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DOC Tables of Contents: 868889909192939495969798990001020304050607

ACM 15th International Conference on Systems Documentation

Fullname:15th International Conference on Systems Documentation
Note:Crossroads in Communication
Location:Salt Lake City, Utah
Dates:1997-Oct-19 to 1997-Oct-22
Standard No:ISBN 0-89791-861-4; ACM Order Number 613970; ACM DL: Table of Contents hcibib: DOC97
Cognitive Strain as a Factor in Effective Document Design BIBAPDF 1-6
  Michael J. Albers
People have a limited amount of cognitive resources. Coping with the increasing amount of information presented via a software interface strains a user's cognitive resources. If a person has to use the documentation, whether on-line or paper, additional cognitive resources are consumed, often overloading the user. Using several windows or multi-media elements can compound the problem. Unfortunately, as Wickens (1992) states, humans are unable to manage excessive cognitive strain and they respond by getting frustrated, committing errors, shedding tasks, or reverting to known methods.
   Understanding the causes of cognitive strain helps explain why seemingly well-designed and usability-tested documentation still elicits complains of being unusable.
   In this paper, I define cognitive strain as exceeding the amount of mental resources available to devote to problem solving. Psychology researchers have found that we have a small set of resources which must be distributed between all the cognitive tasks we simultaneously perform. When those resources are exhausted, error rates and frustration increase while performance and material retention decrease. It is important to note that cognitive strain is a short-term overload and is not the longer-term stress we associate with impending deadlines or an over-scheduled workload. However, longer-term stress factors do influence the amount of cognitive resources available.
   Thus it is essential that we, as technical communicators, explore effective methods which reduce cognitive strain and maximize the user's ability to extract information from the system. In this paper, I first examine the literature on cognitive strain and the signs of cognitive overload. Next, I look at current methodologies and discuss how they don't include considering cognitive stress. Finally, I explore how modifying our design methodologies to consider cognitive strain can improve the resulting documentation.
From Document Design to Information Design BIBAPDF 7-10
  Mark Baker; Carol Miksik
In 1750, the textile industry worked like this: Spinsters worked at their spinning wheels in their cottages. From time to time a broker would make the circuit of the cottages, buying up the spun thread and delivering it to weavers, who worked on hand looms in their cottages. The broker would then buy finished cloth from the weavers and carry it to town. By 1830, the cottage industries, and the individualized products they created were virtually gone. Both spinning and weaving were performed by workers tending power spindles and power looms in factories. The cloth they produced was so much cheaper than before that ordinary people could begin to afford more than one set of clothing, which sparked an improvement in personal hygiene, which lowered the death rate and fed a booming population.
   A wide variety of cottage industries disappeared in the years that followed. Today there is perhaps only one significant one that has survived: ours. Writing is the last cottage industry. True, for many of us, our cottages are eight by eight cubicles in some vast open concept office building. But in those cubicles we still spin our own words and weave our own documents using our personal tools.
   But this is the information age. Our cottage industry is not economical for producing the vast array of information products in the wide variety of media that is now demanded of us. Like it or not, we are headed for the factory.
   Fortunately, modern factory work does not have to be production line drudgery. Modern factory workers do not tend production lines, they design and direct the machines, and the programs, that run automated production lines. If we want to have a continued role in the information factory, we must learn to design and direct the information systems and programs that will run the information production line. This is not a job for programmers who do fundamentally understand the complexity of the information. It is a job for writers who have learned new design skills.
Moving Document Control Systems to the Corporate Intranet: One Company's Strategy BIBAPDF 11-16
  Bill Burns
Companies are now recognizing the cost benefits to using web and Internet technology to deliver information internally using a corporate "intranet." However, often not included in these hypertext delivery systems are the controlled or proprietary documents that businesses need to document manufacturing processes, the notification systems needed to keep production employees up-to-date on procedural changes, and the approval workflows necessary for ensuring ISO compliance to process control.
   Changing from legacy, hard copy document control systems to web-based, online document control and delivery systems involves not only an investment in new technology on the part of management, but also a paradigm shift on the part of the people who use the information technical communicators deliver. When making this transition, companies need to consider four questions:
  • What should be the focus for new technologies and methods?
