The goal of technical communication is to connect your customers with the information they need to help them complete their tasks to achieve their goals, using your products. There are three components that are critical to the success of your technical information: a solid Information Architecture, clear Technical Writing, and an effective Content Production System.
If you want to learn more about how to create quality technical information using proven techniques and tools — e-mail us today!
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Information architecture is the blueprint that helps us deliver scalable, effective technical information. Read more...
Our job is to make your content easy to use, easy to understand, easy to find, easy to create, and easy to maintain. Read more...
A Content Production System is the collection of tools and processes you use to produce your technical information, and must be arranged in a way that optimizes the added user value, while minimizing the resources spent producing the content. Read more...
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Information architecture helps us deliver scalable, effective information that is easy to use, easy to understand, easy to find, and easy to create and maintain. Information architecture can be described by three models: the Use Model, the Content Model, and the Access Model.
Information architecture standardises the way we assemble the components of our technical information to create an information experience for users of a product or system. The main goal is to reduce the user's cognitive load from the equation - we don't want to make users think about the information, we want them to be able to use it.
The Use Model answers the question "Why?", and is essentially a collection of patterns that define the ideal interactions between users and your technical information. It's a model for the information they need, why they need it, what they're doing when they need it, and how they will use it. As a user - your goal is not to use information, but to achieve some other goal. A Use Model is a standard for users and the information they need to achieve their goals. It's a declaration of the user's main objective and the information needed to achieve that objective.
The Content Model describes the building blocks of content and provides a content taxonomy. The result is a set of information units and a structure, combining the building blocks into a model to assist user goals and tasks.
The Content Model defines information patterns - the building blocks, order, and organization requires to meet users' expectations. A Content Model frees the technical writer from the design burden and eliminates cognitive processing.
The Access Model is a model for how users find information. It describes the organisation, structure, and interrelationships of information and deliverables. The model also describes the strategy for using different access methods, such as search or browsable navigation. The model tells you where and how information is delivered to users.
Our job is to make your content easy to use, easy to understand, and easy to find.
The information must be task-oriented, with focus on helping users do tasks that are associated with a product or tool in relation to their objectives.
The information must be accurate, and free from mistakes or errors.
The information must be complete, and include all the necessary parts - and only those parts.
The information must be presented in a way such that users understand it the first time.
The information must be concrete, and include examples, scenarios, analogies and graphics.
The parts must be arranged coherently in a way that makes sense to the user.
The information must be presented so that it is easy to find specific items quickly and easily.
Information must be presented in an attractive way, and in a way that enhances the meaning of information using layout, illustrations, colour, icons and typography.
A Content Production System is the collection of tools and processes you use to produce your technical information, and it must be arranged in a way that optimizes the added user value, while minimizing the resources spent producing the content. These concepts are very important when designing a Content Production System:
Topic based authoring makes writing more efficient without making users less effective. It encourages more focused, clearer writing, and enables content reuse.
Keeping content separate from layout ensures readability and simplification by reducing duplication.
With single source publishing - you can reuse the same content in different output. Content is edited once. Errors are corrected once.
You should focus on what you do best - developing quality technical information. Let the computers worry about building and publishing your content .
Your content should be processed to perfection using text quality software.
Your content creation process is a people-based system, and its success depends on the engagement of every process participant, which is why processes cannot be dictated, but must be developed organically with the involvment of all relevant stakeholders, such as technical writers, subject matter expert, product owners, and support staff.
To keep your content safe, and to track its history - use version control.
Translation and localisation is expensive. Single sourcing and automation makes it a lot cheaper.
The core idea of Lean is to maximize customer value while minimizing waste — that is, creating more value for customers with fewer resources. The ultimate goal is to provide perfect value to your customer through a perfect value creation process with zero waste.
In addition to information architecture, technical writing, and content production system design, we offer the following services:
Get your old documents converted to Flare at a fixed price. This includes topics, style sheets, master pages, page layouts, and targets
With our partners at Write2Users - we deliver cost-effective training for your technical writers. All instructors have extensive experience in the field.
Don't let your legacy content go to waste. Turn your SQL, Excel or CSV data into components you can use in your documentation — fantastic for product data.
Learn how you can apply continuous improvement to your processes to realise massive gains.