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18th Annual Conference on Computer Documentation. ipcc sigdoc 2000. Technology and Teamwork. Proceedings. IEEE Professional Communication Society International Professional Communication Conference an

24-27 Sept. 2000

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  • 18th Annual Conference on Computer Documentation. ipcc sigdoc 2000. Technology and Teamwork. Proceedings. IEEE Professional Communication Society International Professional Communication Conference and ACM Special Interest Group on Documentation Conference (Cat. No.00CH37136)

    Publication Year: 2000
    Request permission for commercial reuse | PDF file iconPDF (320 KB)
    Freely Available from IEEE
  • Creating single-sourced tutorials

    Publication Year: 2000, Page(s):343 - 351
    Request permission for commercial reuse | Click to expandAbstract | PDF file iconPDF (434 KB)

    Suppose you want to integrate a tutorial, or several tutorials, into your product documentation. Doing so can let your users check their understanding and ability to use what they have learned. In HTML documentation, for example, you could structure your pre-exam documentation so that it builds toward a core set of principles and procedures that you identify as necessary for a typical user. At Omn... View full abstract»

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  • Author index

    Publication Year: 2000, Page(s):631 - 633
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    Freely Available from IEEE
  • Technical communication degrees for the 21st century

    Publication Year: 2000, Page(s):69 - 74
    Cited by:  Papers (3)
    Request permission for commercial reuse | Click to expandAbstract | PDF file iconPDF (388 KB)

    The practice of technical communication, especially for professionals just entering the workplace, is rapidly changing. Companies have higher expectations for degrees in technical communication, a strong foundation in technology, and the ability to function on cross-disciplinary teams alongside technical experts in the design and development process. As the practice of technical communication shif... View full abstract»

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  • Testing documentation with “low-tech” simulation

    Publication Year: 2000, Page(s):55 - 68
    Cited by:  Papers (1)
    Request permission for commercial reuse | Click to expandAbstract | PDF file iconPDF (932 KB)

    This paper introduces low-tech simulation as a technique for testing procedures and their documentation. The key idea is to test the interface-procedure-documentation set in the early stages of development, where changes can be still be made easily, using extremely low-cost simulation materials. Using this low-tech method developers can test and improve the usability of documentation for user inte... View full abstract»

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  • Documentation meets version control: an automated backup system for HTML-based help

    Publication Year: 2000, Page(s):541 - 548
    Request permission for commercial reuse | Click to expandAbstract | PDF file iconPDF (476 KB)

    Software developers have used version control systems for years, to manage source code changes and to enable them to reproduce any given level of their software from the source code that created it. Most writing departments, however, tend to perform full-scale weekly backups at best or tempt fate by not performing any backups at worst. The two major reasons for this neglect of document version con... View full abstract»

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  • Effective prototyping for usability

    Publication Year: 2000, Page(s):47 - 54
    Request permission for commercial reuse | Click to expandAbstract | PDF file iconPDF (548 KB)

    People designing software with a usability perspective use a variety of techniques to engage prospective users in a dialog about the target application's functionality and interaction model. The authors discuss how and when they have been able to use prototyping techniques to maximize the value of this dialog. They review several widely used approaches to prototyping and evaluate them along the di... View full abstract»

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  • Learning and building strategies with computer games

    Publication Year: 2000, Page(s):535 - 540
    Cited by:  Papers (1)
    Request permission for commercial reuse | Click to expandAbstract | PDF file iconPDF (296 KB)

    It has been frequently noted that people can intuitively learn to play computer games (or video games) with little or no instruction and that they quickly and easily develop skills for becoming better players. The same is rarely said of software for business applications. We were interested in learning why this is true. We have undertaken a study is to see what aspects of game interfaces contribut... View full abstract»

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  • Web site design: a case study in usability testing using paper prototypes

    Publication Year: 2000, Page(s):39 - 45
    Cited by:  Papers (3)
    Request permission for commercial reuse | Click to expandAbstract | PDF file iconPDF (368 KB)

    Paper prototypes are a low-tech, low-cost, but highly effective, form of usability testing for Web site design. Creating a Web site is relatively easy, given the technology and tools now available. All too often, Web site developers tend to be enamored with the technology and forget the needs of the end user. As a result, many Web site developers delay usability testing until their Web site is com... View full abstract»

