The book takes a situational approach, emphasizing issues of audience, purpose, and task. In addition, it is the first Technical Communication text which acknowledges that most technical communication today is electronicwhether it be Web sites, CDROM help files, or email reports, today's technical communicators work more in the new media than in the old ones. The Concise Guide offers a seamless connection between the new and old worlds of technical communication. Offering a critical look at communication technologies in relation to technical communication, this text is designed for a broad range of undergraduate classes. Includes concise coverage and examples of how to create and design successful technical print and electronic documents including proposals, instructions, specifications, documentation, procedures, reports, and memos. Also includes cutting edge coverage of such issues as ethics, copyright, plagiarism, usability, page design and visual communication. This book is for any professional who wants a concise guide to becoming a better communicator in the technical professions.
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Table of Contents
(Note: Every chapter ends with “Exercises,” as well as “The Collaboration Window” and “The Global Window” activities)
I. TECHNICAL COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUES AND CONSIDERATIONS.
1. An Introduction to Technical Communication.
Communicating About Technology
Main Characteristics of Technical Communication
Types of Technical Communication
Technical Communication in the Workplace
Teamwork, Virtual Teams, and Project Management
Societal Dimensions of Technical Communication
Ethical Dimensions of Technical Communication
Checklist for Quality in Technical Communication
2. A World of People and Purposes.
People, Purposes, and Communities
Analyzing Your Audience
Analyzing the Communication Purpose
Analyzing the Communication Context
Conducting an Audience/Purpose Interview
More Tools for Understanding Audience
Using Information from Your Analysis
Audiences Are Not Passive
Typical Audiences and Purposes for Technical Communication
Checklist for Analyzing Audience, Purpose, and Context
3. Designing Usable Information.
Usability and Technical Information
Usability–During the Planning Stages
Usability–During the Writing and Design Process
Usability–After the Information Is Released
Writing and Organizing Information for Usability
Checklist for Designing Usable Information
4. Performing Research for Technical Communication.
Thinking Critically About Research
Internet and Digital Research
Other Electronic Research Tools
Hard Copy Research
Checklist for Research
5. Technical Communication in a Digital World.
Communicating in Digital Space
Technical Communication Principles Still Apply
Designing Information for the New Media
Online Documentation and Interface Design
Corresponding Over the Wires: Email, Blogs, and Instant Messaging
Telecommuting and Virtual Teams
Checklist for Digital Communication
6. Ethical Issues in Technical Communication.
Ethics, Technology, and Communication
Case Examples of Ethical Issues in Technical Communication
Types of Ethical Choices
What Is Legal Is Not Always Ethical
Additional Ways in Which Actions Can Be Unethical
Types of Technical Communication Affected by Ethical Issues
Responding to Ethical Situations
Checklist for Ethical Communication
7. Copyright and Privacy.
Why Technical Communicators Need to Understand Copyright and Privacy.
Copyright — An Overview
Documenting Your Sources
Electronic Technologies and Copyright
Privacy — An Overview
Computer Technologies, Privacy, and Technical Communication
Checklist for Copyright and Privacy
8. Page Layout and Document Design.
Creating Visually Effective Documents
Formatting the Page Effectively
Using Typography Effectively
Creating Effective Search Options
Designing Electronic Documents
Creating and Using Style Sheets and Tools
9. Graphics and Visual Information.
The Power of the Picture
When to Use Visuals
Different Visuals for Different Audiences
Text into Tables
Numbers into Images
Symbols and Icons
Visualization and Medical Imaging
Software and Web-Based Images
Avoiding Visual Noise
Visuals and Ethics
Checklist for Visual Communication
II. TECHNICAL COMMUNICATION SITUATIONS AND APPLICATIONS.
10. Everyday Communication Situations.
11. Product-Oriented Communication Situations.
Documentation and Manuals
Technical Marketing Material
12. Complex Communication Situations.
Definitions and Descriptions
Appendix A: Grammar.
Avoiding Sentence Fragments and Run-On Sentences
Usage (Commonly Misused Words)
Subject-Verb and Pronoun-Antecedent Agreement
Appendix B: Documenting Sources.
Quoting the Work of Others
How You Should Document
MLA Documentation Style
APA Documentation Style
CSE Documentation Style