Guest author: Anne Gentle [Editor's note: STC member Anne Gentle kindly contributed this personal account of temporarily losing vision in one eye while recovering from an injury. This story, first published on her own blog, illustrates how a simple event can have complicated consequences. Anne writes, "I'd just like to get the word out and have others learn from my experience."] I haven't been churning out blog posts for a while due to a crazy birthday party incident. I don't usually tell personal stories on my blog, but I thought I'd personalize this tale and talk about how grateful I am for how it is turning out! The order of events went something like this:
In this BBC documentary, Peter White explores the history of Braille - from its revolutionary invention to its current decline in the face of modern digital technology. For information and Web service providers, what are the design and testing implications going forward? See The Story of Braille.
Guest author: Lori Gillen I was asked to prepare a persona on what users over the age of 50 may need to maximize their use of the STC Body of Knowledge portal. The Society for Technical Communication (STC) is currently developing a Body of Knowledge (BoK) portal where Technical Communicators can share their areas of expertise with each other. This portal will enable technical communicators to research specific areas of expertise, such as usability or content management. They will be able to obtain answers to their questions regarding professional development, education and training, and new techniques and technologies. The amount of expertise that they will be able to obtain from this portal is vast. In addition, the Body of Knowledge portal will encompass the entire scope of disciplines that use technical communication, adding value to our profession and showing professionals in other areas of the corporate world that technical communicators accomplish more than just writing. I presented a draft on the AccessAbility SIG discussion list and received some excellent feedback. The text that follows is the actual persona that I presented to the Body of Knowledge Committee.
The Age 50+ PersonaMargy Statler
- Technical communicator, 16 years
- 59-years-old, married
- Bachelor of arts degree, Wellesley College; masters technical and professional writing, Northeastern University
- Human Factors in Informational Design masters program candidate at Bentley College
- Senior member of the STC
- Sixteen years of technical communication experience with ten years at her current company.
- In-depth knowledge of company products and product history from working on initial and update releases
- Skill at using Help authoring and publishing tools to produce deliverables
- Special focus on usability and human factors
- Listens to music to help her focus on work, because area around her cubicle is noisy and she is easily distracted.
- Uses widescreen desktop monitor because it's easier to see what's on the screen. In addition, she makes the screen as bright as possible.
- Prefers to print out content rather than read it on a computer to reduce eye and neck strain.
- Sends mail using a larger font size (bumps it up around 125%) and bolds items for easier reading.
- Resets her default font to sans-serif because she finds it hard to read content that is written with a serif font.
- Turns on captioning when watching online videos to accommodate her study partner's hearing loss.
- Uses RoboHelp to develop Help files, and is now transitioning to MadCap Flare.
- Uses Adobe FrameMaker and Acrobat to produce printed documentation.
- Reads books and articles on usability for class assignments.
- Conducts usability testing and studies usability and accessibility design practices for school.
- Wants information on trends in the technical communication industry.
- Wants to know about new tools for streamlining her workflow.
- Needs to research designing for accessibility for a class assignment.
- Wants to network with other technical communication and usability professionals.
- Wants to find accommodations for her husband, also a technical writer, whose fingers tire easily from typing because they are numb from Diabetes
- Margy is familiar with STC and naturally turns there first to seek information.
- First she looks around the site for any information about usability. The Google search on the site displays results about Usability presentations. [Please note that searching on www.google.com outside of the STC site produces more direct results on the Usability SIG, eliminating Step 3 below]
- She locates the SIG groups after mousing over the whole group of drop-down menus. She sees a link to "AccessAbility" and "Usability and User Experience."
- She explores the AccessAbility site to find information to accommodate her eyesight, and her husband's Diabetes. Then she visits the Usability and User Experience SIG site to see if there is any information that can help her with her studies.