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ACM 30th International Conference on Design of Communication

Fullname:Proceedings of the 30th ACM International Conference on Design of Communication
Editors:Mark Zachry; Clay Spinuzzi
Location:Seattle, Washington
Dates:2012-Oct-03 to 2012-Oct-05
Publisher:ACM
Standard No:ISBN: 978-1-4503-1497-8; ACM DL: Table of Contents; hcibib: DOC12
Papers:57
Pages:372
Links:Conference Website
Summary:Welcome to the 2012 ACM Conference on the Design of Communication!
    Our conference this year provides a premiere opportunity to hear researchers and practitioners share the latest investigations and experiences in the design of communication. Over the three days of the conference, you will interact with an exciting, international group of academic and industry researchers as well as practitioners.
    The conference program embraces a variety of perspectives, reflecting how the design of communication intersects with the related areas of user experience design, information architecture, interaction design, and documentation. From the many submissions made to the conference this year, we have put together a strong program, with exceptionally high quality work. The varied methods used in the studies discussed this year are intriguing, ranging from large-scale surveys to ethnographies, from deployment studies to discourse analyses. The diversity of perspectives is also mirrored by geographic diversity among contributors. Following the international meetings of the conference in the last two years, SIGDOC 2012 has continued to attract the attention and participation of researchers from outside North America.
    Our program includes many different opportunities to engage with fellow design of communication thinkers, including workshops, papers, panels, experience reports, and posters. The program also offers an opportunity to reflect on the past in a special session dedicated to the work of SIGDOC, which celebrates its 30th anniversary at this year's conference.
  1. Clarity and help
  2. Usability
  3. Social tools for supporting work -- I
  4. Domains of care -- I
  5. Processes for improving communication
  6. Social media in education
  7. Keynote address
  8. SIGDOC past, present, and future
  9. Social tools for supporting work -- II
  10. Reading and navigating
  11. Design methodologies
  12. Domains of care -- II
  13. Interactivity and multimedia
  14. Interaction histories and knowledge systems
  15. Frameworks and models
  16. Interfaces
  17. Design of communication: the big picture
  18. Poster abstracts

Clarity and help

Communication as reducing uncertainty BIBAFull-Text 1-8
  Michael J. Albers
Technical communicators are now generating large amounts of content (which may or may not be web-based), that is used to communicate concepts and ideas for decision making. They are creating information that helps readers reduce their uncertainty about the overall situation and its future development as they read to decide. The information needs of complex information situations can be redefined as working to reduce the uncertainty people have about the situation. It helps people build a clearer picture of the overall situation and reduces uncertainty about the future development of the situation. This redefinition reshapes a design team's goal from answering the question of "what information does the reader need?" to "what information reduces the reader's uncertainty?" As design teams work with their personas or other information analysis methods, they need to remain focused on determining how people use that information to reduce their uncertainty. Too many information creation projects suffer from different groups all lobbing for their content to be included; a focus on reducing uncertainty helps cut through that lobbying. By focusing on the reduction of uncertainty, we have a basis for determining what information is needed, measuring what information is used, and judging the communication effectiveness. Questions posed before, during or after a usability test should be constructed specifically to measure the reduction in uncertainty.
User assistance for complex systems BIBAFull-Text 9-16
  Robert Pierce
There is much opportunity for innovation in the areas of design, development, and delivery of technical communication for "systems of systems." Systems can be extremely complex, and contain many subsystems and components. The presentation of technical communication for a system of systems adds layers of complexity both to explaining the basic concepts of the system and all the details required for each area of the system that may be applicable to each type of user or role, function, and operation. It becomes more critical and yet more difficult to provide clear and comprehensive overviews and details of a system and its subsystems and components, as the complexity increases.
Designing with templates in instructional design BIBAFull-Text 17-22
  Josephine N. Walwema
Instructional design lies at the interface of systems theory, theories of teaching and learning, technology, and design. These fields together pose epistemological challenges to instructional designers. In this report I examine one element widely used by instructional designers, specifically the template designed and widely distributed by the Commonwealth of Learning (COL). In analyzing how the template serves intended users (who are instructional designers), I find that efficiency and effectiveness rooted in scientific models of objectivity to effectively corral massive information into manageable yet accessible knowledge for specific needs while expedient can have its drawbacks. I argue that a key emphasis on thinking as an active transaction between an individual and the data to which that individual is exposed permeates not just information, but also Instructional Design. Formalized within that role is a system of reasoning used to generate solutions to problems and in fostering skills in acquiring concepts. And it is missing in a template application such as COL's.

Usability

The case of the three usability tests: an experience report BIBAFull-Text 23-26
  Katherine Haramundanis
In this paper, we describe three tests used to establish the effectiveness and accuracy of three documents, two for hardware products (affixing labels by customers or customer support to show hardware upgrade status), and one for installation of a software product, usually performed by customers.
Making usable documentation: iterative instructions and media richness BIBAFull-Text 27-30
  Jeremy F. Huston
Providing usable instructional documentation to users requires understanding their needs and best ways to meet those needs. This article reviews the types of instructional documentation for users of the Grinbath EyeGuide eye tracking system and discusses the lessons learned from each iteration of instruction. Media richness played a major role in the effectiveness of the documentation, with richer media providing better instruction for the user.
Think aloud: effects and validity BIBAFull-Text 31-36
  Amy M. Gill; Blair Nonnecke
Think aloud is a commonly used usability method with roots in psychology. Although current think aloud practice was adapted from a standard method defined by Ericsson and Simon, there is no evidence of the use of a standard method by usability practitioners. We present the results of a study exploring usability practitioners' awareness of the effects of think aloud and whether validity as defined by Ericsson and Simon is relevant to usability practice. Results indicate that practitioners are aware of some of the effects of think aloud. However, it is not clear whether practitioners are aware of or concerned with the reactive effects of think aloud.