  • How does the company build support for change?
  • Which tools should content creators be using?
  • What issues should system developers expect during the transition?
  • CogentHelp: A Tool for Authoring Dynamically Generated Help for Java GUIs BIBAPDF 17-22
      David E. Caldwell; Michael White
    CogentHelp is a prototype tool for authoring dynamically generated on-line help for applications whose graphical user interfaces (GUIs) are built with the Java Abstract Windowing Toolkit (AWT). In this paper, we describe some of the techniques used in CogentHelp to facilitate the authoring, maintenance and customization of high-quality help systems. These include the use of (1) a "single-source" methodology for developing program code and help text; (2) small-grained, reusable "snippets" of help text instead of monolithic topics; and (3) a lightweight, extensible framework for planning and generating help topics from "snippets".
    Mobile Computing -- Beyond Laptops BIBAPDF 23-26
      Laura Cappelletti
    In the companion paper "Mobile Computing -- A Fact in Your Future" we discussed wireless networking technology and products and techniques that support mobile laptop users. This paper will address some of the implications to information developers in a world where the networking infrastructure is assumed (the Internet), and where World Wide Web access is pervasive among our customers and coworkers around the world. We can imagine what our lives will be like as we progress along a spectrum of increasing mobility.
    Reconstructing Minimalism BIBAPDF 27-34
      John M. Carroll
    Seventeen years ago, I was working in a research group of young cognitive psychologists. We were young enough to be astonished by the profound difficulties people routinely experienced in using what appeared to be carefully designed documentation and self-instruction material. These initial observations propelled us down a path of investigation and analysis that we are still pursuing.
       In this Introduction, I will survey the emergence of minimalism as an approach to technical communication -- from my personal perspective. Although I originally coined the term as it is now applied in technical communication, and did play a role in launching and developing the minimalist approach to technical communication, I regard the minimalist movement as more a matter of zeitgeist and refinement than of radical innovation. The scientific and philosophical foundation for minimalism was well-established before 1980, indeed, it was writ large by giants like Dewey, Piaget, and Bruner. Many other investigators, including some of the authors of this book, were developing what now might be called minimalist approaches at the same time I was getting started.
       In this reconstruction, I will distinguish four phases in the emergence of minimalism: the very start of our project in late 1980, the early to mid-1980s when we developed the experiments, case studies, and interpretations that comprise The Nurnberg Funnel, the late 1980s when we began to extend minimalism to supporting object-oriented programming and design, and the present in which the themes of the past continue to develop and to be further reconstructed in a variety of networked information and education projects.
    Note: This is the introductory chapter for Minimalism beyond the Nurnberg Funnel (M.I.T. Press, 1997).
    Managing Hardcopy Documentation in a Multiplatform Environment BIBAPDF 35-37
      James E. Curtis
    It used to be that technical writers wrote computer documentation for one platform: MS-DOS, Apple, or maybe UNIX. Softcopy, or online documentation, was rarely a consideration. Today, however, technical writers face different challenges. Hardcopy documentation is shrinking, migrating to online help facilities, CBTs (computer-based training), multimedia tutorials, and electronic books.
       In many companies, hardcopy documentation is still a major part of the documentation suite, but it is being redefined, and that redefinition is bringing about complex challenges when managing hardcopy documentation.
       This paper discusses managing multiplatform, hardcopy documentation. Specifically, it is about a documentation project that I coordinated at Programart Corporation, where I, along with two other writers, managed multiplatform documentation for a multiplatform software product.
    Using Productivity Metrics to Manage Documentation Projects BIBAPDF 39-44
      Glenn M. D'Amore
    To determine productivity you need to measure your output. This is especially true when you deliver information across varying media such as paper, online help, or the Internet. There are also challenges when your documentation is highly graphical and when your help or web pages contain numerous jump links. Methods such as pages, panels, or topics per week are often used to describe productivity. At ADP Information Development Services, we've developed a custom measurement called a "publication unit" that we use to track productivity.
