The July/August Issue of Intercom is Online

by Kevin Cuddihy on 22 August 2013

The July/August issue of Intercom, with a theme of usability and accessibility and guest edited by Karen Mardahl, is now online. Our thanks to Adobe for sponsoring the issue! Below is a copy of the note from the guest editor. Remember, Intercom Online now has commenting available, so please ask questions, start a discussion, and give your thoughts.

A Note from the Guest Editor

Accessibility and usability are specifically discussed on a fairly regular basis in Intercom. There are columns on usability (with Brian Still) and accessibility (with Linda Roberts). The October 2012 issue covered usability and user experience topics, and the January 2011 issue was a special accessibility issue. Articles with a focus on one of these two areas appear on their own now and then. Then there are the less-visible appearances. The May 2013 Intercom centered on content strategy, but accessibility and usability are part of what makes a successful content strategy. With this issue of Intercom, the focus is on accessibility and usability and how they fit into the “bigger picture” of technical communication.

“Content for everyone” is a perfect starting point to define the bigger picture. Whitney Quesenbery’s article introduces the overlap of accessibility, usability, and technical communication.

Karen Bachmann brings you a great review of many of the usability and accessibility sessions from the 2013 STC Summit in Atlanta. This refresh of that great live event puts those sessions at the top of my list to revisit in Summit@aClick. Perhaps they will inspire you to submit a great accessibility or usability (or both) proposal for the STC Summit in Phoenix in 2014?

Mak Pandit provides us with another perspective on accessibility in his interview with Shilpi Kapoor. Shilpi Kapoor is a strong role model in the field of accessibility in India. We’re lucky that she could take the time from her busy schedule to discuss the progress of accessibility in India.

Being up in the cloud is definitely a bigger picture, but David Dick reminds us to bring our usability skills along. Geoff Hart brings us back down to Earth with a tale of how usability applies to the humble word processing tool we call Word.

Ethics is certainly a part of the bigger picture for accessibility and usability. The article Dan Voss wrote on ethics in 2006 is still surprisingly (or shockingly) fresh today. When discussing this article with Dan, we were both pleased that, although the journey toward improved accessibility can seem very slow, a look back makes you realize there really and truly has been significant progress.

That progress can continue with more technical communicators applying usability and accessibility skills to their work. With these skills, we contribute to making our products more welcoming and inclusive.

I hope this issue whets your appetite to learn more about accessibility and usability, either online or in real life. If so, be sure to check out the list of “unconferences” and online conferences in my short article on page 26.

For ongoing inspiration about accessibility and usability from STC SIGs, follow @stcaccess on Twitter, visit the AccessAbility SIG and the Usability and User Experience (UUX) SIG on LinkedIn, or join us (www.stc.org/membership)!

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