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DOC Tables of Contents: 97989900010203040506070809101112131415

ACM 25th International Conference on Design of Communication

Fullname:25th International Conference on Design of Communication
Editors:David G. Novick; Clay Spinuzzi
Location:El Paso, Texas, USA
Dates:2007-Oct-22 to 2007-Oct-24
Standard No:ISBN: 1-59593-588-6, 978-1-59593-588-5; Order Number: 613070; ACM DL: Table of Contents hcibib: DOC07
Links:Conference Home Page
  1. Genre and activity
  2. Designing multimodal information
  3. Invited talk: Diana award winner
  4. Teaching and learning DOC
  5. Information design theory
  6. Visualizing work
  7. Modeling DOC
  8. Designing web apps and web information
  9. Invited panel
  10. Managing knowledge online
  11. Workshop
  12. Writing and documentation
  13. Keynote address
  14. The rhetoric of science and technology
  15. Usability -- theory, methods, and experiences

Genre and activity

Playing in genre fields: a play theory perspective on genre BIBAFull-Text 1-8
  David M. Christensen; Jason L. Cootey; Ryan M. Moeller
Genres exist within complex social structures, making them both the product and productive of that social structure. Consequently, any genre may be as active within the context of its social structure as are any human agents. This paper broadens the concept of genre to include what we call the genre field in the attempt to expand the definition of agent to include the genre-as-agent concept. Through the lens of play theory, this paper develops a grammar of genre fields as a heuristic for the understanding of genre's complex social structure. This grammar of genre fields includes the player-agent and genre-agent, the genre field, and the play scenario. To illustrate the use of the grammar of genre fields, this paper applies the grammar to two case studies; the first of which showcases genre within a dynamic social structure, the second of which demonstrates how rigid and formulaic genres can be when viewed within a static social structure.
Content management and the production of genres BIBAFull-Text 9-13
  Dave Clark
In this paper, I suggest that granularized content management introduces as-yet-unexplored issues to genres of technical communication. I argue that content management, while it can, as advertised, free content and make it easy to reuse that content in multiple genres, that flexibility can create new problems for genres and genre systems, leading to problematic reuse, inflexible genre systems, rigid and proprietary genres, and uncritical internationalization.
When social networking meets online games: the activity system of grouping in world of warcraft BIBAFull-Text 14-20
  Lee M. Sherlock
Using activity theory and genre theory as bases for analysis, this article examines the activity of grouping in the massively multiplayer online role-playing game World of Warcraft. The article first examines what grouping does in the overall context of the game, including its socialization and gameplay functions. Grouping involves a series of interactions and conventions that structure gameplay objectives and model expected behavior. Groups are formed through specific interfaces in the game that enact social networking processes and can be examined comparatively alongside web-based social networking technologies. By looking at interface design, the article identifies how grouping as an activity is mediated and what social expectations are put in place when players participate in groups.
   Next, the article considers the role of other texts in the activity system of grouping, focusing on two examples: the game FAQ and message board. The FAQ is especially noteworthy as an instance of player-produced technical writing. Players write FAQs to document basic game information, present game strategies and walkthroughs, and help other players solve problems. As a genre, this type of FAQ is characterized by a number of tensions that can productively challenge how we think about the conventions of electronic and printed text. FAQ writers make different kinds of rhetorical moves that situate the text within the larger activity of gaming and outline specific purposes and audiences. The FAQ is also examined here in the context of message board interaction, which is used in part for more localized discourse that the FAQ does not address specifically. Working at various levels of abstraction and consolidation, this system of online texts mediates group activity and provides a space for extra-game interactions to directly influence the in-game interactions and behaviors of players (and vice versa).