       Once you understand the development costs, efficiency, and productivity of your projects, you can begin to answer the following questions:
  • How much cost is attributed to a specific project?
  • How productive is the team?
  • Can I compare productivity across projects?
  • Are current development processes efficient?
  • Can I use this data to repeat successful projects? Answers to these questions prepare you to sell your services because you are managing all aspects of your project, not just your deliverables. In other words, you are treating information development as a business and not just another corporate service.
  • From Documenting Design to Design By Documenting BIBAKPDF 45-54
      Alberto Faro; Daniela Giordano
    User-centered approach to Information Systems (IS) design requires documenting user interfaces in conjunction with the other design documents. The lack of this documentation increases the cost of the user-centered specifications when producing a new version of the user requirements or passing from a system to an analogous one, although in principle it is possible to take advantage from former experience. To facilitate both versioning and reuse of the IS specifications, the paper presents a new organization of the design documentation based on a story-telling theory (STT) previously proposed by the authors. STT-based specifications consist of a set of use stories, each constituted by a sequence of episodes. Within this framework, the paper proposes to structure the IS design documentation as a set of use episodes, each referred to a multimedia document, called scene, illustrating how the episode is enacted by its main character in collaboration with other actors of the story. Scenes are traced to system interface and structure, thus enabling the designer to see how episodes influence the implementation. Moreover, linking the scenes of a project to the analogous ones of former projects results in a collaboratively built design memory appropriate for a reasonable documentation of the design process that facilitates versioning and reuse.
    Keywords: Design memories, Scenario-based design, Case-based reasoning
    Defining the Roles of a Technical Communicator BIBAPDF 55-62
      Julie Fisher
    The scope of the profession of technical communication is difficult to define and is even more difficult to quantify the work and roles performed by technical communicators. A recent survey of Australian technical communicators, sought to define the work using a list of tasks for a similar study developed by the Society for Technical Communication in Canada. The Australian survey specifically explored the contribution of technical communicators to the development of information systems. This paper will discuss the results of the survey, compare the results with the Canadian study and describe the profile of Australian technical communicators' work in the context of information systems development.
    Mobile Computing: A Fact in Your Future BIBPDF 63-67
      Larry Francis
    Using User Centered Design Methods to Create and Design Usable Web Sites BIBAPDF 69-77
      Jeanette Fuccella
    With the increasing popularity of the World-Wide Web, web sites have become the central repository of information for company products and services. As a result, information developers and web site designers are being forced to assimilate large quantities of relatively unorganized content into a single web site. Primarily due to the hierarchical nature of most sites, the most common method for organizing information on the web is to group like web items into logical categories. These categories then become the primary organizing structure of the web site and are, therefore, critical to the usefulness and usability of the web site design.
       Because of the importance of establishing meaningful and useful web site categories, a user-centered methodology was developed. This methodology consists of a four-step process: audience definition, object identification, object organization, and validation.
    The Mythical Dream Interface: A Mythical Metaphoric Method for Redesigning an Interface BIBAPDF 79-91
      Malcolm Graham
    This paper presents a language-based method for analyzing and redesigning a user interface. The underlying theory and a practical application of the theory are presented. The practical application involves presenting an analysis and possible redesign of the user interface of the Macintosh version of the Personal Ancestral File (PAF) genealogical program.
    Web Review: A Web-Based Documentation Review Tool BIBAPDF 93-98
      Robin Green
    In 1996 our writing team decided to convert our information to HTML from a variety of other markup languages, because we foresaw many usability advantages. But several challenges lay ahead, one being the need to develop or obtain a review tool that allowed writers and developers to review drafts of information. Before our move to HTML we used an IBM host-based tool, Revufile, which provided an online reviewing environment for flat linear documents. This tool was not appropriate for reviewing webs of information, and no web-based review tool was available; therefore, we defined a set of requirements for such a tool, designed a prototype, and enhanced this prototype, based on comments from writers and reviewers, to create Web Review. This paper describes the requirements that led to the creation of Web Review; its implementation, and its impact on the productivity of writers and reviewers.
