SCCI 2017

6th Annual Symposium on Communicating Complex Information (SCCI)

February 22-23, 2017
East Carolina University
Greenville NC

The symposium will feature a highly interactive format with each participant giving a 15 minute presentation followed by a 15 minute discussion (30 minutes total). We wish to encourage high interactivity and in-depth discussion about each topic.


7:45 Bus leaves hotel for the conference center.
8:15-8:30 Opening remarks
Information visualization

PANEL Visualization ↔ Discovery ↔ Change, and the Human Factor
Rosário Durão, New Mexico Tech; Yvonne Eriksson, Mälardalen University; Michael Madson, Medical University of South Carolina; Milena Radzikowska, Mount Royal University; Chris Westphal, analysis365

This panel brings together practitioners, scholars and the audience to discuss the intricate network between visual thinking and communication (visualization), new ideas and insights (discovery), the development of improved products, services and skills (change), and the role of humans as primary originators, sole decision-makers, and ultimate users and beneficiaries of all visualizations and innovations.

Visualization through complexity: the challenge of exploiting new analytic tools for identifying network relationships in health data.
Laura Sheble, Emily Wu, and James Moody; Duke University.

We examine design challenges to developing an interactive query and visualization tool that draws on a network dataset constructed from co-occurrences of diagnoses within patients indicated by ICD-9-CM (International Classification of Disease, 9th edition, with Clinical Modifications) codes recorded over a 5-year period (2007-2011) in Duke University Health System (DUHS) electronic health records (EHRs). Goals that motivated the development of this web application and preliminary user responses are presented as context for discussion of how the design of interactive tools based on complex network data such as this can be enhanced.

Striking a Balance of Agency with Interactive Sea-Level Rise Viewers
Daniel Richards, Old Dominion University

Many government agencies, nonprofit organizations, and environmental advocacy outlets are designing online, interactive data visualizations that allow users the ability to explore various displayed projections of sea level rise and associated impacts in a given geographical area as a way to increase engagement. This presentation shares and reflects on the results of two iterations of a UX study on one particular visualization tool with participants from a local community, outlines the subsequent changes made to the tool, and offers forth a typology aimed at helping designers strike an appropriate balance between user agency and useful design for public problem-solving as it relates to sea level rise and flooding in coastal communities.

10:15-10:30 Break
Methods and education

What Do Online Technical Communication Faculty Need to Know about Intellectual Property Policy. Tharon Howard, Clemson University

This presentation will discuss institutions that are using IP policies to gain control of and monetize DE classes in the face of growing budget pressures and the ways institutional IP claims can work against the IP interests of both faculty and students. It will describe how our university had to develop a complex approach that attempt to monetize programs on the one hand while protecting the faculty’s right to maintain control of their intellectual work on the other.

Big data, little data, and where does technical and professional communication go from here? Lisa Meloncon, University of Cincinnati

Presenting a macro citation analysis from the journals in TPC and then a micro-analysis of a sub-area, my presentation argues that TPC has its own ³knowledge infrastructure² that must be acknowledged and engaged to sustain scholarship in the field.

11:30-12:30 Lunch



Keynote:  Faulty by design: A psychological examination of user decision making
Williams Gribbons, Bentley University

Bill will discuss designing products and services that optimize the user’s decision-making process. Often, bad decisions are made at critical times due to overwhelming variables such as task-complexity, thinking capacity and emotional state. Bill believes that preventative design is achievable and imperative.

Speaker bio

Bill Gribbons, director for Bentley University’s Graduate User Experience Program and is a leader in his field. His 30 years of experience includes being a published researcher and professor, a founder of two global consulting centers.

1:30-1:45 Break
Designing and creating content
1:45-2:45 Personal Web Library: Organizing and Visualizing Web browsing History
Victor Chen, Weidan Du, Zhenyu Qian, Purdue University.

Web browsing history can provide important information about a user’s preference, habit, and patterns. We propose a method to improve user’s web browsing experience by analyzing, clustering, and visualizing one’s browsing history.

Impression Analysis: Amplifying User Needs with Text Mining
Jason Swarts, North Carolina State University

In this presentation, I argue for relying on user forum conversations as a data source for  a text-mining approach to understanding user impressions about software. My purpose is to both demonstrate the analysis, its potential value, and the kinds of information and analytic skills required of technical communicators.

2:45-3:00 Break

PANEL Where are we with wayfinding? Topic Summary
Arthur Berger, Stacey Pigg, Nupoor Jalindre, North Carolina State UniversityComplex Information for Problem Solving
Michael J. Albers, East Carolina University

Providing information in a complex information environment means providing information for problem solving.  Unfortunately, too much of the information is provided as a data dump and not as information structured to assist in problem solving and decision making. Restructuring the information requires a deep rethinking of writing and audience.

6:15-?? Meet in hotel lobby to leave for casual dinner/party


8:00 Bus leaves hotel for the conference center.