Designing multimodal information

Designing distributed biography: co-constructing a polyphonic application on borrowed time BIBAFull-Text 21-25
  Justin Olmanson; Steven Greenstein; Aaron Smith; Curtis Brewer
This paper describes the design of Distributed Biography, an online tool for the co-construction of individual, event, location or experience-based narrative. As the application is currently in the later stages of alpha development, the focus herein centers on our original designs, the process of understanding the collaborative rhythms of the group, and outlining the development trajectory.
Issues of designing gestures into online interactions: implications for communicating in virtual environments BIBAFull-Text 26-33
  Gustav Verhulsdonck
This paper describes the use and design of gestures for online virtual environment interactions. Virtual Environments (VEs), are three dimensional virtual worlds that combine sound, text, and gestures in computer-mediated communication (CMC) processes. In VEs, communication can be done through text-based CMC such as instant messaging and chat, but also through additional gestural, visual, proxemic and deictic non-verbal channels. For this reason, VEs require an understanding of the impact of gestures in various contexts. This paper will outline common CMC medium affordances as related to VEs and discuss the importance of using gestures in various online communication contexts. In doing so, this paper will explore the issues that may influence the design and use of gestures for specific professional communication purposes. Because gestures may serve in addressing intercultural contexts and have informational and cognitive communicative benefits within virtual environments, this paper will end with an exploration of specific gesture designs that may help facilitate their use by professional communicators.
Design experiences of multimodal mixed reality interfaces BIBAFull-Text 34-41
  Fotis Liarokapis; Robert M. Newman
This paper presents an overview of the most significant issues when designing mixed reality interfaces including displays, tracking, interface design, interactivity and realism. Multimodal issues regarding visualization and interaction are integrated into a single interface. Three case studies in diverse areas including automotive, archaeology and navigation are presented illustrating the use of the above issues addressed. Furthermore, the experiences gained and lessons learned are discussed including our plans for future work.
Improvements to a speech-enabled user assistance system based on pilot study results BIBAFull-Text 42-47
  Aidan Kehoe; Flaithri Neff; Ian Pitt; Gavin Russell
User assistance, as implemented in most commercial computing applications deployed today, has a number of well documented limitations. Speech technology can be used to complement traditional user assistance techniques and mitigate some of these problems. This paper reports the results from a pilot study conducted on a speech-enabled user assistance system, and describes improvements to the system made as a result of that initial study.

Invited talk: Diana award winner

UWTC LUTE: technology in harmony with human performance BIBAFull-Text 48
  Judith Ramey
In the nearly 20 years of the existence of the UWTC Laboratory for Usability Testing and Evaluation (LUTE), our overriding goal has been to put people first in product design. In working toward this goal, we have always faced the same four challenges: to educate students through practice, change how companies and organizations design products, advance the state of the art in usability research, and stay at the cutting edge. This talk will take a brief tour of LUTE's efforts to meet this goal and address these challenges, with snapshots of typical projects and the people who worked on them; will mention some of the current work under way in the lab; and will close with some thoughts about LUTE's future and how it might articulate with that of our field.

