The Tyranny of the Terrible Troika: Rethinking Concept, Task, and Reference

Tom Johnson’s blog post Unconscious Meaning Suggested from the Structure and Shape of Help, includes a graphic showing three shapes of content:

Tom Johnson's "Shapes of Help" graphic. Tom Johnson’s “Shapes of Help” graphic.

These three shapes are meant to represent the DITA topic triad of concept, task, and reference. I didn’t get it. As I said in a comment on Tom’s blog, I was trying to match the shapes to something more specific. It was odd that I didn’t recognize them as concept, task, and reference, I said, because I have be “battling the tyranny of the terrible troika” for the last few years. Tom asked what I meant by “the tyranny of the terrible troika”; this is my answer. read more

What’s Hiding in Your TOC?

One of the defining characteristics of an Every Page is Page One topic is that it has no sequential or hierarchical relationship to other topics. There are no previous, next, or parent links in an EPPO topic, though there may be many links to topics on related subjects.

One of the objections I often hear from writers is that sometimes they need to create a defined order of topics because that set of topics forms a workflow. The question I ask in return is, if there is a workflow here, shouldn’t you have a topic describing that workflow explicitly? read more

Every Page is Page One Topics are Everywhere

As I have argued previously, Every Page is Page One is the new fact of information seeking behavior. Whether a reader finds information by searching, or by surfing links on other pages, or even by browsing the landing page of a website, the page they arrive at is page one for them. And when they are done with that page, the next page that they arrive at, whether they do a new search or follow a link, the next page they arrive at is not page two, logically following from the page one they have just read. It is a brand new page one. read more