    Online Documentation: The Next Generation BIBPDF 99-104
      JoAnn T. Hackos
    Building Usability in from the Beginning: Analyzing Users and their Tasks BIBPDF 105-130
      JoAnn Hackos; Janice (Ginny) Redish
    Managing Virtual Documents: Correctness by Design BIBAPDF 131-135
      Stephen L. Harris
    Over the past three years, our information design and development (IDD) team in IBM Microelectronics, Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, has created a methodology for generating what we call "virtual documents." This paper presents a case study of this IDD methodology, focusing on its possibilities for producing documents that are correct by design, cheaper and faster to build, and more compliant to the IDD standards applied.
    From the Real Toward the Ideal: A Case Study in Virtual Document Development BIBAKPDF 137-144
      Jim Ingram
    Computer engineers can build more powerful processors more rapidly. This exerts strong pressures on information developers, who face two serious problems:
  • Increased product complexity and information volumes
  • Rapidly shrinking product development cycles The resources and productivity of chip designers can easily overwhelm information developers using traditional tools and techniques.
       Information developers at a processor development laboratory are refining an information development methodology they devised to help keep pace with the engineers. At the heart of the methodology are virtual documents: structured sets of conditionally-tagged document files, book definition files, and control files. A virtual document contains all of the information necessary to describe a family of related products and to generate product-specific book images under software control.
       An information developer built a virtual document containing five user's manuals for related microcontroller products. The user's manuals were developed much more quickly than would have been possible using traditional methods. The benefits will continue as new products extend the family and new user's manuals are incorporated into the virtual document, which can support radically extended functionality.
       The virtual document methodology combines virtual documents with information and content modeling, design for reuse, document standards and templates, and incremental development and review. Except for a particular use of control files, no technique is original, nor alone provides sufficient productivity gains. Combined in the virtual document methodology, however, these techniques provide important quality improvements and dramatic productivity improvements. This paper describes the virtual document methodology and demonstrates the improvements that resulted from its use.
       Some of the information developers using the virtual document methodology now regard their work products as software libraries instantiated as book images to be delivered to customers. This new perspective of the end products of the information development process offers promise for increasingly automated assembly of technical information.
    Keywords: Conditional tagging, Content modeling, Design for reuse, Document management, Incremental development, Information modeling, Virtual documents
  • Familiar Contexts, New Technologies: Adapting Online Help to Simulate an Expert System BIBAPDF 145-151
      Hilari Kleine Jones
    Expert systems are software applications that help users follow a predetermined, optimized path of decision making or problem solving. For technical communicators, they provide a method for documenting complex procedures that cannot be replicated within a traditional reference manual.
       Sophisticated tools are available for expert system authoring, but the hypertext functionality of ordinary Windows help files can lend itself equally well to the task. Although an older technology, WinHelp provides a simple, inexpensive means of simulating the logic that drives a true expert system. This article discusses the principles and methods involved in creating a WinHelp expert system.
    Usability Studies of WWW Sites: Heuristic Evaluation vs. Laboratory Testing BIBAPDF 153-160
      Laurie Kantner; Stephanie Rosenbaum
    This paper describes the strengths and weaknesses of two usability assessment methods frequently applied to web sites. It uses case histories of WWW usability studies conducted by the authors to illustrate issues of special interest to designers of web sites. The discussion not only compares the two methods, but also discusses how an effective usability process can combine them, applying the methods at different times during site development.
    Inspection of Software Requirements Specification Documents: A Pilot Study BIBAKPDF 161-171
      Tereza G. Kirner; Janaina C. Abib
    Software Requirements Specification is one of the first phases of system development. This phase results in the Software Requirements Specification (SRS) document, which must contain a complete, concise, high-quality description of the system being considered. The quality assurance of SRSs depends strongly on the use of appropriate techniques. This paper focuses on the use of inspection techniques in the quality evaluation of SRSs, presenting a pilot study on the subject.