Teaching and learning DOC

Agency, invention, and sympatric design platforms BIBAFull-Text 49-54
  Brian J. McNely
This project investigates the problems associated with course software platforms from the perspective of user-centered design, examining student agency and invention specifically in environments like WebCT, Wikis, and MS SharePoint 3.0. I argue for course design platforms that are structured on informed technologies at the instructor and curricular levels. Drawing on concepts from biological evolution and anthropology, I propose that instructors, researchers, and administrators promote and create design platforms that are sympatric, that foster student agency and invention through user localization technologies that also embrace rhetorically complex social interaction. I further argue that researchers in Rhetoric and Writing Studies are particularly well positioned to write and/or co-create sympatric course platforms.
Designing personalized curricula based on student preferences BIBAFull-Text 55-62
  Periklis Georgiadis; Vassilis Christophides; Nicolas Spyratos
We address the problem of generating entire course sequences, given a set of target skills along with possibly prioritized student preferences over course descriptions. Compared to logic frameworks formulating course sequencing as a planning problem, our work relies on a set-theoretic framework for generating course sequences using preference-based queries. We introduce the concept of ordered partition for sequencing, and the ordered product of partitions, when it is necessary to combine more than one preference orderings. In our context, ordered partitions originate from preferences expressed over general relations, rather than on functional attributes of traditional database tuples (or objects) addressed by other approaches. We believe that the proposed framework is expressive enough to produce course sequences from descriptions expressed in diverse data models (e.g., XML, RDF/S) with respect to a variety of user preferences, also including priorities over the preferences.
Rhetorical peaks, a video game for first-year writing BIBAFull-Text 63-68
  Anthony Matteo
This report describes the development of Rhetorical Peaks, an interactive 3D video game intended to help teach basic rhetorical communication skills to undergraduate students. As the project is ongoing, this report will focus on our original design and the first stages of implementation, and outline the next few phases of development.
The decision pattern: capturing and communicating design intent BIBAFull-Text 69-74
  David R. Wright
The design of large software systems requires designers to apply critical thinking skills to resolve the complex design problems these systems typically generate. Cultivating these skills in novice designers involves exposing them to the complexities of these problems, allowing them to critically explore the problem and application domains, and providing a means to communicate the rationales for the design decisions they make. In a classroom learning environment, the processes students use to think about and organize what they know and do not know about the design problems is more important to the students' learning than the artifacts they generate. Effectively communicating to the instructor why they make their decisions facilitates assessment and feedback on the thinking and organizing process, and enhances the learning experience. This paper presents a pattern or template for capturing and communicating this information in a concise yet information-rich format. The author's experience using this pattern in a teaching and learning context is discussed to validate the effectiveness of this pattern.

Information design theory

Chromatic prototypes for information systems BIBAFull-Text 75-79
  Matthew McCool
Using color to thematically code sections within information systems has become a standard design principle. Although color is a good method for coding specific sections, a handful of prototypes appear especially useful for this task. This paper presents research on color, categories, and the neuropsychology of color. These data suggest that chromatic prototypes may be useful for thematically organizing information in information systems.
Information salience and interpreting information BIBAFull-Text 80-86
  Michael J. Albers
The information available for many situations often causes information overload. To help prevent this overload, the designer and writer need to carefully consider the issues of what are the most salient information elements for the reader and what can be done to queue the reader that this is the most salient information.
Triangulating communication design: emerging models for theory and practice BIBAFull-Text 87-94
  Brad Mehlenbacher
This paper describes the enduring dichotomy between what is defined as science and what is defined as non-science, and shows how this dichotomy serves as a backdrop for current divisions between theory and practice. The canonical concept of invention and contemporary interest in problem setting highlight the similarities between the activities of theoreticians and practitioners and inform the development of a useful definition of rhetorical or communication design. While recent developments in activity-, work-, and ecologically-centered design provide a powerful metaphor for contextualizing communication design work, a tentative argument is made for attending to emerging opportunities and challenges related to distributed space and time.
Toward a more accurate view of when and how people seek help with computer applications BIBAFull-Text 95-102
  David G. Novick; Edith Elizalde; Nathaniel Bean
Based on 40 interviews and 11 on-site workplace observations of people using computer applications at work, we confirm that use of printed and on-line help is very low and find that providing greater detail of categories solution methods can present a more realistic picture of users' behaviors. Observed study participants encountered a usability problem on average about once every 75 minutes and typically spent about a minute looking for a solution. Participants consumed much more time when they were unaware of a direct way of doing something and instead used less effective methods. Comparison of results from different data-collection methods suggests that interviews, and probably surveys, provide less reliable views of users' problem-solving behaviors than do participatory evaluation and direct observation.

