Outcomes of Training in Smart Home Technology Adoption: A living laboratory study

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.

Experience Report: Using a Hybrid Card Sorting-Affinity Diagramming Method to Teach Content Analysis

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.

Experience Report: Technical Content Marketing Along the Technology Adoption Lifecycle

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.

Rhetorical Hedonism and Gray Genres

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.

A Machine Learning Algorithm for Sorting Online Comments via Topic Modeling

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.

CDQ Issue 9-1 is now live!

We are happy to announce the latest issue of Communication Design Quarterly (Volume 9 Issue 1) is now live! Featuring work by Shannon Butts, Madison Jones, Cana Uluak Itchuaqiyaq, Breeanne Matheson, Mai Ibrahim, Temple West, Elisa Cogbill-Seiders, and Elizabeth E. Weems

Decolonizing Decoloniality: Considering the (Mis)use of Decolonial Frameworks in TPC Scholarship

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.

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