    Keywords: Software requirements specification document, Inspection techniques, Empirical study
    Designing Intentional Learning Environments BIBAPDF 173-180
      Margaret Martinez
    This study contributes to the discussion about self-managed learning in a computer-based environment. The result was the design for a first-generation intentional learning environment for instructional multimedia. The final product was an instructional design model for an interactive CD-ROM-delivered "Sales and Product Training" program for resellers. The model, called a System for Intentional Learning and Progress Assessment (SILPA), features six intentional learning design principles.
       The SILPA fosters intentional performance by focusing on three key learning processes: goal setting, task sequencing, and progress monitoring. Many theorists argue in support of self-managed learning saying that humans have an innate need to control the events in their lives. This need highly correlates with conceptions about learning and directly influences successful intentional learning performance. In this manner, the SILPA, integrated with assessment and intentional learning components, supports an individual's intentional achievement of learning goals.
    User Centered Design in Action: Developing an Intelligent Agent Application BIBAPDF 181-188
      Jeanne Murray; David Schell; Cari Willis
    This paper describes the User Centered Design (UCD) methodology for developing software products, and how the methodology is used within IBM to design solutions that meet customer needs. A case study, demonstrating the use of User Centered Design, describes a team's efforts to develop a user interface for an intelligent agent application. The paper discusses issues involved in designing and developing user interfaces for intelligent agent applications. The results of the IBM User Centered Design team's design phase are shared. The final section focuses techniques used by information designers and writers in IBM to apply the User Centered Design methodology to the development process for information (whether hardcopy, wizard, web, etc.).
    Web Style Guides: Who, What, Where BIBAKPDF 189-197
      Kenneth R. Ohnemus
    This paper attempts to pull together available Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) information and web style guide resources from the World Wide Web (WWW), providing some guidance as to their value, as well as identifying some pertinent and useful books. The content of these style guides range from top 10 design considerations to a more precise, detailed orientation. A style guide serves as a basis for development and is a collection of principles, guidelines and conventions brought together into a single medium to define a unified look and feel for products and services. Many web style guides tend not to reference traditional style guides probably due to the wide diversity of web developers.
       Additionally, some information will be pulled together to demonstrate some of the differences between traditional and web-based style guides. The goal is to bring together a great deal of segregated information that is useful to the documentation and communication community and beyond.
    Keywords: Style guide, World Wide Web (WWW), Human-computer interaction (HCI)
    Order and Chaos: A Sociological Profile of TECHWR-L BIBAPDF 199-206
      Bruce A. Overby
    This paper is designed to help technical communicators better understand what computer-mediated communication and virtual communities are and to directly apply this understanding to the field of technical communication. The virtual forms of community traits are defined and compared to similar traits seen in traditional communities. A model paralleling the aspects of traditional communities with those of virtual communities is then presented, along with a content analysis tool that allows researchers to measure the presence of these aspects in specific computer-mediated communications such as TECHWR-L.
       Finally, the results from a research project that used this tool to analyze several on-line discussion forums, including TECHWR-L, are presented. These results provide vivid sociological profiles of each of these virtual communities, which, when compared with the profile of TECHWR-L, offer an insightful look into the discourse that helps define the technical communications profession.
    Active Documentation: Wizards as a Medium for Meeting User Needs BIBAPDF 207-210
      Lori Phelps
    Technical writer. Information developer. Help writer. The list goes on. Regardless of our titles, our jobs are roughly similar: we create information that helps users use products. Once this information included only hardcopy manuals. Then it expanded to include online books and help, utilizing media that seemed to be more integrated with the subject we were writing about. However, aside from the appropriate calls from the program, we were still separated from the task, instructing users like a director from the back of a theater: "click the Save icon," or "press the Escape key three times and then select Next."
       But look around: that new software you just bought is also employing new media such as electronic coaches, cue cards, and wizards, to help users reach their goals. If these new media are implemented well, they seem to be part of the interface. And when it comes to your own job -- creating information that helps users meet their goals -- you might find that using one of these media can help you and your users achieve your goals.
       In this paper I would like to talk about my experience using a wizard to create active documentation for a network adapter. I will first discuss what active documentation is, and then outline my own experience creating it to replace traditional documentation.
