Category: Features

The Global Language: Using Symbols and Icons When Delivering Technical Content

By Alan J. Porter | Senior Member Perhaps the greatest advantage offered by the Internet and the World Wide Web today is the fact that it is truly “world wide” and opens up an unprecedented international marketplace for the delivery of goods and services. Small companies can now sell into marketplaces never dreamed of before, while large multinational companies can streamline their internal communications, and cross-border and cross-cultural cooperation has become a reality. However, the global marketplace also raises a fundamental issue—that of global communication. Global communication suggests a common language that is understood by all who use the information… Read the rest

The Trouble with Visual Explanations: A Quick Look at Common Problems

By Don Moyer | Member Can you imagine trying to understand the structure of a DNA helix without seeing a picture of it? Sometimes the expression “I see what you mean” can be taken literally. Can you imagine trying to understand the structure of a DNA helix without seeing a picture of it? For some topics, especially nonlinear things like hierarchies, structures, or systems, visual explanations are more eloquent than textual descriptions alone. A growing number of writers and editors understand the value of a visual explanation. And because image-making tools from PowerPoint to Photoshop make it easier than ever… Read the rest

Community Help: Technical Communication for the Web 2.0 User

By Samartha Vashishtha The Community Help framework embodies an understanding of how Web 2.0 users access technical communication. It recognizes the fact that user needs are best served by amalgamating traditional Help deliverables with third-party user assistance resources and presenting them together. Let’s examine this framework closely and look at how Adobe implements it to deliver the next-generation Help experience to a diverse user base. Understanding Community Help The emergence of Web 2.0 has expanded the scope of the technical communication profession all over the world. An ever-growing number of technical communicators are now actively blogging and using social media… Read the rest

Integrating Text with Graphics in Procedures

By Geoff Hart | Fellow Combining words with graphics is an ongoing challenge for information designers, but one that's interesting from both a design and a practical perspective. Practicality is an issue because, for many technical communicators, graphics must be created in such a way as to facilitate machine-assisted translation of their textual components. Because most translation tools are optimized to work with word processor or desktop publishing files (whether Word or Framemaker), text within a graphic is inherently difficult to extract and translate. In this article, I'll discuss the advantages and drawbacks of the following solutions: Numbering parts of… Read the rest