SCCI 2015

4th Annual Symposium on Communicating Complex Information (SCCI)

February 23-24, 2015
East Carolina University
Greenville NC

The symposium will feature a highly interactive format with each participant giving a 15-20 minute presentation followed by a 20-25 minute discussion (40 minutes total). We wish to encourage high interactivity and in-depth discussion about each topic.


9:00-9:30 Opening remarks
9:30-11:00 Content production and distribution

Solving issues in usability and information design through user-centered networks
Clinton Lanier, New Mexico State University

Evaluating the relevance of eBooks to corporate communication
David Hailey, Utah State University

11:00-11:45 Pedagogy for complex information

Strategy first, execution second: teaching design strategy in communicating complex information
Quan Zhou, Metropolitan State University

Conventional approaches and pedagogy of design in technical communication emphasize feature execution. Design is often treated as a designer-centric, rather than user-centered practice. This presentation advocates for a goal-oriented, human-centered design approach. Design ought to be taught and thought of as an iterative process of discovery, research, ideation, execution, and evaluation.

11:45-1:00 Lunch


Keynote:  Lisa Meloncon, University of Cincinnati

Better than a sharp stick in the eye: Lessons about communicating complex information from a cross-discplinary research project

By using a specific case study of a multi-year, cross-discplinary research project, I classify a series of lessons learned that are vital for technical communicators in understanding the growing importance of research study design, data visualization, and the public-ness of research.

2:15-3:45 Designing for government agencies

Citizen users, sea level rise, and the productive usability of climate central’s risk finder
Daniel Richards, Old Dominion University

In this presentation I explore the considerations of designing a study in the “productive usability” of Climate Central’s Risk Finder—an online, interactive sea-level rise tool designed for city planners but used primarily by citizens.

Mapping the buying and selling of complex software solutions: Implications for pedagogy and practice
Brian Ballentine, West Virginia University

I compare the findings from a field study I conducted with a software firm to pedagogical practices used to introduce students to workplace writing in order to identify tensions between pedagogy and practice

3:45-5:15 Designing and testing for varying audiences

Privacy as iconography: [Failing to] Reduce complex concepts to pixels
Patrick Gage Kelly, University of New Mexico

The promise of icons as a silver bullet for simplifying the complexity of privacy policies, permissions access, data sharing, and other similarly tangled privacy applications remains unmet. We contend that without legislation, standardization, user-testing, and user-education icons will continue to fail.

Globalizing the user experience: a prototype-theory approach to internationalizing information design
Kirk St. Amant, East Carolina University

As international online access grows, communication designers must increasingly develop informational products (e.g., interfaces) for international audiences.  Yet conventional processes for creating materials for other cultural groups can hinder the abilities of organizations to tap key overseas markets quickly and effectively.  What is needed is a more holistic method for designing visual materials for individuals from other cultures.

By applying prototype theory in a specific way/sequence when analyzing materials, communication designers can more readily develop checklists/frameworks for how to create parallel kinds of products for individuals from the same cultures.   The particular approach covered in this proposed presentation focuses on identifying key prototype characteristics in a way that

• Begins with establishing the recognizability of an item

• Moves toward identifying the characteristics essential to helping members of a given cultural audience also see that produce as acceptable and thus usable

Through a review of these two, general component areas, attendees can better learn how to apply these ideas and this proposed analytical and development mechanism in a variety of international design contexts.

6:45-?? Casual dinner/party


8-9:30 Connecting to the community

Towards a UX workflow for building awesome academic websites
Kristi Wiley, East Carolina University
Guiseppe Getto, East Carolina University

We present a workflow for creating academic websites with modern designs that are well-maintained and engaging. Key to our workflow are heuristics for pulling stakeholders into design processes. We hope to help other academics leverage available resources to better reach key audiences with the important work they do.

What can transmedia storytelling teach us about communicating complex information?
Brian McNely, University of Kentucky

This talk explores findings from two studies of transmedia storytelling. Transmedia stories are inherently multimodal and multi-genre, requiring the sophisticated and continual weaving and splicing of complex information. Guided by the framework of writing, activity, and genre research (WAGR), this talk focuses on what it means to do transmedia—the everyday mediated actions of developing and distributing these complex narratives.

9:30-10:15 Scientific information design

Designing genetic illustrations for public readers
Han Yu, Kansas State University

Drawing upon information design theories and visual examples, this presentation discusses design heuristics that can assist science communicators, information designers, and scientists in creating accurate, informative, and accessible genetic visuals for public audiences.

10:15-11:45 Information visualization

The communication and exchange between information visualization and industrial design
Zhenyu Cheryl Qian, Design, Purdue University

Aiming to integrate information visualization (infoVis) into people’s daily life to help them access and utilize the vast variance of data, this paper investigates the two-way communication between the traditional domain of industrial design and the novel infoVis field through introducing our assessment, research and design practices.

Computer-aided analysis of rhetorical strategies
Suguru Ishizak, Carnegie Mellon University

Text is one of the most complex information spaces humans create every day. This presentation demonstrates a computer-aided approach to rhetorical analysis with DocuScope—text analysis software with a suite of interactive visualization environments. The tool is intended to help analysts uncover the rhetorical strategies used in textual data.

11:45-12:45 Lunch
12:45-2:15 Meeting individual needs

Understanding digital badges through feedback, reward, and narrative: a multidisciplinary approach to building better badges in social environments

Joey Fanfarelli, University of Central Florida
Stephanie Vie, University of Central Florida
Rudy McDaniel, University of Central Florida

This presentation will explore three specific paradigms through which to analyze digital badges: feedback, reward, and narrative. Through these three perspectives, we pay particular attention to badges’ limitations, their social connections, and the resulting design and user testing considerations required for effective deployment of digital badges.

Personalized presentation builder for persuasive communication
Amirsam Khataei, IBM Canada Software Laboratory
Ali Arya, Carleton University

Presentations are effective way of communicating information in the field of education and e-learning, but they may not be completely beneficial and persuasive to all the target audience. In this paper we first establish our persuasive personalization model; the Individualization Pyramid based on Yale Attitude Change Approach to personalize content of a presentation.

2:15-3:00 Complex information in large systems

Communication of complex information for decision making
Michael Albers, East Carolina University

3:00-4:00 Wrap up and discussion of overall themes