Golden Rules Of Technical Communication

  • Audience: Boss
  1. Why communicating with him/her and not someone else?
  2. What do they already know about the subject? (topic, game)
  • Tone
  1. Word Choices
  2. Sentence Structure
  • Grammar and Mechanics (especially 10 things we talked about…parallelism, pronouns, capitalization, comma splice, and subj/verb)
    • Concision, cohesion, clarity, coherence
  • Arrangement
  1. Main point first (specific statements)
  2. Headers and subheaders
  3. Visual chunking
  4. Paragraphs (no indention, one space between paragraphs, single spaced, 7-10 sentences
  • Design/Formatting
  1. Font (easy to read)
  2. Images (enhance or complement rather than distract)
  3. CRAP
  4. Grid, margins, white space, images/text
  5. Color
  6. Logo
  • Argument
  1. Game Efficacy
  2. Claim, Evidence, Explanation
  • Business and Technical Communication documents
  1.  Not linear documents
  2. Executive Summary should be written after the rest of the document and provide an overview of the entire document (it might be ALL that people read).
  3. Charts, Figures, and Infographics need to be referred to in the text; they should not just be thrown into the mix.

Usability– July 13, 2015

User Experience Honeycomb


Useful: content is original and fulfills need

Usable: site is easy to use

Desirable: image, identity, brand, and other design elements evoke emotion and appreciation

Findable: content needs to be navigable and locatable onsite and offsite

Accessible: content needs to be accessible to people with disabilities

Credible: Users must trust and believe what you tell them


Usability is defined by 5 quality components:

  • Learnability: How easy is it for users to accomplish basic tasks the first time they encounter the design?
  • Efficiency: Once users have learned the design, how quickly can they perform tasks?
  • Memorability: When users return to the design after a period of not using it, how easily can they reestablish proficiency?
  • Errors: How many errors do users make, how severe are these errors, and how easily can they recover from the errors?
  • Satisfaction: How pleasant is it to use the design?


Website Examples


Usability Testing

Testing is done at the beginning of a project, in the middle of project, and at the end of a project.

The main purpose of testing is to determine whether or not a user can make use of a document, webpage or other deliverable effectively.

There are a wide range of testing options; we are going to practice two of them.



Create a map of how you approached the site and used it to find the answers for the following questions:

Start with mapping the sites navigation system.

1) purpose of the site?

2) Upcoming Events?

3) potential outcomes for using the site?

4) Audience(s)?

5) How do you think the designer of the site expects you to navigate or use the site? Do you think you navigated it as the designer intended? Why or why not?


Focus Group Questions

1) What is the purpose(s) of the site?

2) Who is the audience(s)? What terms or designations are used to distinguish audience(s)?

3) Would you use this site? What would you use this site for?

4) Randomly pick a page. What is this page about? How do you know?

5) Does anything stand out to you?

6) Does the site have a color scheme? What is it? Is it effective to you?

7) Was the site organized? How did you find the layout?

8) How was the font? Was it easy to read? Appropriate for the site?

9) What would encourage you to return to this site? What suggestion (whether major or minor) would you make to improve the site?

10) Three things you liked about the site. Three things you did not.


Rhetorical Style– July 8, 2015

Cohesion, Concision, Clarity, Coherence   




Technical Communication involves a particular attention to style. Style includes the use of language, which is dictated by etiquette, and affects the tone conveyed.




Mini Assignment: Memo 


Using the memo attached, you should edit and revise the document.  Please look for the following items:

A. Subject/Verb Agreement
B. Parallelism
C. Pronoun Reference
D. Comma Splice
E. Word Choices
F. Misplaced Modifiers
H. Capitalization

Spec Sheet and Product Descriptions

Edgewood Decorative TF610 Spec Sheet

America’s Army

Audience Awareness– July 7, 2015

We have talked about the importance of audience before.


As a young engineer in your first job, you have been studying the calculations and plans for the launch of the latest shuttle. You realize as you are working through the material that there is an essential flaw to the design that might result in a major problem when the shuttle launches.  You have several choices for who to inform: your immediate supervisor, the director of the program, or the committee who determines whether or not to launch the shuttle.


Mini Assignment: Good and Bad Audience Awareness

Think through what this will produce:

Write a set of instructions about how to buy peanut butter at a local Atlanta grocery store for the following audiences: (a vegetarian, food sensitive, or food allergic college student at Agnes Scott College; a 40 year old man from Slovenia).

Instructions are not just steps. They need to be adapted to audience, the person’s culture, familiarity etc.


Title of Instructions Respond to Audience?

Text based changes?

Purpose? Goals?

Indicative? Imperative?

Descriptive? Illustrations, images, and map?




Video Pitches– July 6, 2015

We will be presenting our video pitches today. We will also discuss feedback on our games as we move forward with making them.

Groups Presenting

1) Music

2) Travel 1

3) Mars Adventure

4) Poetry

5) Travel 2

6) Mental Health

Please listen to each presentation politely. You are asked to be the audience and given constructive feedback to both the video and the game. In order to give constructive feedback, start by mentioning a positive or praise some aspect of the game/video that you liked; then discuss your reaction to the video (this will not directly affect the group’s grade but will provide them with insight for improvement when next they do a pitch); lastly discuss any suggestions or thoughts you have concerning their game,

After we have watched the presentations, we will take a look at the prompt for this week’s major assignment and discuss what will be worked on this week. You will then have time to work with your group members on planning this week’s activities.