Social tools for supporting work -- I

Babel or great wall: social media use among Chinese students in the United States BIBAFull-Text 37-46
  Shaoke Zhang; Hao Jiang; John M. Carroll
We investigated how social media support the acculturation process for an expatriate group: Chinese students in the United States. We interviewed 20 participants and found that 1) students extensively used Chinese social media to maintain their original self, especially through social bonding and information surveillance activities, while facing culture shock; 2) social media were also critical in helping students assimilate into their new (American) culture, through affordances for scaffolding, bridging, and surveillance; 3) the use of social media across the acculturation process is evolving in the context of the changing ecology of social media. This study expands existing HCI work on inter-cultural communication and collaboration activities toward consideration of acculturation strategies, online support for identity, and designing for individual development.
Knowledge workers and their use of publicly available online services for day-to-day work BIBAFull-Text 47-54
  Toni Ferro; Doug Divine; Mark Zachry
Researchers and organizations have been endeavoring to determine if and how social media can be leveraged to support the day-to-day work of knowledge workers. This study discusses a survey of the use of publicly available online services by knowledge workers that highlights new ways of examining the social media in relation to day-to-day work. Specifically, we examine the use of social media by workers in a variety of contexts as well as analyzing social media at the component level, the level of services, instead of simply at the site level.
Designing an enterprise social tool for cross-boundary communication, coordination, and information sharing BIBAFull-Text 55-64
  Cleidson Ronald B. de Souza; Cláudio S. Pinhanez; Victor F. Cavalcante; Fernando Aluani; Vinicius Daros; Danilo F. Ferreira; Rogério A. de Paula
This paper discusses the design of a social tool for cross-boundary communication, coordination, and information sharing in a large organization. Based on insights and requirements gathered in qualitative and quantitative studies conducted within the organization, the Live Corkboard, a virtual message board system enhanced with community features and text/history search is proposed as a tool to enhance communication, group awareness, and information sharing and reuse. We describe the requirements for our tool as well as how they influenced our design. The research was conducted in a large IT services delivery company which has recently changed its organizational structure from a customer-centered to a competency-centered model. Focus group evaluation results suggest that the tool will be useful to the employees in the organization.

Domains of care -- I

How accessible are the voice-guided automatic teller machines for the visually impaired? BIBAFull-Text 65-70
  Sushil K. Oswal
This experience report presents the results of a preliminary user study of the accessibility and usability of a set of automatic teller machines (ATMs). The purpose of this study was to evaluate the voice directions for operating the machine for their accuracy, completeness, and functionality. A salient feature of the study was that the testing was conducted by a blind user with training in Information Design, Technical Communication, and Accessibility. The qualitative data gathered in this study suggests that the accessibility and usability in the present time voice-retrofitted ATM systems leaves much to desire. In fact, this researcher failed to accomplish most of the planned banking tasks on the four ATM systems tested in this study. The researcher recommends that disabled users must be engaged in the initial stages of designing such support systems so that the accessibility features could be built into the machine interface and less than satisfactory retrofits could be avoided.
Stitchtures: interactive art installations for social interventions in retirement communities BIBAFull-Text 71-78
  Claudia Beatriz Rebola; Patricio A. Vela; Jorge Palacio; Gbolabo Ogunmakin; Chauncey Saurus
The purpose of this paper is to describe the design and development of an interactive art installation, Stitchtures, for retirement community shared common areas. Physical and digital co-design activities are described in the development of an interactive art piece inspired by biological systems and collective behavior. Vision systems are also described for data gathering during implementation. The combined methodologies respond to the specific aims of the project, which investigates the effects of design and technology interventions on aiding interactions among older adults in retirement communities.
Help features in community-based open innovation contests. multimodal video tutorials for the elderly BIBAFull-Text 79-88
  Claas Digmayer; Eva-Maria Jakobs
This paper deals with the question of how multimodal video tutorials can help the elderly to understand and use new digital genres, like community-based open innovation contests. The paper presents results of an empirical study focusing on initial contact situations and typical user tasks, like acquiring an overview of main portal functions and using toolkits for idea creation. The study is part of the interdisciplinary project OpenISA (Open Innovation Portals for Innovative Products and Services addressing the Elderly). The aim of the project is to adapt the concept of open innovation contests for the elderly (age group 65+) by creating open innovation portals for the target group and analyzing their use. Based on one of these portals, a multimodal video tutorial has been created and tested with older users.

