Information-map your content the agile way

January 13, 2010 at 9:49 pm Leave a comment

An important trend

Ellis Pratt of Cherryleaf lists content analysis as one of ten trends in technical communication for 2010. Content should be integrated and consistent (across documents and other support tools), analysed as to its re-usability for different types of output (paper, online, multimedia, etc.) and it should contribute to the overall user experience (user-focused, task-oriented).

IM content analysis

The Information Mapping® methodology has always advocated thorough content analysis. The trained information mapper is first of all an analyst of content. Before designing and developing new content, an Information Mapping® consultant will:

  • identify the users’ needs and the purpose of the information
  • analyse existing content and identify any gaps
  • collate and analyse subject matter knowledge, and
  • if necessary, map the relevant business processes.

Real-world issues

Traditionally, analysis and design forms the first stage in a project. Unfortunately, this stage is often cut short through deadlines, budget restrictions, limited availability of subject matter experts, etc.  The solution: an agile approach to content development.

Using the agile approach

Typical features of the agile approach to content development include short development cycles, regular progress reports and project reviews, and collaborative authoring (e.g. through a Wiki).  The topic-oriented nature of the Information Mapping® methodology (chunking content in specific units of information) lends itself to easily develop user-focused, task-oriented content in an agile way.

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