Visualizing work

Documenting software systems with views V: towards visual documentation of design patterns as an aid to program understanding BIBAFull-Text 103-112
  Tim Trese; Scott Tilley
Cognitive science research indicates that a system is more readily understood when it is presented at progressive levels of decomposition, exposing increasing amounts of detail. One logical level of detail would present a system in terms of its implemented design patterns. However, to date, no entirely satisfactory method of documentation has been devised for explicating a software system as a set of design patterns. This paper discusses the challenges inherent in visualizing a software system as a set of design patterns, reviews the progress of another current effort, and describes a UML-compliant enhanced class-participation diagram as one possible solution.
Capturing & visualizing knowledge work: results & implications of a pilot study of proposal writing activity BIBAFull-Text 113-119
  William Hart-Davidson; Clay Spinuzzi; Mark Zachry
This paper reports on a pilot study of three proposal writers conducted by the authors during late Fall 2005 and Spring 2006. In this report we discuss how well the data collection, data analysis, and data visualization methods served the interests of our project and of the participants, along with implications for future research. Among the methodological issues we address: how to capture rich accounts of fragmented work without taxing participants too much, how to filter rich datasets that result from automated recording of work sessions to focus on specific issues, and how to visualize data to elicit follow-up information from participants.
Visual documentation of knowledge work: an examination of competing approaches BIBAFull-Text 120-126
  Mark Zachry; Clay Spinuzzi; William Hart-Davidson
Approaches to researching and understanding knowledge work in contemporary organizations have proliferated during the last decade. Interest in this area has been particularly charged by the emergence of knowledge management as a concern for administrators and managers. One of the challenges addressed by researchers working in this area is constructing visual representations of knowledge work. This paper examines competing approaches to such visualization work, exploring trends in current research-based work.

Modeling DOC

Functional and device interoperability in an architectural model of geographic information system BIBAFull-Text 127-133
  Diego F. de Carvalho; Júlio C. Estrella; André P. Freire; Rudinei Goularte; Regina H. C. Santana; Renata P. M. Fortes
Providing communication in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) is an instigating development challenge, due to the high complexity of these systems and to the difficulty of modeling them properly. This paper presents a model of an architecture to represent the structure of a GIS. The architecture is based on standard technologies, such as XML, XSLT and SVG. These technologies are used to represent GIS and to provide functional and device interoperability. Moreover, web services are used for exchanging information between systems used by different devices in different contexts. The proposed architecture is transparent to users and provides information adaptation to different devices using context information. The main contributions of the proposed architecture is the geographic representation using SVG, the functional and device interoperability and cartographic generalization.
Towards interoperability of UML tools for exchanging high-fidelity diagrams BIBAFull-Text 134-141
  Shihong Huang; Vaishali Gohel; Sam Hsu
In today's global software engineering projects, where development activities are distributed geographically and temporally, it is increasingly important for CASE tools to maintain the information (both syntactic and semantic) captured in the design models. The Unified Modeling Language (UML) is the de facto standard for modeling software applications and UML diagrams serve as graphical documentations of the software system. The interoperability of UML modeling tools is important in supporting the model exchange. Tool interoperability is often implemented using XML Metadata Interchange (XMI). Unfortunately, there is a loss of fidelity of the design documentation when transforming between UML and XMI due to the compatibility of different versions of UML, XMI and add-on proprietary information, which hinder reuse. This paper reports on an ongoing study evaluating the interoperability of UML modeling tools by assessing the quality of XMI documents representing the design. Case studies in the paper demonstrate a framework of preserving the fidelity of UML models data when importing and exporting different UML models in a distributed heterogeneous environment.
Experience with the use of peritexts to support modeler-author communication in a structured-document system BIBAFull-Text 142-147
  Yves Marcoux; Élias Rizkallah
In an information system, if data-entry agents (authors) do not understand properly the intentions of the designer of the structure they are populating (the modeler), they can make errors, resulting in incomplete or incorrect information entering the system. Thus, modeler-author communication is of prime importance in the performance of a system. Intertextual Semantics (IS) is a semantic framework for structured-document, based on natural language, intended to facilitate the communication of the modeler's intentions to interface designers and authors. In IS, the modeler prepares peritexts (text-before and text-after segments) in natural language, that help understanding the contents of an element (or field) by putting it in the appropriate context. The experience reported here is the application of IS to the development of an exchange format between funeral homes and cemeteries. The issues raised by the use of this approach are discussed.
Combining data-state and ctt diagrams in modeling sonification applications BIBAFull-Text 148-154
  Ag. Asri Ag. Ibrahim; Andy Hunt
This paper discusses a new way to describe and model sonification applications by using Task-data state diagram. This diagram is used to describe the different states of data and the tasks involved in changing the data from its original form into finally a sound representation. The characteristics of sonification applications which need to be described and illustrated by the diagram are also discussed.