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  • What you installed is what you see: help navigation in modular software products

    Publication Year: 2000, Page(s):521 - 533
    Cited by:  Papers (1)  |  Patents (7)
    Request permission for commercial reuse | Click to expandAbstract | PDF file iconPDF (756 KB)

    As software becomes increasingly modular and componentized, giving users more control over what components they install and use, the challenge of creating useful, task-based navigation hierarchies becomes more complex. Help navigation needs to reflect the tasks a user can actually perform, given the components that were installed. This presents organizational and writing challenges for writers and... View full abstract»

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  • Document collaboration and tacit knowledge

    Publication Year: 2000, Page(s):407 - 418
    Request permission for commercial reuse | Click to expandAbstract | PDF file iconPDF (780 KB)

    Discusses how process documents, i.e. video recordings of a person's writing, mediate the way people collaborate with one another to construct texts. First, I talk about tacit knowledge and how it is inarticulate without a medium that supports articulation. I then talk about cognitive tools that support collaboration and how video recording, as such a tool, can support multiple ways of “seei... View full abstract»

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  • High-tech publications need old-fashioned editing

    Publication Year: 2000, Page(s):145 - 154
    Cited by:  Papers (1)
    Request permission for commercial reuse | Click to expandAbstract | PDF file iconPDF (616 KB)

    Standard formats, familiar word choices, consistency, organization, simple graphic formats, technology, mechanics, and the global nature of the user and the media are major considerations that are often ignored when producing high-tech publications. Oversights and errors are usually corrected in print publications with conventional editing as a step in the production process. However, the authors ... View full abstract»

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  • You can go home again: successful telecommuting for the technical communicator

    Publication Year: 2000, Page(s):25 - 37
    Cited by:  Papers (2)
    Request permission for commercial reuse | Click to expandAbstract | PDF file iconPDF (668 KB)

    With the right people and properly set expectations, technical communications projects completed by telecommuters are done as well as, if not better than, projects completed by traditional office-based employees. Telecommuting requires ground rules and standards, but provides numerous benefits for employees and employers. Technical communications is an ideal career for telecommuting because it is ... View full abstract»

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  • Making complex document structures accessible through templates

    Publication Year: 2000, Page(s):509 - 519
    Cited by:  Papers (1)
    Request permission for commercial reuse | Click to expandAbstract | PDF file iconPDF (564 KB)

    Addresses two problems of technical authors in structured environments: (1) structure definitions of the SGML school are limiting: they require one primary hierarchy and do not cater for link types; and (2) real-life structure definitions are too large to be comprehended easily. As solutions, we propose graph types and usage templates. The edge types and inheritance of the proposed graph type mode... View full abstract»

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  • The politics, problems, and practicalities of serving as effective user advocate in an obstinate organization

    Publication Year: 2000, Page(s):111 - 124
    Cited by:  Papers (1)
    Request permission for commercial reuse | Click to expandAbstract | PDF file iconPDF (960 KB)

    We are all, to some extent, political animals who continually work with definitions and categorizations, trying to determine who is inside our group, who is outside our group, who is supportive of our group, who is detrimental who is useful and productive and who is not. These politics of organization, classification, division and association are intensified as the pressures on our groups to succe... View full abstract»

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  • Building a team for user-centered design

    Publication Year: 2000, Page(s):325 - 332
    Cited by:  Papers (1)
    Request permission for commercial reuse | Click to expandAbstract | PDF file iconPDF (432 KB)

    This paper presents the building blocks for building a team for user-centered design. These building blocks include an understanding of the skills needed for team members representing various aspects of the user experience, as well as the advantages of using a team-approach to user-centered design. To have a successful experience, team members must understand the stages of group formation, the rol... View full abstract»

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  • Making sense of step-by-step procedures

    Publication Year: 2000, Page(s):463 - 475
    Cited by:  Papers (2)
    Request permission for commercial reuse | Click to expandAbstract | PDF file iconPDF (752 KB)

    Procedural instructions that consist of only a sequence of steps will probably be executable, but nevertheless “meaningless” to users of technical devices. The paper discusses three features that can make procedural instructions more meaningful: adding functional coordinating information, adding information about the use of the technical device in real life, and adding operational info... View full abstract»