Processes for improving communication

Doing multimodal research the easy way: a workflow for making sense of technologically complex communication situations BIBAFull-Text 89-94
  Guiseppe Getto; Mary Lourdes Silva
In this paper, we describe the methodology known as Systemic Functional Multimodal Discourse Analysis (SF-MDA), as well as how it can be easily paired with a variety of technologies and research methods to successfully analyze and make sense of any combination of communicative modes, while leaving plenty of room for tailoring data visualizations for a variety of audiences, both scholarly and professional. Our ultimate goal is to provide researchers and practitioners with a simplified workflow of this methodology for employment in a variety of contexts.
Articulating everyday actions: an activity theoretical approach to scrum BIBAFull-Text 95-104
  Brian J. McNely; Paul Gestwicki; Ann Burke; Bridget Gelms
In this paper, we detail findings about the use of Scrum -- a widely adopted agile software development framework -- among a student game development team. Looking closely at six weeks of Scrum practices from a larger fifteen-week ethnography, we describe how Scrum strongly mediates everyday actions for the thirteen participants we studied. In analyzing our data, we deployed activity theory in concert with genre theory to better understand how participants repeatedly articulated and coarticulated finite, goal-directed, individual actions in the service of a broader, ongoing, shared objective. We offer, therefore, a way of understanding the Scrum process framework as a powerful orienting genre that facilitates collective development practice by stabilizing and intermediating a host of related, dynamic genres and artifacts.
QualiCES: a method for verifying the consistency among documents of the engineering phase BIBAFull-Text 105-114
  Luã Marcelo Muriana; Cristiano Maciel; Fabiana Freitas Mendes
During the initial software specification phase, requirement document, use cases description and interface prototypes can be generated as a way to aid in the construction of system data. The consistency among these documents is a quality attribute which must be emphasized at this phase of the software development process. The QualiCES method is presented herein; it allows assessing the consistency among these software documents, and is supported by a checklist and by a consistency metrics developed to this end. As benefits, there is defect detection and a software quality warranty from the beginning of software development. The method was executed in a case study. Based on the results, the viability for applying the method can be verified, as well as the proposal innovation degree.

Social media in education

Understanding social media advertising in higher ed: a case study from a small graduate program BIBAFull-Text 115-120
  Laura A. Palmer
This paper describes how a small academic program used social media marketing -- specifically, a Facebook advertising campaign and a Facebook page to attract prospective students. From the results obtained, the design and deployment of Facebook as part of a strategic departmental communication and marketing plan requires more study. While advertisements brought users to the page, the conversations and engagement typically expected in a social network site did not materialize. In the end, the online advertising and promotion resulted in no new student applications to the graduate program.
Sharing time: engaging students as co-designers in the creation of an online knowledge sharing application BIBAFull-Text 121-126
  Michael D. Gilbert; Zachry Mark
This paper introduces the peer-supported design process undertaken in the creation of a novel online knowledge sharing application called the Haystack Exchange. Along with seven undergrad and graduate students involved in a course research group, the authors of this paper presented a fully functional online prototype of an application designed to connect those seeking knowledge work with those willing to do that work, creating an outlet for knowledge workers to share and contribute effort. Students were engaged as active co-designers in the system, examining existing applications online offering similar services, discussing relevant research in building online communities, and ultimately re-designing the system to make it context-appropriate for different deployment scenarios. This paper reports on the details of this unique design process, discussing its merits, implications, and the prototypes that resulted. The paper concludes with a discussion of the peer design process as an instructional approach that promotes student engagement.
Communication patterns for a classroom public digital backchannel BIBAFull-Text 127-136
  Honglu Du; Mary Beth Rosson; John M. Carroll
Digital backchannels have become an increasingly important field of study for researchers investigating educational technologies. We designed and deployed one such backchannel integrated with a public display -- ClassCommons -- in a 15-week field study that took place in a university classroom. We extracted and analyzed the communication patterns that emerged in the use of ClassCommons. In this paper, we use these data to address the following research questions: how do students appropriate public digital backchannels in classrooms, what communication patterns are typical in classroom digital public backchannels, how if at all do students' participation in the digital public backchannels evolve over an extended period of time and what are the characteristics of the messages that get more responses from other students?

Keynote address

Meta-design and cultures of participation: transformative frameworks for the design of communication BIBAFull-Text 137-138
  Gerhard Fischer
Meta-design (transcending other design disciplines such as user-centered design and participatory design) is focused on "design for designers". It provides foundations for a fundamental shift from consumer cultures (specialized in producing finished goods to be consumed passively) to cultures of participation (in which all people are provided with the means to participate actively in personally meaningful activities). These frameworks explore and support new approaches for the design, adoption, appropriation, adaptation, evolution, and sharing of artifacts by all participating stakeholders. Meta-design and cultures of participation are not dictated by technology alone: they are the result of incremental shifts in human behavior and social organizations.

SIGDOC past, present, and future

30 years of documentation and the design of communication BIBAFull-Text 139-140
  Scott Tilley
This special panel session celebrates the 30th edition of the ACM SIGDOC conference. The panelists and moderator are all SIGDOC Chairs representing different eras in SIGDOC's rich history, from its humble beginnings in 1975 to the present. The panel session represents a unique opportunity to hear from experts who have the ability to place new developments in the design of communication in a historical context.