Designing web apps and web information

Client-side dynamic metadata in web 2.0 BIBAFull-Text 155-161
  John Stamey; Jean-Louis Lassez; Daniel Boorn; Ryan Rossi
Web 2.0 brings with it new opportunities for deploying highly interactive webpages. A challenge for Web 2.0 developers is capturing information to document the user experience. Client-side dynamic metadata provides one solution to capturing and logging information on the client-side, while lowering the bandwidth requirements for communication with the server. This paper discusses the architecture of a proof-of-concept system, the Dynamic Metadata Prototype. The architecture is described as an AJAX Design Pattern.
Techniques for developing more accessible web applications: a survey towards a process classification BIBAFull-Text 162-169
  Andre Pimenta Freire; Rudinei Goularte; Renata Pontin de Mattos Fortes
The Web has become one of the most important communication media, since it is spread all over the world. In order to enable everyone to access this medium, Web accessibility has become an emerging topic, and many techniques have been evolved to support the development of accessible Web content. This paper presents a survey on techniques for Web accessibility and proposes a classification into the processes of ISO/IEC 12207 standard. The survey was carried out applying systematic review principles during the literature review. The results include analysis obtained from the synthesis of 53 studies, selected from an initial set of 844. Although the survey results indicate a growth in research on techniques for design and evaluation of Web applications, they also indicate that several development activities have been poorly addressed by scientific research efforts.
WebStorm: mixing brainstorming with art in the web BIBAFull-Text 170-175
  Pedro Costa; Pedro Duarte; Carlos J. Costa
From the beginning of the Internet Age artists found this medium a good field of expression and diffusion of their works. In this paper we start by introducing the wider context of New Media Art and explore the features of this area, illustrating with some examples. The artistic environment of contemporary art is achieved as a fundamental background for Internet Art. It is in this context that we proposed the Webstorm project.
An online help framework for web applications BIBAFull-Text 176-180
  KwangChun Lee; Dan Hyung Lee
As the number of users using web-based applications increases, online help systems are required to provide appropriate information in multiple formats and accesses. Since users are dealing with various applications simultaneously so as to complete objectives and make daily decisions, it is necessary to provide anytime, anywhere help or tutorials. However, developing effective and efficient help systems on behalf of users is costly. As geographically distributed and multilingual users with minimal training or interruption have increased significantly, it has become a requirement to restructure help systems. In order to meet users' requirements and business challenges, it is necessary to restructure help systems to deliver training, documentation, and online help while taking into account nonfunctional requirements such as usability, time-to-market, quality and maintainability. In this paper we try to overcome such technical and economic constraints through single sourcing and content reuse, embrace as many users as possible by HTML-based help systems, and beef up help contents through unified and structural help system design. In addition, network pipe method for user feedback data collection and statistical analysis has been suggested as user feedback automation.

Invited panel

What is design of communication? BIBAFull-Text 181
  Robert Pierce; Aristidis Protopsaltis; Brad Mehlenbacher; Mark Zachry
What is the Design of Communication? In this panel, four SIGDOC members from different areas come together to discuss the interdisciplinary area of DOC.