    How Electronic Outlining Can Help You Create Online Materials BIBPDF 211-221
      Jonathan Price
    Navigation Issues in Hypertext: Documenting Complex Hierarchies with HTML Frames BIBAPDF 223-235
      Michael Priestley
    From a hypertext design perspective, almost any body of information can be seen as a collection of isolated but inter-related modules. HTML frames provide an ideal way to preserve and present the relationships among the modules, and communicate the hierarchy of the information domain.
       However, there are a number of design issues involved with multi-panel user interfaces in general, and with HTML frames in particular. Frames aren't appropriate for every kind of information; and when they are appropriate, the frame design needs to be based on careful analysis of information content and relationships.
       The paper is divided into the following parts:
  • Part I provides a defense of our choice of technology (HTML in general, and
       frame layouts in particular).
  • Part II covers some general design considerations for different kinds of
  • Part III covers the evolution of our frame design for the VisualAge for Java
       and VisualAge for C++ class library reference information.
  • Part IV covers the design considerations we encountered when we implemented
       the design.
  • Part V summarizes the main points of the paper, and suggests some future
       directions to consider.
  • Hypertext to Hypermedia and Beyond -- The Evolution Continues BIBAPDF 237-241
      Jeffrey Rowe
    The phenomenal growth of new forms of hypermedia, especially for the World Wide Web, has been fueled by the ability for authors to easily and cheaply publish electronic documents to a worldwide audience. As these electronic "hyper" documents have become larger and more complex, however, hardware and software vendors have experienced the limitations of their products with the new media.
       To address the requirements of evermore demanding users and to enable the further expansion of electronic publishing technology into new domains of distribution, primarily the World Wide Web, three technologies are among those currently leading the way to the future -- Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) 4.0; and for applications that require functionality beyond HTML, the Extensible Markup Language (XML) and the Virtual Reality Modeling Language (VRML). This paper describes these efforts and discusses new kinds of Web applications made possible by these technologies.
    A Large-Scale Contents Publishing Architecture Based on Reliable Multicast BIBAPDF 243-247
      Teruji Shiroshita; Osamu Takahashi; Shizuo Shiokawa
    Communication networks have matured to realize online digital contents publishing. This paper proposes a contents publishing architecture which makes a large-scale contents delivery available using recent networks. Multicast is a promising network technology to provide large-scale efficient delivery. However, the issues of reliable and restricted delivery using multicast need to be solved to realize a practical contents publishing. A reliable multicast tool is proposed for error free and confirmed delivery to thousands of users. A contents publishing procedure including service access control and delivery charge is also proposed for commercial publishing.
    Seven Graphic Sins BIBAPDF 249-254
      Ronald Shook
    Graphics are very powerful. They have tremendous impact. On any given page, the graphic is the thing that readers notice first. Because of this power, graphics may either communicate information powerfully, or interfere with communication, equally powerfully. It is my contention, and the basis for this paper, that graphics are either information or noise. Noise is anything which interferes with the flow of information from page to reader. This means that graphics aren't neutral -- they're either helping or hindering.
       In other words, the graphics we put in our presentations and documents can do as much harm as they can good. I've categorized seven ways in which we use graphics to foul up otherwise good presentations. They are the seven graphic sins:
  • Using the wrong graphic for the purpose
  • Using color indiscriminately
  • Putting too much information in a graphic
  • Positioning the graphic poorly
  • Using too many bells and whistles
  • Using unedited photographs
  • Using meaningless graphics
  • Add One Egg, A Cup of Milk, and Stir: Single Source Documentation for Today BIBAPDF 255-262
      Carl Stieren
    What happens when the software firm you work for decides it will not deliver large printed manuals any more? Then the request comes to put everything online. Six months later, user profiles shift to the World Wide Web and you're asked to deliver HTML. In the future, a database of SGML information chunks may let us deliver anything, any which way. Today, we must devise a system that allows us to "author once, publish many". Such a system is crucial for software and hardware documentation. The method I chose was to go from FrameMaker to Acrobat PDF files to HTML. I wrote the source document in Adobe FrameMaker. Then I converted to PDF files with Adobe Acrobat, and again, converted the Frame files to HTML files using Quadralay WebWorks Publisher. HTML and PDF files aren't full-bodied publishing formats, and the future will probably be written in SGML. But while we're waiting for the future, just learning SGML and diving deep into DTDs alone could be a mistake. SGML is a language which sets out structure, and most of us are concerned with content. One way to handle content is to use Information Mapping, or information types of your own devising.