Social tools for supporting work -- II

Collaborative systems: characteristics and features BIBAFull-Text 141-146
  Manuela Aparicio; Carlos J. Costa
This work identifies some of the most significant advantages of collaboration systems as well as key features of these systems. This study identifies the most preferred systems, as well as factors that influence its acceptance. In order to identify the main dimensions influencing collaborative system acceptance was used the TAM Model (Technology Acceptance Model). Then it was conducted an empirical study: collaboration systems were analysed, a blog systems was evaluated using TAM and blog systems group of users were identified.
Instant annotation: early design experiences in supporting cross-cultural group chat BIBAFull-Text 147-156
  Na Li; Mary Beth Rosson
Cross-cultural group chat is an important option for supporting communication in both industry and education settings. However, studies of such interactions have reported persistent communication problems that appear to be due to mismatches in non-native and native speakers' language proficiency. With this problem in mind, we have been exploring a conceptual design called Instant Annotation. Our design concept supports a kind of threading in chat using annotation, thus offering para-communication support in cross-cultural group chat. As part of this design investigation, we studied native and non-native speakers in a group chat activity, shared the new design concept, and interviewed users to gather their feedback about the Instant Annotation concept. The results pointed to three different design use cases and led us to envision four general design features that we will explore in our ongoing work. We discuss the cross-cultural communication problem, findings from the interview study, the current design and future directions.
The Rat City Rollergirls and the potential of social networking sites to support work BIBAFull-Text 157-166
  Toni Ferro
Increasingly, researchers and organizations are interested in the potential for social networking sites to support the day-to-day tasks of workers. This study examines the way the Rat City Rollergirls (RCRG), a roller derby team, communicates using social media to support the business of their organization. While the RCRG is a volunteer organization, their use of social media to support their day-to-day business demonstrates the potential of social networking sites to support organizational work in ways beyond marketing and customer communication and exposes design considerations for implementing social networking sites.

Reading and navigating

Applying user research, usability testing and visual design techniques to a printed publication targeted at teenagers BIBAFull-Text 167-170
  Joe Welinske
The ACT testing service had suspicions that their 16-page booklet, "Using Your ACT Results" was not well suited to today's high-school seniors. They enlisted the Seattle-based consultancy Blink Interactive to conduct user research with high school students in three cities. It was determined that (1) the students resisted the text-intensive design and that (2) there were nuggets of information that the high-school students would have found valuable, if they had found them. The study prompted a redesign in which expository text was in large part replaced by infographics and a narrative focused around the experience of an individual student. This project recommends ways in which information will need to be communicated to future generations of young readers.
Reading to decide BIBAFull-Text 171-180
  Michael J. Albers
Many communication situations have shifted to complex situations where people read information and make decisions (they read to decide). With reading to decide, information needs revolve around information seeking and decision making. After finding information, people need to interpret and apply it. Writing documents focused on reading to decide means shifting from creating texts about how to perform tasks to creating texts with an understanding people's information needs and how they interact with information.
Navigating by index and guided tour for fact finding BIBAFull-Text 181-190
  Tao Yang; Mexhid Ferati; Li He; Davide Bolchini
The primary mechanism for navigating a website consists of pages with lists of links (or indexes). Such indexes are most effective when they convey the necessary hint (or scent) to anticipate the content they point to. When indexes fail to do so, users who are seeking specific information need to click on a link just to explore where it leads to, and then go back to the index to select another item. In a study with 150 participants, we explored whether guided tour navigation -- which enables users to linearly browse items without going back to the index -- could outperform scentless indexes in fact-finding tasks. Our results suggest that indexes remain a better solution than guided tours, even when lacking information scent. Guided tours, however, improve user's performance when the target content is found in the first half of collection with 20 items. Implications for designing effective navigation patterns are discussed.

Design methodologies

Designing and evaluating the mobile experience through iterative field studies BIBAFull-Text 191-196
  Robert Racadio; Emma Rose; Suzanne Boyd
This experience report describes using iterative field studies to design and evaluate the mobile experience of soundtransit.org. One study aimed to evaluate the design of paper prototypes early in the design process and another study was conducted to test the implementation of an interactive prototype. In this report, we share our experience to provide readers with lessons that can be applied to conducting their own mobile field studies. Finally, we describe some of the broader impacts that have resulted from this work.
Adapting grounded theory to construct a taxonomy of affect in collaborative online chat BIBAFull-Text 197-204
  Taylor Jackson Scott; Katie Kuksenok; Daniel Perry; Michael Brooks; Ona Anicello; Cecilia Aragon
Distributed collaborative teams increasingly rely on online tools for interaction and communication in both social and task-oriented goals. Measuring and modeling these interactions along different dimensions can help understand, and better design for, distributed collaboration. Affect is one such dimension that can play a crucial role in the dynamics, creativity, and productivity of distributed groups. We contribute an adaptation of the grounded theory methodology as a flexible and extensible means for constructing a taxonomy of affect in text-based online communication. Such a taxonomy can serve as an analytic lens for the continued investigation of the role of affect in creative collaborative endeavors as mediated by communication technology. We describe our modified grounded theory approach and then validate our method by constructing a taxonomy with data from chat logs collected during a longitudinal study of a multi-cultural distributed scientific collaboration.
Short-term methodology for long-term usability BIBAFull-Text 205-212
  David G. Novick; Baltazar Santaella; Aaron Cervantes; Carlos Andrade
Approaches to understanding usability of computer interfaces over the long term typically rely on longitudinal studies, which are limited in scope to the period of the experiment. In this study, we explore whether a non-longitudinal, cross-sectional approach can reliably detect useful differences in usability between novices and experts. Our approach takes a "snapshot" of usability problems and behaviors across a heterogeneous sample of users, ranging from novice to expert. Our analysis suggests that a cross-sectional methodology can distinguish between less experienced and more experienced users with respect to the kinds of applications that cause frustration, frequency of use of help, and whether the problem was solved. Our analysis also suggests that the method is poor at distinguishing causes of frustration and the overall distribution of types of solutions tried. The data also suggest that three months of use of an application is the most useful point at which to distinguish less-experienced from more-experienced users.