Managing knowledge online

Knowledge management process in the local government BIBAFull-Text 182-188
  Mario Tavares; Carlos J. Costa
Knowledge management is an important issue. The employ of new information technologies like content management systems contribute to the improvement of knowledge management process. But it is not enough. It is why in this context communication genres are used. In fact with this approach is possible identifying communication genres actually used in local government. Communication genres approach may be used in requirement analysis then in the analysis and design activities of information system development customization.
Qtag: tagging as a means of rating, opinion-expressing, sharing and visualizing BIBAFull-Text 189-195
  Sung Eob Lee; Dong Kwan Son; Steve SangKi Han
Collaborative tagging provides exceptional performance in the domains of IF (Information Filtering) and IR (Information Retrieval). Based on various studies regarding the tagging behavior of users, it can be concluded that there is potential for expansion of this domain to the area of ratings. The paper presents Qtag, a qualitative tagging system that allows users to tag in order to rate and express opinions using a sharable vocabulary. A conceptual model and evaluation are presented. Tag visualization model which is under-construction is also presented.
Using wiki as a multi-mode publishing platform BIBAFull-Text 196-200
  John W. Maxwell
The common problem plaguing almost all software systems today is brittleness. This paper describes a variety of explorations of the use of wiki software as the basis of publication- and content-management systems, and makes a case for taking simplicity as a virtue in systems design.
Learning our ABCs: accessibility, bottlenecks, and control in an organized research unit's website BIBAFull-Text 201-206
  Clay I. Spinuzzi
In this case study, I describe an open system: a public archive of work done at the Computer Writing and Research Lab at the University of Texas at Austin. The CWRL's website has long been an important resource for computers and writing scholarship, but in 2004, it faced new challenges. On one hand, the site had to conform to new accessibility guidelines, guidelines that are sometimes difficult to follow. On the other hand, the site's users ranged from expert HTML coders to neophytes, all of whom had knowledge to contribute. These two factors had caused a severe bottleneck with the previous, static website, causing delays and leading to slow site development. The CWRL's solution was to use an open-source content management system to develop a new site in which accessibility guidelines are programmed and enforced, allowing anyone with an account to contribute accessible portions to the site while retaining centralized control over the site's web standards. I conclude with thoughts about open systems and their potential to improve accessible, distributed site development in similar organizations.


Implementing a corporate web accessibility compliance program BIBAFull-Text 207
  Sarah J. Swierenga
The workshop will provide a practical approach for organizing and implementing accessibility programs. Gain a real-world understanding of the organizational strategies for developing an accessibility compliance program. Learn about the logistics for setting up an accessibility compliance initiative, implementing the process, and conducting usability studies that incorporate accessibility concerns.

Writing and documentation

Narrative-based writing for coherent technical documents BIBAFull-Text 208-215
  Nishadi H. De Silva; Peter Henderson
Narrative-based writing is a technique that was developed to address the lack of support for document coherence. The technique depends on the production of a story-like executive summary of the document called a DN (Document Narrative). This is then analysed using a discourse theory called Rhetorical Structure Theory (RST) which helps further to correct any lapses in coherence in the DN before proceeding to use it to write the document. Previous papers have described the technique briefly, alongside discussions of the ongoing software development to incorporate narrative support in writing tools. It has now become apparent that the technique itself needs to be explained in greater detail. This is the purpose of this paper. Here, narrative-based writing and the reasoning behind it is described. This is followed by a description of a user experiment conducted in May 2006 to evaluate narrative-based writing and discover areas in which it could be improved. The positive feedback from the volunteers has motivated us to continue to refine and simplify the technique.
Evaluating guidelines for writing user interface text BIBAFull-Text 216-220
  P. J. Schemenaur; Catherine Pawlick
This paper explains the process of developing user interface text style guidelines and evaluates the applicability and usefulness of having guidelines for user interface (UI) developers. The paper also discusses the effectiveness of the book model for documentation and how writers and editors can positively impact the user interface process.
Cross-cultural considerations in instructional documentation: contrasting Chinese and U.S. home heater manuals BIBAFull-Text 221-228
  Qiumin Dong
Technical communicators need to develop certain skills to succeed in intercultural interactions. Drawing on the literature of intercultural and professional communication, this article presents a case study that examines the design features and analyzes the differences of home heater manuals from China and the U.S. By discussing the possible cultural influences, the article exemplifies a cross-cultural approach in teaching international technical communication and in creating instructional documentation across cultures.
Experience paper: a content reuse documentation design experience BIBAFull-Text 229-233
  Kathy Haramundanis; Larry Rowland
Using an XML environment, these authors as co-writers developed a set of documents that reused content in several ways. The documents produced for a HP software product included a user manual, context-sensitive help for product GUI screens and user tasks, manual pages (manpages) for delivery on a UNIX system, a white paper, and a technical web site. The help system was delivered using a platform independent, HTML-based technology, manpages were delivered in NROFF for the man command, and the user manual was delivered as PDF and HTML on docs.hp.com and as PDF with the product. Reused content was authored in context within the documents and reused opportunistically rather than from a central repository.

