September/October 2011 – intercom

Category: September/October 2011

Multimedia as a Strategic Element of Information Architecture

By Andrea Ames | Fellow, and Alyson Riley| Member This column explores the strategic aspects of information architecture and the tools to equip information architects (IAs) for success. Topics will address the business, strategy, user experience, and implementation of strategic information architecture, including organizational, content management, and tactical considerations. Send your comments, questions, and suggestions for future articles to In the last ISSUE, we discussed social media in the context of strategic information architecture. In keeping with this issue’s theme, we’ll explore the strategic and architectural dimensions of multimedia. Defining Multimedia Before we begin, let’s be sure that we… Read the rest

Principles of Information Design

By Geoff Hart | Fellow This column focuses on the principles of information design, the art and science of understanding how humans process and comprehend information, and using that knowledge to develop more effective ways to communicate. Please send comments to Sadly, the time has come to say farewell, and this will be the final installment of my column on information design. In this article, I’ll try to summarize the principles that underlie what I’ve written about during the past five years, spanning more than 20 articles in Intercom since 2006. Understand Your Audience One of the technical communicator’s… Read the rest

Marketing Bingo (Part 1)

By Elizabeth (Bette) Frick | Fellow This column explores the joys and challenges of managing your own technical communication business. Please share your experience and ideas. Contact Bette Frick at In my 21 continuous years of solopreneurship, I have watched friends and colleagues start their own technical communication business but eventually go back to full-time employment. These were skilled practitioners and very bright people who hated marketing themselves, so they avoided creating and implementing a marketing plan. I, too, hate marketing; I would rather do anything else than “brag on myself” (my family and teachers inveighed against self-promotion when… Read the rest

Mark Your Calendar

Organization events across the globe F.Y.I. lists information about nonprofit ventures only. Please send information to 1 7–12 Oct The American Society for Information Science and Technology (ASIS&T) will hold its Annual Meeting, with a theme of “Bridging the Gulf: Communication and Information in Society, Technology, and Work,” at the Marriott New Orleans in New Orleans, LA. For more information, contact: ASIS&T 2 15–18 Oct Join the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) for their 2011 International Conference, taking place in Orlando, FL. For more information, contact: PRSA +1 (800) 350-0111 3 17–19 Oct The Professional… Read the rest

Recruit New Members and Save On Your Dues

Starting 1 October, STC is once again running the Member Get a Member campaign. STC’s “Reach Out, Connect, and Recruit” Member Get a Member Campaign is really about you—the member. You understand the value of your STC membership better than anyone, and now is the perfect time to reach out to your professional contacts and recruit them to join STC. A large percentage of new members join STC simply because someone invited them. Reaching out and recruiting a member is easy when you find yourself interacting with colleagues at meetings, online, on the job, or while networking. Every time you… Read the rest

STC Releases 2010–2011 Salary Database

The 2010–2011 edition of STC’s Salary Database (using 2010 data) is now available for purchase on STC’s Salary Database is a tool that can be used to conduct more powerful job searches, make a strong case for a raise, prepare department payroll budgets, or estimate project costs. The data in the Salary Database are drawn from the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) Occupational Employment Statistics (OES). As many STC members saw first-hand, 2010 was not a kind year to technical communication. Data in the Salary Database back that up, showing a net loss of over 2,000 technical… Read the rest

Reminder of Deadlines for Awards and Honors

The Deadlines for Nominations for Associate Fellow, Fellow, the Jay R. Gould Award, and the Ken Rainey Award are upcoming. Please see the STC website,, for more information on these awards and honors or to find out how to nominate someone. Associate Fellow Recommendations: 17 October Fellow Nominations: 17 October Jay R. Gould Award for Excellence in Teaching Technical Communication: 7 November Ken Rainey Award for Excellence in Research: 7 November… Read the rest

Divergent Thinking through Media Labs

By Ben Lauren When i was in high school, my father routinely used me to validate his educational philosophies. He’d say, “How do you approach solving a problem?” and I’d answer, much to his satisfaction, “Find as many solutions as possible.” My father did not know it, but what he was advocating for was divergent thinking, the capacity to discover several solutions to a single problem. I referred to this idea recently in a focus group on media labs when a participant said, “writing students shouldn’t be required to use any proprietary software.” The speaker went on to suggest that… Read the rest

The New Media Lab as a Messy Mash-Up Space in Technical Communication and Rhetoric Instruction

By Kate Crane and Andrea Beaudin | Student Members If the purpose of technical communication instruction is to provide future practitioners with a theoretical and practical foundation to engage in technical communication, how do we bridge academic theory with “real world” new media praxis? Today, technical communicators must not only be good writers; they must have a degree of new media literacy. Enter the new media lab. At Texas Tech University (TTU), the Multiple Literacy Lab (MuLL) provides a practical playground of sorts for students to use multimedia tools of the trade and to engage in technical communication, both theoretically… Read the rest

Writing Scripts for Training Videos

By Pankaja Kulabkar | Member If you are interested in writing a script for a training video, this article provides you with the basics of writing a training video script and how to avoid some unpleasant surprises as you write your script. “Good morning, good afternoon, good evening.” Bob greeted us as we joined our weekly conference call. We laughed. The greeting was funny but Bob was right. Our team was spread across three continents and we were in different time zones. “Welcome Bob,” responded Sheela, our project coordinator. “Today, we’ll review lesson two. I’ll play the lesson two video… Read the rest