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  • Technological mediation for design collaboration

    Publication Year: 2000, Page(s):395 - 405
    Cited by:  Papers (2)
    Request permission for commercial reuse | Click to expandAbstract | PDF file iconPDF (676 KB)

    As the new century opens, work processes have been reengineered, shifting from Tayloristic models of sequential specialization toward work processes that are concurrent and multidisciplinary. This shift in work processes puts a premium on design collaborations in which members of project teams go beyond the simple coordination of still individualistic work to engage in joint activity aimed at the ... View full abstract»

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  • Building cross-disciplinary teams in higher education institutions

    Publication Year: 2000, Page(s):81 - 86
    Request permission for commercial reuse | Click to expandAbstract | PDF file iconPDF (436 KB)

    The industrial workplace models of team dynamics tend to misrepresent the character of collaborative activities and professional relationships in educational communities. An alternative model is suggested of self-directed, informal teams of educators in an integrated campus creating academic work units with all the characteristics of positive team formations in business and industry, and the addit... View full abstract»

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  • A Why-What-How tool for development and documentation of operating procedures

    Publication Year: 2000, Page(s):559 - 570
    Cited by:  Patents (1)
    Request permission for commercial reuse | Click to expandAbstract | PDF file iconPDF (688 KB)

    DSTOP (Design Support Tool for Operating Procedures) is a relatively simple software tool for the support of designers of new user interfaces and their procedures for use. DSTOP is based on two complementary models: the documentation coherence maxims and the situated-act model, which distinguishes domain actions from interface actions. Use of the tool involves the writing of operating procedures u... View full abstract»

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  • Applying culture to Web site design: a comparison of Malaysian and US Web sites

    Publication Year: 2000, Page(s):161 - 171
    Cited by:  Papers (2)
    Request permission for commercial reuse | Click to expandAbstract | PDF file iconPDF (648 KB)

    Cultural localization should become a necessary adjunct to technology transfer and global business communication. A recent Siemens study (1999) of mobile phone use in Germany and China highlighted the value of cultural models and culturally localized support information. We similarly compare cultural orientations and design preferences for Web sites in Malaysia and the United States. We review the... View full abstract»

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  • Editing to improve online information

    Publication Year: 2000, Page(s):137 - 143
    Request permission for commercial reuse | Click to expandAbstract | PDF file iconPDF (452 KB)

    Online documentation has provided new challenges for information developers. At the IBM Toronto lab, those challenges have led editors to alter the work they do. They have found that the nonlinear nature of HTML information webs makes quality control more crucial and difficult than it was when information appeared in books. Editors provide both guidelines and quality assurance to try to maintain c... View full abstract»

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  • Getting “dissed”: technical communicators in interdisciplinary engineering teams

    Publication Year: 2000, Page(s):7 - 23
    Cited by:  Papers (2)
    Request permission for commercial reuse | Click to expandAbstract | PDF file iconPDF (1144 KB)

    We discuss what we identified as the perils and promises of matching our technical communication students with teams of engineers in a capstone, client-based engineering course. Specifically, we identify the key issues that surfaced, focusing the discussion around three themes we saw as contributing to multidisciplinary success: participation level, role definition, and connections between interim... View full abstract»

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  • Exploring navigational patterns on the Web

    Publication Year: 2000, Page(s):581 - 591
    Cited by:  Papers (1)
    Request permission for commercial reuse | Click to expandAbstract | PDF file iconPDF (508 KB)

    Reports on our preliminary analyses of our research which was designed to determine the navigational patterns that users follow in the World Wide Web and hierarchical Web sites. In all, 33 participants completed the study using a within-subjects Greco-Latin design, where each person viewed two sites - one organized in a Web structure and one organized in a hierarchical structure. The results sugge... View full abstract»

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  • What kind of knowledge gets deposited in textbooks?

    Publication Year: 2000, Page(s):295 - 300
    Request permission for commercial reuse | Click to expandAbstract | PDF file iconPDF (412 KB)

    This paper explores how technical writing participates in estimates of value, based on its historical roots in mining and metallurgy going back to T.A. Rickard's first technical writing textbook published in 1908. The paper extends this exploration to include influences on Rickard's understanding of technical writing's social function, such as classical encyclopedic traditions, books of Hermetic s... View full abstract»

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