Keynote address

Collaborative activity management: organizing documents for collective action BIBAFull-Text 234
  Michael J. Muller
Workplace collaborators make use of diverse types of documents and other resources. Traditionally, each type of document has been stored in its own repository, and people have had to manage multiple documents in multiple storage services. Workplace collaborators often have complex, ad hoc working relations that are partially executed through their shared documents. Traditionally, dependencies among documents and other objects have gone unrecorded, or have been stored in a piecemeal manner inside the documents, or have been objectified and rigidified in workflow engines. Workplace collaborators often need to coordinate with one another, both asynchronously and in real-time, and often in the context of their shared documents. Traditionally, people had no idea of the status of their collaborators, or they have had to consult other, unrelated services for awareness or presence information about their colleagues.
   We aim to change that. I will describe our research, findings, and possible futures of systems and services that are intended to unify the ways that people collaborate with and through shared documents. In our ActivityExplorer project, users innovated new ways of using our software, showing that a service with collections of shared documents, fine-grained access control, persistent communications, and real-time status information could serve diverse needs of a workplace of individuals, teams, and communities. Our Unified Activity Management project explored the harvesting of collective enactments, and their crystallization into work practices templates and rich placeholders for future collaborations. These ideas have led to successful technology transfer, and are making their way into products.
   In the course of this work, we sometimes found that simple ideas were much more popular than expected, paradoxically creating new challenges for users. I will describe two of those challenges, and our attempts to meet them. This new research has led us into domains of interruption management, machine learning, and very much into social computing, including technology transfer into another generation of collaboration products.
   People work together through direct communication and through shared documents. At every turn, people surprise us with their ingenuity and their ability to create new human and technological solutions with the systems that we offer them. I will close with a discussion of the concept of reinvention (innovation through usage), and how technology developers and users can learn from one another through cycles of development and usage, with innovative contributions from all parties at each turn of the cycle.

The rhetoric of science and technology

The problem of extraneous text: opposition to organizational change, dynamic & synoptic orientations BIBAFull-Text 235-240
  Brenton Faber
This paper provides an initial examination of discourses used to resist and destabilize change after change has been initiated within a social network. The study examines an email exchange among association members in which one member offered a proposal for changing the way members post email to their list serve. In the proposal, the writer employed one discourse of usability and claimed it to be the dominant (and only) form for the field. As that specific discourse began to stabilize, other actors entered the conversation to destabilize both the change and the conversation that enabled the possibility of change. The result of these exchanges was a reinforcement of the very forms the agent of change attempted to challenge. Examining the relative stability of each contribution to the email conversation, the study shows that opposition was enacted only once the change appeared to stabilize. The case describes one example of the competing discursive aggregations that constitute organizational networks and the forms enacted by discourses of change.
Frozen ecstasy: visualizing hearing in marketing materials for cochlear implants BIBAFull-Text 241-248
  Sean Zdenek
In this paper, I analyze marketing materials -- principally brochures -- from two cochlear implant manufacturers. Cochlear implants occupy a central place in the debates over deafness. Is deafness merely a medical condition that prevents deaf people from fully participating in the (hearing) society at large? Or is Deafness (written with a capital D) the moniker of a minority group, one with its own distinct language (e.g. American Sign Language), history, culture, and values, and thus deserving of the same civil rights afforded to other linguistic minorities? Because implants promise to eradicate deafness, they also threaten to undermine the claims of some deaf people to self-realization as members of a linguistic minority group. Not surprisingly, the marketing materials embrace a medical model of deafness as a stigmatizing deficit to be fixed. But they do so by downplaying the implant's uncertainty (i.e. implants to date can not deliver on the promise to cure deafness for all) and by ignoring the contests within the Deaf community over the place of implants in the lives of d/Deaf people.

