by David Wright, Daniel B. Shank, and Thomas Yarbrough.
While various forms of smart home technology have been available for decades, they have yet to achieve widespread adoption. Although they have risen in popularity during recent years, the general public continue to rate smart home devices as overly complex compared to their benefits. This article reports the results of an eight-month study into the effects of training on smart home technology adoption. Building upon the results of a previous study, and using the same living laboratory approach, we studied the effects of training on the attitudes of a group of residents toward use of smart home technology. Results show that training influences those attitudes toward smart home technology, including increased confidence in future use, and increased actual use of more complex smart home features. Results also indicate that users tended to seek out other users rather than training materials for advice, and that privacy concerns were not a deterrent to using smart home devices.
by Kristin Marie Bivens & Candice A. Welhausen.
In this teaching experience report, we describe a research experience for undergraduates (REUs) designed to cognitively support the work of two student research assistants (RAs) from a two-year college (2YC) on a funded project that involved analyzing user-generated content for an mHealth app. First, we suggest partnerships between two- and four-year institutions as a move toward REU equity because students from 2YCs are not typically afforded these opportunities. We then review the role of research in undergraduate learning and posit the importance of scaffolding to sequence cognitive leaps. Finally, we present the cognitive scaffolding we created and connect it to our hybrid card sorting affinity diagramming content analysis method.
by Scott A. Mogull.
This article provides an overview of technical content marketing and examines the audiences and messaging for technical product messaging, which differ from general consumer products. Notably, technical products, particularly those in innovative categories, require a varying marketing strategy throughout the technology adoption lifecycle as products appeal to customers with different attitudes towards technologies. Especially, content marketing for innovative technologies requires an understanding of the technical consumers’ (or audiences’) psychological motivations and needs, which have yet to be reviewed in the technical communication literature. In this article, the foundations of marketing innovative technical products are explored, with a specific focus on the messaging strategies as it changes to educate and persuade different categories of technology consumers during different phases of the technology adoption lifecycle. For new technical products and categories of products, the messages and channels of information evolve as the technical innovation progresses from the early market to a mainstream market, with both requiring adaptation to different audience segments and in response to emerging competitive pressures. For the majority of technical innovations, the technical content marketing strategy and messaging is a long-term investment for change to reach different consumer groups at the appropriate stage of the technical product life cycle.
by Jimmy Butts and Josephine Walwema.
As technical genres continue to grow and morph in promising new directions, we attempt an analysis of what are typically viewed as mundane genres. We use the term gray genres, which we find useful for interrogating texts that tend to fall in categories that tend toward a blandness that is invariably difficult to quantify. We use hedonism, along with a historical accounting for this value from its classical rhetorical lineage and run it up to contemporary applications. We posit that playful stylistic choices—while typically discouraged in more technical spaces—actually improves the rhetorical canon of delivery for informative documents. We close with case studies that offer close readings of a few attempts at employing hedonistic tactics within typical gray genres.
by Junzhe Zhu, Elizabeth Wickes, and John R. Gallagher.
This article uses a machine learning algorithm to demonstrate a proof-of-concept case for moderating and managing online comments as a form of content moderation, which is an emerging area of interest for technical and professional communication (TPC) researchers. The algorithm sorts comments by topical similarity to a reference comment/article rather than display comments by linear time and popularity. This approach has the practical benefit of enabling TPC researchers to reconceptualize content display systems in dynamic ways.
by Cana Uluak Itchuaqiyaq and Breeanne Matheson
As the field of technical and professional communication (TPC) has moved toward more inclusive perspectives, the use of decolonial frameworks has increased rapidly. However, TPC scholarship designed using decolonial frameworks lacks a clear, centralized definition and may overgeneralize and/or marginalize Indigenous concerns. Using a corpus analysis of TPC texts, we assess the ways that the field uses “decolonial” and propose a centralized definition of “decolonial” that focuses on rematriation of Indigenous land and knowledges. Further, we offer a heuristic that aids scholars in communication design appropriate for decolonial research and teaching strategies.
by Shannon Butts and Madison Jones.
This article shares lessons from designing EcoTour, a multimedia environmental advocacy project in a state park, and it describes theoretical, practical, and pedagogical connections between locative media and community-engaged design. While maps can help share information about places, people, and change, they also limit how we visualize complex stories. Using deep mapping, and blending augmented reality with digital maps, EcoTour helps people understand big problems like climate change within the context of their local community. This article demonstrates the rhetorical potential of community-engaged design strategies to affect users, prompt action, and create more democratic discourse in environmental communication.
by Lynda Olman and Danielle DeVasto.
In this essay, we propose a hack of existing models of environmental risk communication so that they will better address Anthropocene risks. We focus our discussion on a key area of risk communication: environmental risk visualization (ERV). Drawing on social-constructionist theories of risk and our own research on ERVs, we assemble criteria for designing and evaluating ERVs based on their hybrid collectivity—meaning their ability to collect agents around themselves over time and across traditional Modern divides between human/nonhuman, expert/nonexpert, and nature/culture. We test the criteria on two ERVs from the 2011 Fukushima disaster and discuss the resulting promises and challenges of an approach to risk communication motivated by hybrid collectivity.
by Ryan Cheek
Building on the work of technical communication scholars concerned with social justice and electoral politics, this article examines the Coray for Congress (1994) campaign as a case study to argue in support of a more formal disciplinary commitment to political technical communication (PxTC). Specifically, I closely analyze the ideographic communication design of pre-digital PxTC artifacts from the campaign archive. The type of pre-digital political communication design products analyzed in this article are ubiquitous even today. The implications of four dominant ideographs are analyzed in this case study: , , , and . Key takeaways for PxTC practitioners, educators, and scholars are discussed.
by Alexander Slotkin
Technical communication and user experience studies traditionally uphold Western onto-epistemological distinctions between technical users and objects. Recent calls for the inclusion of cultural approaches to technical communication, however, have asked scholars to consider the influence cultural knowledge has on communication design. This article takes up these calls by reading technical documentation through new materialist and Indigenous ways of knowing. Using a prominent Jewish cemetery in Gainesville, Florida as a case study, this article treats technical artifacts and subjects as co-constitutive, arguing for the cultural and material agency of technical documentation design in mediating and shaping user experience.