In Web Organization is not Like Book Organization, I said that the TOC does not work at a large scale. It is worth talking a little more about why it doesn’t work, because it has important consequences for many of the navigational schemes that people propose for the Web and other large information systems. The reason… Read More »
Working with my current client has really reinforced for me how much traditional documentation methods involve flattening reality. The client is dealing with a large body of troubleshooting information, in which there are complex relationships between issues the user experiences, the symptoms that help narrow down the issue, the configurations under which symptoms can occur, and the… Read More »
I was astonished at Sarah Maddox’s statement, in her guest post Why don’t technical writers use wikis — or do they? on I’d Rather be Writing, that wikis are not good at topic-based writing. Huh? Wikis are all about topic-based writing. In fact, it is the only type of writing they really support. What’s wrong here?… Read More »
Conventional wisdom tells us that the best place for a needle is in a needle case, and the best place for hay is in a haystack. If you want to find something, or want other people to find it, you should put it in the right place. As we were all taught: a place for… Read More »
Today, Alan Houser (@arh) tweeted: Before I die, I want to hear somebody speak well of their CMS. Especially in #techcomm. Surely somebody must be happy with theirs. To which I (@mbakeranalecta) replied: Indeed, but the CMS model is wrong. Can’t manage large data sets on desktop model. Can’t have good implementation of a broken… Read More »
Noz Urbina asks, Is Communication Mired in the Past? Well, yes, obviously. Most of the tech comms world is still making books in FrameMaker. But also no, because the problem is more profound than the words “mired in the past suggest”. People get mired in things through carelessness or misfortune. They want to get out,… Read More »
Just back from JoAnn Hackos’ CMS/DITA conference, where it became clear that even in a conference dedicated to a topic-based authoring methodology, most people are still writing books. Certainly, they are writing them in the form of topics, but then stitching them together into books. The fundamental product is still a book.
Were I asked to characterize the human condition in a sentence, I might choose this: to be human is to make decisions with too little information. All our decisions, great and small, are taken without adequate information: getting married, buying real estate, having children (this especially), saving for retirement, choosing the best route for a… Read More »
Organizing information is no longer the responsibility of the writer.