Opening remarks

Poster session

The Complexity of Community-Based Branding: Building a Brand Ecology for an Entire City.
RJ Thompson,Youngstown State University; Guiseppe Getto, East Carolina University; Suzan Flanagan,East Carolina University

Methods to visualize search queries to improve information design.
Nupoor Jalindre, North Carolina State University.

Defining Science for Three Audiences: Methods of Communicating Scientific Information in The American Heritage Science Dictionary, The American Heritage Student Science Dictionary, and The American Heritage Children’s Science Dictionary.
Olga Menagarishvili, Appalachian State University.

Schrodinger, Oppenheimer, and Zuckerberg Walk into a Bar: Communication Challenges of Sharing Subatomic Chemical Interaction Modeling Data Via the Web
Stewart Whittemore Auburn University

Advocating for mobile and disabled users: Local Emergency Management Agencies in 2016.
Susan Youngblood, Norman E. Youngblood, Auburn University

Colors and the Multicultural Interpretation of Graphs
Jonah Schwartz, East Carolina University

LA-Tech/Eunice C. Williamson Health and Medical Communication Track
9:15-10:45 Scripting the Context of Care: A Script-Theory Approach to Designing Patient-Centered Heath Communication
Kirk St.Amant, Louisiana Tech University

This presentation examines how script theory can guide the design of more patient-centered health communication.  Through this approach, attendees with gain a familiarity with script theory and learn how to use it to understand the contexts in which patients use information and then designing materials to meet those expectations.

Using Augmented Reality to Convey Health Information
Rick Mott, Eastern Kentucky University

This paper explores the emerging field of human-embedded medical technology and its accompanying need for innovative user interface design. Specifically, the paper argues that, in the medium term, augmented reality (AR) will convey user information most effectively to diabetes patients with embedded control systems for an artificial pancreas. The paper explores what types of data diabetes patients with self-regulating artificial pancreas systems might need access to, why delivering that data via AR would be more effective than other interface designs, and how users will engage with the embedded device.

Benefit to Risk Analyses in Clinical Research: Communication Challenges and Principles in Regulated Contexts
Lisa DeTora, Hofstra University

In the late twentieth century, medical journal editors began to discuss the benefits of considering potential and actual iatrogenic “harms” as opposed to the “safety” of investigational products and introduced a new norm: the idea that no effective medical intervention is entirely without risk. The twenty-first century has seen a sea-change in the ethos behind communicating the results of clinical data, reflected in part by a shift in emphasis from separate considerations of pharmacology, efficacy (or potency) and safety to a more holistic analysis of the expected benefit to risk ratio.  I will discuss current guidance on communicating this information in regulated contexts.

10:45-11:00 Break
11:00-11:45 Big Data & Thick Data in Population Health Research
Kristen Moore, Texas Tech University; Michael Salvo, Purdue University; Coreen Bohl Canton, Potsdam Hospital; and Brenton Faber, Worcester Polytechnic Institute

A significant limitation in conceptualizing population health from rhetorical perspectives has been the exclusion of “thick” data in population health models. By, “thick data” we mean the sort of contextualized, detailed, and nuanced information communication studies has typically drawn from ethnographic, participant observer, and context-specific analysis. This presentation will review the role of big data in emerging population health strategies and will argue that to be effective as a clinical, managerial, research, and ultimately communication tool, Big Data must also integrate “Thick Data.”

11:45-12:45 Lunch
12:45-1:45 Coverage to Care?: Auditing the Government’s Affordable Care Act Resources
Dawn S. Opel, Michigan State University

Communicating the provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is a complex task, now more than ever, as many Americans’ understanding of the ACA derive from media coverage of political discourse. Through a content audit and analysis, this presentation reveals the ways in which the U.S. government’s ACA-related web content provides (or does not provide) actionable knowledge for various stakeholders. Attendees will leave with a snapshot of curated and distributed government-sponsored information, and also with some helpful guidelines for design of communication that unpacks complex policy-related information.

Expertise in Online Patient Networks: The Case of Cymbalta Withdrawal
Jennifer Fierke, Texas Tech University

In this rhetorical analysis of patient-generated documentation related to safe withdrawal from Cymbalta, I suggest that certain online patient networks have identified technical and communication failures in medical manufacturing and patient care delivery, as well as developed and distributed technical solutions to those failures. This analysis raises questions about patient expertise in relation to medical expertise, technical experimentation in relation to scientific data, and networked patient communication in relation to scientific journals.

1:45-2:00 Break
2:00-2:45 PANEL: Culture, Care, and Communication
Huiling Ding, Leslie Wolcott, and Laura Zdanski, North Carolina State University

The three presenters on this panel will examine different aspects of reporting and conveying health and medical relation in different contexts.  By examining how aspects of culture, communication, and context affect the ways in which individuals share information, the three presenters will review how aspects of the global and the local affect communication practices related to health and medicine.

2:45-3:45 Wrap up and discussion of overall themes.
Michael Albers, East Carolina University