Domains of care -- II

Data visualization for psychotherapy progress tracking BIBAFull-Text 213-218
  Kelly Koerner; Dharma Dailey; Mike Lipp; Heidi Connor; Rohit Sharma
In this experience report, we recount how we designed and built data visualization tools for clinical decision making in psychotherapy. We describe how a combination of three factors enabled us to build a high-fidelity prototype within eight-weeks: 1) a multi-disciplinary team; 2) an agile methodology that incorporated participatory user-centered research into the design approach; and 3) a coherent conceptual framework for designing data visualization for decision making [1]. Elements of our approach and the lessons learned may be useful to others who must design tools to display multivariate data for users who work under tight time constraints and high cognitive loads, and whose skills using data visualization vary widely.
Designing hospital metrics: visual analytics and process improvement BIBAFull-Text 219-226
  Brenton Faber; Adhish Rajkarnikar
This paper describes the creation, development, and introduction of two new visual analytic tools documenting a process improvement project within a hospital-based medical system. After situating the project within "Visual Analytics" and the Design of Communication, we show hospital performance in these two activities before and after the introduction and dissemination of the visual tool. The paper argues that visual analytics are rhetorical practices merging data with strategic argumentation. As such, visual analytics used in process improvement activities must be supported with system accountability. The project encourages researchers and practitioners to see value in visual analytics as new forms and rhetorical applications of data mining. At the same time we offer that the relationship between analytics, designing communication, and organizational performance is complicated and nuanced with significant issues beyond information and knowledge transfer.
Investigating usability and "meaningful use" of electronic medical records BIBAFull-Text 227-232
  Christa Teston
In this paper, I summarize research regarding known issues with Electronic Medical Record (EMR) software design and subsequent implementation. I consider the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services' cash incentive for EMR adoption, and the "meaningful use" criteria that mediate that incentive (Table 1). Based on this research and my own small-scale study of real time EMR use, I outline the ways that the same problems had by EMR usability researchers are also had by actual EMR users, themselves. Specifically, questions about how to account for both embodied and cognitive effects, how to discern noise from useful information, and how to make useful what is available are all concerns shared by both care providers using EMRs and those who study EMR usability. As a result, I propose that communication design researchers design usability studies that use Mol et al's [9] construct of "care" (as a practice) as the gold standard for "meaningful use." That is, meaningful use of EMR software ought to be articulated less in terms of task-oriented record-keeping practices and the time it takes to accomplish them, but in terms of Mol et al's three components of good care: embodied practices, attuned attentiveness, and adaptive tinkering.

Interactivity and multimedia

Uncovering analogness and digitalness in interactive media BIBAFull-Text 233-242
  Jeffrey Tzu Kwan Valino Koh; Roshan Lalintha Peiris; Kening Zhu; Doros Polydorou; Ryohei Nakatsu
In this paper we analyze the works of the Keio-NUS CUTE Center at the National University of Singapore in order to uncover the dispositions of "analogness" and "digitalness" in regards to the relationship between users and interfaces. By comparing concepts of embodiment from a philosophical perspective, paired with the computer science treatment of analog and digital data, we derive a contingent definition for analog-like and digital-like interaction. With case studies as reference, we outline a continuum to describe types of interfaces based on these dispositions, which could then be further analyzed using characteristics for designing analog-like, digital-like or hybrid-like interactive systems. Finally, we propose a new methodology for designing novel interactive systems that are analog in nature, called interactive analog media (IAM).
Tracing the user experience of participation BIBAFull-Text 243-250
  Dave Jones
Digital applications and web-based user experiences increasingly incorporate social web technologies that enable the user to become a participant, or someone who actively co-constructs content, context, and meaning in digital ecosystems. This paper explores the user experience of participation by establishing a working definition of the concept and discussing why it is important to researching and designing digital communication tools. The case study presented in this paper explores the ways that user-generated content produced with the game LittleBigPlanet and the community that this content supports are intricately linked to local inventions embedded within cultural practices that improve support people's efforts to learn how to participate within the social web ecosystem. I demonstrate that participation relies on one's ability to coordinate with other participants via social web ecosystems in order to explore digital tools and perform knowledge work. Thus, the user experience of participation can be traced to these local inventions and the culturally situated practices of participants that leverage digital applications to develop, document, and share knowledge with each other. The conclusion to this paper offers preliminary concepts necessary to defining the user experience of participation and to theorizing participation as a critical component of researching and designing social web ecosystems.
Left to their own devices: ad hoc genres and the design of transmedia narratives BIBAFull-Text 251-260
  Elmar Hashimov; Brian McNely
In this paper, we apply a writing, activity, and genre research (WAGR) framework to explore how research participants designed complex transmedia narratives during a two-semester experiential learning course that was conducted in concert with a major state museum. We focus here on two specific cases from our larger ethnographic study to illustrate participants' self-directed, adaptive development and use of situated genre ecologies to mediate their work. In doing so, we describe how participants navigate among genres and artifacts within a minimum of three overlapping genre assemblages to design transmedia narratives: (1) the course genre assemblage, (2) their discipline-specific assemblage, and (3) their individual genre ecology. We explore individual genre ecologies in detail, describing how participants frequently incorporated ad hoc genres into their workflow as a way of navigating the expectations and genre norms of broader, overlapping assemblages.

