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Some Definitions

  • Information Mapping ®—A scientifically researched and structured approach to the analysis, organization and presentation of information.

  • Topic-based Authoring—A modular or library-style content creation approach that supports XML content reuse, content management and makes the dynamic assembly of personalized information possible.

  • Single-source Publishing—Allows the creation of documents in various technical formats from the same content; for example, online help, printed documents in Word or PDF, or a web page and mobile device application. This flexibility provides a benefit in three areas: technical publishing formats, content assembly, including translation and localization and different contexts of use.
    Redundancy and duplication is eliminated and up-dating a single-source reduces the resources in time and staff that's required with traditional workflows which have to be synchronized across many source documents.

  • Extensible Markup Language (XML)—A markup language that defines a set of rules for encoding documents in a format that is both human-readable and machine-readable.

  • Darwin Information Typing Architecture (DITA)—An OASIS standard XML data model for authoring and publishing. DITA content is created as small topic items, rather than long books or chapters. DITA specifies three basic topic types: Task, Concept, and Reference. Each of the three basic topic types is a specialization of a generic Topic type, which contains a title element, a prolog element for metadata, and a body element. A DITA map contains links to topics, organized in the sequence in which they are intended to appear in finished documents. A DITA map defines the table of contents for deliverables and relationship tables in maps can also specify which topics link to each other.

Technology Changes & Trends Affect Documentation

Social Media — The emergence of socially enabled support communities provide technical communicators with opportunities in creating communities that can provide meaningful metrics about content and those who use it, helping to link the content creation and customer support efforts directly to sales.

Mobile Devices — Smart phones and tablets are expected to outsell computers. More people are using these devices in their work and will need technical assistance and access to an online knowledge base.

QR Codes — This two dimensional (Quick Response) barcode can link your customers directly to information and services by a quick scan with their mobile devices.

You Tube — When on-demand video is available for instruction on almost anything these days, customers of the future will expect their technical information this way; especially when using their mobile devices for their work.

Cloud Computing — This term has expanded from SaaS or Software as a Service, where both software and data storage is held on servers maintained by a third party and accessed via the internet. It makes economic sense to store source files in the cloud, to distribute technical drafts and even author content using cloud-based software. This will require companies to develop an online knowledge base and a customer portal or community to access, comment on and contribute to this information.

We'll help with your technical communications so that you can take full advantage of these future trends: it will ultimately drive the exceptional service that your customers' expect.

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That some companies are reporting that their documentation is bringing in over 50% of their qualified leads.

MindTouch CEO, Aaron Fulkerson says, “70% plus of our site traffic is from organic sources and our documentation generates more than half of our overall site traffic.

Furthermore, over half of our lead generation is driven by documentation.”

 

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