User Assistance

Don’t Make Users Cry Help!

Could the “help” label be a major barrier to users’ successful access of assistance? How can we employ progressive usability testing to identify the best help-access labels and identify what information belongs where? This 40-slide presentation considers these questions and more about how to help users use help. Presented at the WritersUA 2006 Conference.

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Helping Users to Use Help:

Results from Two International Conference Workshops

All too often, users fail to use the help systems available to them. This paper presents the results of two workshops that drew members from the information and the interaction/interface design communities together, from four different countries, to focus on effective integration of help systems into users’ environments. Presented at the 2005 IEEE Professional Communication Conference (IPCC).

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Structured Heuristic Evaluation of Online Documentation

Increasingly, online documentation is the only documentation that companies provide with their products. To minimize customer resistance and encourage its use, online documentation (PDFs and help systems) must be at least as easy to use as a printed book. This paper presents a structured process for evaluating the usability of online documentation, based on a list of heuristics for navigating through and finding content. Presented at the 2002 IEEE Professional Communication Conference (IPCC).

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Expanding Roles for Technical Communicators

Stephanie Rosenbaum and Lori Anschuetz co-authored this book chapter in Reshaping Technical Communication: New Directions and Challenges for the 21st Century. Edited by Barbara Mirel and Rachel Spilka and published by Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, the anthology of essays by the field’s top thinkers and leaders from academia and industry examines the status of technical communication and envisions a broader, nontraditional future for the field.

Audience Analysis and Document Planning

TecEd has contributed this chapter to the 2nd edition of Science and Technical Writing: A Manual Of Style, edited by Philip Rubens. The manual’s broad range of topics includes referencing paper and electronic communication products, working with linked and archived web sources, and using specialized symbologies. The American Library Book Review calls this manual “a must for all scientific and technical writers, editors, educators, and students.”