Quality of technical documentation


User manuals, reference guides, project documentation, equipment specifications and other technical documents are increasingly subjected to high quality standards. However, it is not clear whether research efforts are keeping pace with this increasing importance of documentation quality. This volume includes studies from researchers as well as practitioners, exemplifying three approaches towards document quality: • Product-orientation, with an eye for usability in various manifestations such as tutorials, concept definitions, tools for users of documentation to find information, methods of eliciting user feedback, and cultural differences; • Process-orientation, in which the quality of technical documentation is regarded as an outgrowth of a process involving sub-steps such as storyboarding, pre-testing and use of automation tools in writing and producing documents; • Professional orientation, in which attention is focused on those who create technical documentation. The volume will be of interest to a broad audience of writers, managers and trainers with technical and non-technical backgrounds, such as: quality managers; communication managers; technical communicators; trainers in computer usage; teachers, researchers and students of (technical) communication.

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Introduction “Quality or Usability? Quality Writing Provokes Quality Readin”, Patricia Wright “Design Concepts of User Manuals”, Piet Westendorp “Hypertext: Writing and Reading in a Non-Linear Medium”, Thea van der Geest “Techniques for Minimalist Documentation and User Interface Design”, John M. Carroll “Improving the Quality of Tutorials: Does Minimalism Always Help?”, Hester Glasbeek “Minimalist Documentation and the Effective Control of Errors”, Ard Lazonder “Translating Hierarchical Instructions into Linear Text: Depth-First versus Breadth-First Approaches”, Hans Hoeken, Marieke Mom & Fons Maes “Procedural and Declarative Information: A Closer Examination of the Distinction”, Nicole Ummelen “The Quality of Access: Helping Users Find Information in Documentation”, Michaël Steehouder “Collecting Descriptions of Text-Processing Problems for a User-Friendly Manual”, Gerard Nas “National Standards - Their Impact on Text Production and Quality”, Michael Klauke “Issues in Internationalisation of Documentation: Quality Control”, Tom Warren “Man-Text-Technology: Technical Manuals as Means of Communication”, Karen Mårdsjö “Catching the User in the Act”, Hans van der Meij “Slaying the Hydra: Quality Management of the Multi-Volume, Multi-Subject, Multi-Author, Multi-Rhetorical Aim, Competitive Commercial Proposal”, Paul Meyers “Towards a Usability Test Procedure for Technical Documents”, Menno de Jong & Pieter van der Poort “Computerised Writing Aids: Do They Really Help?”, Carel Jansen “Unappreciated Writers: A Survey of Technical Writing in Germany”, Gabriele Bock