Usability -- theory, methods, and experiences

Usability inspection methods after 15 years of research and practice BIBAFull-Text 249-255
  Tasha Hollingsed; David G. Novick
Usability inspection methods, such as heuristic evaluation, the cognitive walkthrough, formal usability inspections, and the pluralistic usability walkthrough, were introduced fifteen years ago. Since then, these methods, analyses of their comparative effectiveness, and their use have evolved in different ways. In this paper, we track the fortunes of the methods and analyses, looking at which led to use and to further research, and which led to relative methodological dead ends. Heuristic evaluation and the cognitive walkthrough appear to be the most actively used and researched techniques. The pluralistic walkthrough remains a recognized technique, although not the subject of significant further study. Formal usability inspections appear to have been incorporated into other techniques or largely abandoned in practice. We conclude with lessons for practitioners and suggestions for future research.
Distributed value system matrix: a new use for distributed usability testing BIBAFull-Text 256-262
  Douglas Walls
In this paper, I make the case that User-Centered Design (UCD) principles, specifically those principles that view design through the lens of distributed usability, should be at the center of research into how organizations determine and value writing work. Based in activity theory, my argument for such an approach is that UCD principles, grounded in notions of Distributed Usability, function well as a research method to determine organizational values that may be invisible or ill defined. Activity theory as it currently stands contains but does not foreground what and how an organization values as good writing for a particular situation. By using activity theory and distributed usability to develop what I call a Distributed Value System Matrix, organizations would be able to see how differing documents may be doing the same work within and between different contexts. Such knowledge should be of great value for smaller organizations where members often engage in a variety of writing tasks and for professional writers who move project to project, context to context. I include a brief example of what such a research project looks like in an academic context.
Evaluating web usability using small display devices BIBAFull-Text 263-268
  Carlos J. Costa; José Silva; Manuela Aparício
Usability is an important issue studied by many researchers and practitioners. Specifically, we are interested in evaluating web usability using small display devices.
   In this paper we evaluate different type of navigation using small display devices: links, folio and search. In order to evaluate it, we propose a laboratory prototype.
Redesign solution for civicinfo bc web site BIBAFull-Text 269-274
  Alan Rosenthal
According to the mission statement on the home page, CivicInfo BC is 'a web-based resource the main goal of which is to facilitate information sharing and collaboration among people who work, or have an interest in the British Columbia local government sector. Rob MacDonald, Marcia Peterson, and Alan Rosenthal conducted a Contextual Inquiry of the CivicInfo BC Web site at the District of North Vancouver and the District of West Vancouver municipal government offices. At the conclusion of the interview, we created an Affinity Diagram to analyze the issues that we observed.
   After performing an analysis of the tasks conducted by the users that we observed during the contextual inquiry, in addition to the context in which they are performed, we conducted a scenario-based usability study in which participants were given a set of tasks to complete for each of our proposed redesigns of the CivicInfo BC Web site. Users were asked to "think aloud" while working through each task. The purpose of the think aloud method is to gain an understanding of the participants thought processes, expectations, and how they came to make their decisions.
   The study was conducted by Alan Rosenthal using Microsoft Live Meeting. The use of Live Meeting enabled Marcia Peterson and Rob MacDonald to participate remotely in the usability study via conference call. Screen activity was also recorded using Camtasia Recorder.