Interaction histories and knowledge systems

Interaction history visualization BIBAFull-Text 261-270
  Benedikt Schmidt; Sebastian Doeweling; Max Mühlhäuser
Interaction histories have been identified as a promising direction to support information workers in the execution of their work processes. However, to increase the workers' awareness about the structure of their work and to help them with the execution of their work processes, a suitable visualization is necessary. Up to now, interaction histories have typically been visualized with the classical Gantt, bar or line charts, neglecting the information contained in links between the individual items in an interaction history. Moreover, clear and empirically grounded guidance for the choice of the visualization is currently lacking. We present two graph-based visualizations for interaction histories and evaluate them against the classical visualizations in a controlled experiment. From the results, we derive a set of recommendations for the visualizations best suited for the different tasks within information workers' work processes.
A knowledge system for promotion of selecting, sharing, and circulation of multilingual technical knowledge BIBAFull-Text 271-278
  Keita Minowa; Reiko Hishiyama
A "knowledge system" is a system to allow users to select technical knowledge on a lexical basis from technical papers written in English and share that knowledge. It supports users to read technical paper written in English, understand technical knowledge in English, and complement knowledge with other users' knowledge. We experimented for accumulating English special knowledge, translating it to Japanese, and adding information how much people know the knowledge. And we evaluated the complementation and comprehensiveness of the technical knowledge between two different systems that we proposed and among the users. The experiment(s) showed that the number of Japanese-translated words tends to increase with increasing number of users and the environment facilitates acquiring technical knowledge in their mother language. Using this system, users can collect knowledge comprehensively. In addition, the system provides an effective way to create a high-quality environment for helping users to read English-written technical papers.
Activity streams: building context to coordinate writing activity in collaborative teams BIBAFull-Text 279-288
  William Hart-Davidson; Mark Zachry; Clay Spinuzzi
This paper evaluates the features and benefits of a new kind of writing tool -- activity streams -- for use by collaborative writing teams engaged in distributed work. Activity streams are continuously updated, shared records of project activity that include explicit references to project participants, shared objects, and actions performed over time. Drawing on case studies of distributed work in multiple settings conducted by the authors, the cases are discussed in relation to the affordances of activity streams in areas related to coordinating work.

Frameworks and models

A process documentation model for DCMI BIBAFull-Text 289-294
  David W. Talley
The Dublin Core Metadata Initiative (DCMI) often must develop instructional materials associated with its mission to provide essential metadata vocabularies. DCMI undertook an effort to create a consistent framework for documentation that would streamline creation of instructional resources specific to internal tools, processes, and activities. Extensive documentation also describes applications of the Dublin Core metadata schema, but those materials require their own structure and content priorities. DCMI's preferred meeting management tool, Open Conference System (OCS), was used as an exemplar to develop a comprehensive and flexible structure for documentation of internal tools, procedures, and activities. The model rests on a solid foundation of theory and experience accumulated by researchers. The resulting integrative review informed development of a theoretically justified and practically useful template for internal DCMI documentation.
Development and application of a heuristic to assess trends in API documentation BIBAFull-Text 295-302
  Robert B. Watson
Computer technology has made amazing advances in the past few decades; however, the software documentation of today still looks strikingly similar to the software documentation used 30 years ago. If this continues into the 21st century, more and more software developers could be using 20th-century-style documentation to solve 21st-century problems with 21st-century technologies. Is 20th-century-style documentation up to the challenge? How can that be measured? This paper seeks to answer those questions by developing a heuristic to identify whether the documentation set for an application programming interface (API) contains the key elements of API reference documentation that help software developers learn an API. The resulting heuristic was tested on a collection of software documentation that was chosen to provide a diverse set of examples with which to validate the heuristic. In the course of testing the heuristic, interesting patterns in the API documentation were observed. For example, twenty-five percent of the documentation sets studied did not have any overview information, which, according to studies, is one of the most basic elements an API documentation set needs to help software developers learn to use the API. The heuristic produced by this research can be used to evaluate large sets of API documentation, track trends in API documentation, and facilitate additional research.
Development framework components as commonplaces BIBAFull-Text 303-306
  Tom Lindsley
This paper examines the practice of using front-end web development frameworks and associated plug-ins to develop web application interfaces and suggests returning to a rhetorical foundation for determining the propriety of code use and vetting of an open-source community's plug-ins. Additionally, this paper asks developers and those teaching developers to further problematize development framework usability and its implications for designer judgment and agency.

