The meaning of reading-to-do documentation

    Publication Year: 1986, Page(s):33 - 36
    Cited by:  Papers (1)
    Request permission for commercial reuse | Click to expandAbstract |PDF file iconPDF (321 KB)

    Despite the acknowledged importance of reader feedback to computer documentation, few relevant, standardized, empirically validated measures for such feedback have been developed. Research involving hundreds of experienced computer users from more than 30 organizations indicates that there are at least three principal dimensions which readers employ when evaluating documentation used in the perfor... View full abstract»

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  • Integrating online documentation into the technical publishing process

    Publication Year: 1986, Page(s):37 - 41
    Cited by:  Papers (2)
    Request permission for commercial reuse | Click to expandAbstract |PDF file iconPDF (402 KB)

    Historically, online documentation has not lived up to its potential because of hardware and software limitations and a lack of integration into the traditional document production process. A networked workstation architecture and new production techniques offer solutions to these restrictions. A strategy for creating an integrated online system is discussed, followed by a description of a real-wo... View full abstract»

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  • Guidelines for producing documentation for expert systems

    Publication Year: 1986, Page(s):42 - 47
    Cited by:  Papers (2)
    Request permission for commercial reuse | Click to expandAbstract |PDF file iconPDF (433 KB)

    This article presents guidelines for the design and production of expert system user documentation. Expert system documentation shares many characteristics of documentation for any type of software. However, differences between traditional software and expert systems impact documentation efforts. The increased complexity of expert systems demands more attention to human-factor design issues. In ad... View full abstract»

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  • Audience diversity: A major challenge in computer documentation

    Publication Year: 1986, Page(s):48 - 55
    Cited by:  Papers (2)
    Request permission for commercial reuse | Click to expandAbstract |PDF file iconPDF (632 KB)

    Increasingly, documentation for computer systems and products addresses diverse audiences, ranging from professional computer engineers to novice readers who have never before used a computer. This diversity presents a real challenge to the computer documentation professional: how do we address the needs of both novice and sophisticated users? Furthermore, effective user documentation must be proc... View full abstract»

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  • Personality in computer documentation: A preference study

    Publication Year: 1986, Page(s):56 - 60
    Cited by:  Papers (1)
    Request permission for commercial reuse | Click to expandAbstract |PDF file iconPDF (387 KB)

    There is a move in technical writing today toward a personalized, “user-friendly” writing style which is strikingly evident in many computer textbooks and instructional manuals. This paper presents the results of a study to determine which style of writing people prefer in a computer tutorial, given the choice between formal, moderately friendly, and extremely friendly texts, and whe... View full abstract»

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  • If you write documentation, then try a decision table

    Publication Year: 1986, Page(s):61 - 64
    Cited by:  Papers (1)
    Request permission for commercial reuse | Click to expandAbstract |PDF file iconPDF (242 KB)

    A decision table is a powerful documentation tool based on a simple principle: sets of responses for sets of conditions. It is used to present a large quantity of complex information in a simple, straightforward manner. Since the decision table requires no special symbols nor shapes, it is understood by nonprogrammers and programmers alike. Because of this, it can serve as a common denominator for... View full abstract»

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  • A games approach to system interface design

    Publication Year: 1986, Page(s):65 - 71
    Cited by:  Papers (1)
    Request permission for commercial reuse | Click to expandAbstract |PDF file iconPDF (491 KB)

    Computer adventure games and operating systems have something in common: each presents to its players or users alien worlds that they can explore. The major difference between games and operating systems is in the way they communicate with people; operating systems tend to communicate poorly, while adventure games communicate so well that players need minimal introductory or reference documentatio... View full abstract»

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  • Topping the text

    Publication Year: 1986, Page(s):72 - 74
    Cited by:  Papers (1)
    Request permission for commercial reuse | Click to expandAbstract |PDF file iconPDF (255 KB)

    Technical writers need to pay close attention to writing good headings because headings not only provide information to users but also motivate users to examine a document. Writing a good heading is a rhetorical action; that is, you first determine how you want users to perceive your document and then use language and structure to project that image. View full abstract»

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  • Online information, traditional page design, and reader expectation

    Publication Year: 1986, Page(s):75 - 80
    Cited by:  Papers (2)
    Request permission for commercial reuse | Click to expandAbstract |PDF file iconPDF (491 KB)

    Online information must focus on traditional reader expectations in the creation of layout features for specific tasks. Typical screen limitations must also be considered in terms of the limits they impose on typical user interactions and navigation techniques. To address both these issues, screen geometries must be applied to functional designs. In addition, information developers need to conside... View full abstract»

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  • A case study of online information: Second generation systems design

    Publication Year: 1986, Page(s):81 - 86
    Cited by:  Papers (2)
    Request permission for commercial reuse | Click to expandAbstract |PDF file iconPDF (464 KB)

    This article presents a typical online information system and discusses the problems inherent in its use. The problems are addressed by a revised system which provides easier access to the data base for both novice and experienced users. The system is illustrated by a scenario of a typical interaction with the revised system. View full abstract»

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  • Testing online and print user documentation

    Publication Year: 1986, Page(s):87 - 92
    Cited by:  Papers (8)
    Request permission for commercial reuse | Click to expandAbstract |PDF file iconPDF (895 KB)

    User-testing of computer documentation is beginning to move into the laboratory. A properly conducted user test offers the software producer much information that cannot be obtained in any other manner. This paper discusses the advantages and disadvantages of the old ways of user testing. In addition, a detailed case study of a laboratory-based usability test is presented. View full abstract»

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  • Results of a telephone survey of technical documentation users

    Publication Year: 1986, Page(s):93 - 100
    Cited by:  Papers (3)
    Request permission for commercial reuse | Click to expandAbstract |PDF file iconPDF (477 KB)

    A telephone survey is a potentially effective way to learn the preferences of technical documentation users. The sample must be carefully selected, however, to ensure that it is representative of the customers who will be using a given category of products and manuals. Surveys of two different populations of computer manual users have been shown to yield conflicting results. In one such survey, we... View full abstract»

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  • The CommuGuide© Booklet Series

    Publication Year: 1986, Page(s): 100
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  • 1986 Index IEEE transactions on professional communication vol. PC-29

    Publication Year: 1986, Page(s):101 - 104
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    Freely Available from IEEE
  • [Back inside cover]

    Publication Year: 1986, Page(s): c3
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    Freely Available from IEEE

Aims & Scope

The IEEE Transactions on Professional Communication is a peer-reviewed journal devoted to applied research on professional communication--including but not limited to technical and business communication. It has been published since 1957 by the Professional Communication Society of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE).

Full Aims & Scope

Meet Our Editors

Editor-in-Chief
George F. Hayhoe
Mercer University School of Eng.