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IEEE Transactions on Professional Communication

Issue 4 • Date Dec. 1986

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

    Publication Year: 1986, Page(s): c1
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    Freely Available from IEEE
  • 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)

    An analysis is presented of the assumptions and research methods behind computer manuals for programmers and system administrators. The author builds an objective critique of current manuals' disjointed and legalistic approach. He also relates documentation issues to the structure of computer systems and to methods of development. Although analytical and theoretical, this critique offers concrete ... View full abstract»

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  • User expectations of online information

    Publication Year: 1986, Page(s):11 - 15
    Cited by:  Papers (3)
    Request permission for commercial reuse | Click to expandAbstract | PDF file iconPDF (365 KB)

    User's expectations that the display screens used in online documentation will be understandable, transparent as to mechanics, intelligent in dynamic interaction, animated, and capable of being read at an acceptable speed are discussed. Ways of meeting these expectations are presented, and areas of future research are suggested. 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)

    A discussion is presented of test conducted at the IBM Human Factors Laboratory in Kingston, New York, to compare the productivity of people using computer-manual, task oriented vs. product-oriented information. The failure rate was 310% higher with the product-oriented information. The conservatively calculated overall productivity gain attained by task-oriented information was 41%. 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, those familiar with or involved with the computer's development, 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. The authors describe 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)

    The author 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 organize... 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 use when evaluating documentation used in the performan... 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 (1)
    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 network 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-worl... 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)

    The author 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 addi... 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 used a computer. This diversity presents a challenge to the computer documentation professional: how to address the needs of both novice and sophisticated users? Effective user documentation must be procedure-oriented: how to combi... 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. The author 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 whether their lev... 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 or shapes, it is understood by nonprogrammers and programmers alike. It can thus serve as a common denominator for a project te... 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)

    The author argues that 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, the writer first determined how the writer wants users to perceive the document and then uses 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)

    The author argues that 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 dev... 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)

    The authors present a typical online information system and discuss the problems inherent in its use. The problems are addressed by a revised system which provides easier access to the database for both novice and experienced users. The system is illustrated by a scenario of a typical interaction with the revised system. The system used as an example is an online library catalog based on the SPIRE... 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 software producer much more information that cannot be obtained in any other manner. The author discusses the advantages and disadvantages of the previous ways of user testing such as testing in the marketplace, magazine reviews, and prerelease on-site testing (beta tests). In add... 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 potential 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, 84 i... 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.