    TaskGuides: Instant Wizards on the Web BIBAPDF 263-272
      Doug Tidwell; Jeanette Fuccella
    IBM's TaskGuide technology puts the power of wizards in the hands of Information Developers and Human Factors professionals. Based on the premise that task analysis is the most difficult part of creating an effective wizard, our tools help you create world-class wizard help without writing code.
       This paper contrasts wizard-style help with cue cards, coaches, and agents, with a discussion of when each technology is appropriate. In addition, we outline our approach in designing the TaskGuide technology for maximum reuse. We also explain the main features of the TaskGuide Viewer, the display engine for TaskGuide scripts. Finally, we examine a recursive wizard that creates other wizards, demonstrating the flexibility of our SGML-based approach.
    Designing Documentation for the Online Environment BIBAPDF 273-281
      Susan Topol; Frances Mueller Roach; Will Rhee
    In September 1994, the Information Technology Division (ITD) at the University of Michigan introduced a new online documentation system: the ITD Information System. This World Wide Web-based system -- whose development and deployment were the subject of a paper presented at the 1995 SIGDOC conference -- is still the primary vehicle for online information distribution at the university today.
       Some features of the ITD Information System, which can be viewed at http://www.itd.umich.edu/itddoc/, include:
  • Contains over 190 documents and 493 keywords, and is accessed as many as 500
       times a day.
  • Combines the X.500 Online Directory, which stores document records and
       related information, with links to the actual documents that are accessed on
       the Web.
  • Can be accessed using any Web browser for Macintosh, Windows 3.1, and Windows
       95 platforms.
  • Enables users to view documents in HTML or Acrobat PDF formats on the Web,
       and download either Microsoft Word or Acrobat PDF formats for printing.
  • Declarative Information in Software Manuals: What's The Use? BIBAPDF 283-296
      Nicole Ummelen
    Declarative information is often considered to be of little value to software manual users, for two reasons: some research results state that it is consistently skipped by users, and other research results show that declarative information does not enhance task performance. This study puts these conclusions to the test, because the research underlying them does not support such general conclusions. Two experiments are conducted to collect quantitative data about the selection and use of procedural and declarative information and to investigate whether or not the use of declarative information affects task performance and knowledge. A new technique for measuring information selection was developed for this purpose: the click & read method.
    Beyond the Rogue Writer: A Collaborative Model for Technical Documentation Production BIBPDF 297-300
      Melissa Whitney; Lisa Barnett
    Extension of a Hypermedia System Using the External Anchor Management Method BIBAPDF 301-308
      Jun-ichi Yokosato; Satoshi Takeda; Yasuhiro Suzuki; Taiji Tsuchida
    This paper describes the extension of a hypermedia system whose node data are displayed and retrieved by applications on the market (WWW browser, word processor, video player and so on).
       The authors have studied the PACKAGEFRAME hypermedia system which makes it possible to configure a hypermedia system by efficiently integrating applications on the market. However, the application which PACKAGEFRAME integrates must have a function, like a macro script, to which the anchor management function can be added. This paper proposes a new hypermedia model with an independent anchor management function, the External Anchor Management Method, in the PACKAGEFRAME hypermedia models. This will make it possible to reduce requirements for the application that can display the node data in the PACKAGEFRAME. We classify applications into six types of categories. The external anchor management method connects four times as many types of application as the current PACKAGEFRAME.
    Applying Tufte's Principles of Information Design to Creating Effective Web Sites BIBAKPDF 309-317
      Beverly B. Zimmerman
    Edward Tufte's general principles of information design can be applied to effective web design. This paper discusses how to use micro/macro design, layering and separation, small multiples, color and information, integration of words and images to create effective web sites.
    Keywords: Information design, Document design, Web page design, Home pages