Interfaces

Designing for selective reading with QuikScan views BIBAFull-Text 307-312
  David K. Farkas
Many people -- especially knowledge workers -- experience information overload, lack sufficient time to read, and therefore choose to read selectively within texts. QuikScan Views is a new Web-based reading environment that provides extensive support for selective reading. It is an enhancement of QuikScan, an empirically validated document format that employs a multiple summary approach to facilitate selective reading, enable quick access to specific ideas in the body of the document, and improve text recall. QuikScan Views provides a hyperlinked table of contents for global navigation, displays QuikScan summaries in a scrolling window (as well as within the body of the document), and adds an extra level of summarization by means of a hyperlinked structured abstract. A QuikScan Views document gives the reader choices of pathways through the document corresponding to the time the reader wishes to invest and the reader's desire to increase their recall of the document.
Designing graphical user interfaces integrating gestures BIBAFull-Text 313-322
  François Beuvens; Jean Vanderdonckt
The world of today and its new technologies like smartphones, tablets, or any flat interaction surface has increasing the need for graphical user interfaces integrating gestural interaction in which 2D pen-based gestures are properly used. Integrating this interaction modality in streamlined software development represents a significant challenge for designers or developers: it requires important knowledge in gestures management, in deciding which gesture recognition algorithm should be used or refined for which types of gestures, or which usability knowledge should be used for supporting the development. These skills usually belong to experts for gesture interaction and not actors usually involved in user interface design process. In this paper, we present a structured method for facilitating the integration of gestures in graphical user interfaces by describing the roles of the gesture specialist and other stakeholders involved in the development life cycle, and the process of cooperation leading to the creation of a gesture-based user interface. The method consists of three pillars: a conceptual model for describing gestures on top of graphical user interfaces and its associated language, a step-wise approach for defining gestures depending on the end user's task, and a software that supports this approach. This method is exemplified with a running example in the area of document navigation.
Understanding conceptualizations of anatomy: designing a browser for the foundational model of anatomy BIBAFull-Text 323-332
  Melissa D. Clarkson
The Foundational Model of Anatomy (FMA) ontology is a reference ontology for the domain of human anatomy. Although the FMA has been developed as a computer-parsable resource that is intended to enable computers to reason about human anatomy, it is also important to present the FMA in a manner that can be more easily understood by humans. Current interfaces for accessing the FMA do not adequately reveal the structure of the FMA to the user, nor do they support intuitive navigation through the ontology. As the first step toward designing a new interface, this paper describes an extensive inquiry into conceptualizations of both anatomy and the FMA. This user-centered process led to a design that will serve as a basis for the implementation of a web-based browser.

Design of communication: the big picture

Participatory design in the development of a web-based technology for visualizing writing activity as knowledge work BIBAFull-Text 333-340
  Sarah Read; Anna DelaMerced; Mark Zachry
This study raises the question of how to make an analytical tool developed for and by researchers for visualizing writing activity as knowledge work into a useful tool for a broader community, and in particular students. The development of GEMviz, a web-based technology for creating Genre Ecology Models in research and instructional contexts, provides the context for this study. Our study examines the process of using participatory design techniques to develop GEMviz with students and researchers working in different institutions. The study illustrates a 4-stage participatory design process in which contributors voluntarily participate in varied events that contributed to the design effort, refining the technology that is meant to provide insight into the communicative practices of knowledge workers. This paper reports on this design process in light of six design and functional requirements for visualizations of writing activity and knowledge work more broadly. The paper proposes new design and functional requirements for visualizing writing activity and future directions for the technology.
A qualitative metasynthesis of activity theory in SIGDOC proceedings 2001-2011 BIBAFull-Text 341-348
  Jennifer Stewart; Nicki Litherland Baker; Sarah Chaney; Elmar Hashimov; Elizabeth Imafuji; Brian McNely; Laura Romano
Activity theory has become an increasingly important theoretical framework for practitioners and researchers in a wide variety of fields. Offering a set of tools for exploring and theorizing everyday practice, activity theory has proven to be a useful lens for exploring how various artifacts and genres mediate social practices. This article systematically analyzes the use of activity theory by researchers publishing work in the ACM SIGDOC proceedings between 2001 and 2011. By paying attention to the cultural-historical situatedness of a given author, his or her terminology, and the ostensible function of activity theory within each piece, a more comprehensive understanding of the adaptive nature of activity theoretical approaches to design of communication emerges. And as activity theory continues to be used within disciplines relevant to design of communication, a framework for understanding both the previous and potential roles of activity theory in the scholarly literature is needed and is provided, in part, by our analysis.
Hosting an ACM SIGDOC unconference BIBAFull-Text 349-352
  Sarah Egan Warren; Jennifer Riehle
In this paper, we describe our experience hosting an "unconference" as a student chapter of ACM SIGDOC. This paper can serve as a starting point for other groups wanting to try this non-traditional approach to sharing information in a participant-driven event or meeting. We explain the unconference idea, our planning stages, technology we used, implementation and delivery, lessons learned, and plans for the future. A checklist at the end of the paper details the steps to running a successful unconference.

