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Taking a Look at Low-Fidelity Prototyping

This column examines the ways technical communicators contribute to the development of more usable products, especially those used in complex, dynamic environments. Novel usability evaluation methods and design techniques, as well as those rediscovered or repurposed, will be the focus. Please send your comments, questions, and suggestions for future articles to me at brian.still@ttu.edu.

What's Accessible for Some Is Better for All

This column examines the ways technical communicators contribute to the development of more usable products, especially those used in complex, dynamic environments. Novel usability evaluation methods and design techniques, as well as those rediscovered or repurposed, will be the focus. Please send your comments, questions, and suggestions for future articles to me at brian.still@ttu.edu.

Usability for a Ubiquitous Computing World

The first truly mobile, commercial cell phone was Motorola’s DynaTAC. First introduced in 1983 and often referred to as the “brick” phone, it weighed a couple of pounds and was almost a foot high. As an analog device with only a one-hour battery life, even if one could afford its $4,000 pricetag, there were not many places with network coverage to warrant its use. Don’t get me wrong—to have one then was to be cool, which is why folks like Gordon Gekko (Wall Street) and Zack Morris (Saved by the Bell) had one. There was a certain status that came with the brick, even if functionality was lacking. (Did you use a brick? If you have pictures, send them to me—maybe we’ll post them in a later column.)