Poster abstracts

Structured authoring meets technical comics in techcommix BIBAFull-Text 353-354
  Carlos Evia; Michael Stewart; Tim Lockridge; Siroberto Scerbo; Manuel Perez-Quiñones
TechCommix is an XML grammar and GUI that allows technical communicators to build comics based on the principles of structured authoring. TechCommix XML uses elements of two markup languages -- ComicsML and DITA -- the combination of which offers a means of tagging elements connected to a comics narrative (such as speech, action, narration) and to structured technical documentation (such as context, step, example). The resulting language allows a technical writer to differentiate between instructional and entertainment content, facilitating content analysis and reuse. Additionally, the TechCommix GUI provides assisted means of building web comics from DITA input. In this online environment, a technical writer can transform an XML file into an HTML deliverable with multiple presentation options -- extending usability and accessibility beyond the current standard of image-based web comics. Future work will examine the efficacy of these comics in communicating procedural information.
Improving rehabilitation process after total knee replacement surgery through visual feedback and enhanced communication in a serious game BIBAFull-Text 355-356
  Bernhard Maurer; Fabian Bergner; Peter Kober; Rene Baumgartner
A common problem during rehabilitation after total knee replacement surgery is a lack of intrinsic motivation to do the necessary exercises at home. Doing the exercises at home without the supervision of a physical therapist raises the risk that patients do not execute the activities in a safe and effective manner. To address this problem, we developed a serious exergame to improve engagement and the efficiency of the rehabilitation process. A team of game developers, physiotherapists and a researcher collaborated to contribute to the design and prototype development. This led to a prototype using Microsoft Kinect as an input device to engage users combined with an individualized setup that provides visual rewarding and corrective feedback to the patient and a communication channel to the therapist to enable performance monitoring.
   This interdisciplinary process we were engaged in has implications for the development of engaging exergames that communicate clinically relevant performance information to elderly patients through a visual feedback tool.
How do experts read application letters?: a multi-modal study BIBAFull-Text 357-358
  Joyce Locke Carter
Fourteen faculty participants each read two letters of application to a graduate program, and the data about how they read was collected using eye-tracking and think-aloud protocol. The eyetracking data show that expert readers not only "slow down" when they encounter grammatical and other errors, but also when they see words and phrases that match their program's mission or their own research interests. The think-aloud protocol data was used to verify eye-tracking results and also to allow for readers to expand on their impressions of the persuasiveness of a given letter. The project is not finished, but early impressions are that something akin to Kenneth Burke's concept of identification is a powerfully persuasive move in such letters -- readers' eyes fixate on these identification moves and the participants identify those moves as positive and persuasive.
Tracing digital thyroid culture: building communities of support BIBAFull-Text 359-360
  Elizabeth J. Keller
In this poster presentation, the author traces health communication in online spaces, especially conversations about hypothyroidism on Twitter. Specifically, the author looks at how participants on Twitter use the hashtag #hypothyroidism for patient agency and advocacy. The strength of ties between #hypothyroidism (the Twitter hashtag) and the actors necessary for its existence is also discussed. This poster presentation argues that Twitter can strengthen patient agency and advocacy in both online and offline relationships between hypothyroidism patients and healthcare professionals. Patient agency and advocacy is accomplished because Twitter helps to build communities of support between and among patients and professionals through the immediacy and accessibility of information.
"I see you're talking #HPV": communication patterns in the #HPV stream on Twitter BIBAFull-Text 361-362
  Angela Harrison
This poster reports data from a pilot study of the communication practices in the #hpv stream on Twitter. The pilot study found that, unlike other studies conducted on Twitter streams, the #hpv stream broadcasts information as opposed to interacting and conversing. The researcher plans to build upon this study by expanding the pilot dataset as a means to explore if preliminary findings in the initial study stand. The goal is to create a set of communication practices that happen within this ontology so that the space can be defined accordingly and compared with other streams of information on Twitter.
Developing human-centered design approaches: preparing professionals to address complex problems BIBAFull-Text 363-364
  Monica E. Cardella; Carla B. Zoltowski; William C. Oakes
In this poster, we describe the types of problems that the SIGDOC community addresses as complex, socially-situated and wicked. As we consider the future professionals who will address these problems, it is important to understand how we can prepare students and early career professionals to continue this work. To this end, we draw on research that describes different stages people might go through in developing design skills to meet human needs, and then suggest educational experiences that would help students and early-career professionals develop competencies in these areas.
Promoting behavior change through community-generated digital video BIBAFull-Text 365-366
  Jarman Hauser; Robert Racadio; William Wynn; Beth Kolko; Richard Anderson; Ruth Anderson
The Health Videos for Global to Local project aims to impact health outcomes in South King County through digital video mediated behavior change. The project gives community members a platform to showcase positive health behaviors amongst peers, thus impacting communities from within. Through interviews, observation, meetings and workshops our evolving research is looking to identify effective strategies for creating health videos for socio-economically diverse communities.
The case of Facebook Japan: cross-cultural design in postcolonial conditions BIBAFull-Text 367-368
  Huatong Sun
Centering on the unfolding development of Facebook Japan case, this work-in-progress research poster seeks to engage the audience in a conversation on critical sensibility the cross-cultural design community should develop in postcolonial conditions.
Tracing and responding to foodborne illness BIBAFull-Text 369-370
  Rebecca Tegtmeyer; Liza Potts; William Hart-Davidson
In this poster, we describe a how we use social web tools to track, trace, and respond to foodborne illness. Using a combination of data streams, analytical tools, bots, and dashboards, we propose solutions to the current challenges facing government officials, NGOs, and everyday people.
Technical communication and project management BIBAFull-Text 371-372
  Kathie Gossett
This poster argues that recent theories in project management put technical communicators in a powerful position to move into project management -- not just as managers of documentation and documentation projects but as managers of projects across industries.