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Organizing Information for the Web--Using an Object Orientation
Internet Prose 101

Writing for Webzines

Testing to Revise

Restructuring Legacy Documents for Multiple Re-Use

Writing Effective Procedures

Organizing Information for the Web

Designing Online Help

So You Wannabe a Technical Writer?


As the complexity and scale of documentation increases, technical writers, editors, and managers need to adopt a new perspective on structuring information for faster access, easier navigation, and more successful searching. Object orientation helps us reorganize existing information more efficiently for delivery in many different media, in packages that may be assembled on the fly, and customized for each customer. This two-day workshop shows how adopting an object orientation can improve the quality of all documentation, while preparing it for the Web, CD-ROMs, faxback, and many other electronic delivery mechanisms, as well as occasional printing.

You will learn from dozens of examples—from character-based systems to graphic environments, delivered on CD-ROM, intranet, or Web sites. Working together with other people in the class, you will apply new ideas to the tasks of designing and creating electronic information systems. Individual exercises, extensive readings, and group discussions supplement the workshop.

This workshop does not promote or teach any particular tool; the focus is on design principles you can apply in any situation.

Topics covered:

Understanding Object Orientation: You’ll learn how to analyze a document as a package of rhetorical objects, deciding which ones meet their responsibilities, and which need to be reorganized or rewritten, in order to perform properly.

The Wider Web: You’ll see how object orientation offers you a tool for analyzing, disassembling, and reassembling information from all sections of your company, so that different groups can reuse packages, or individual information objects, without having to create them from scratch (critical if you’re assigned to create the corporate Web site).

Writing to Reveal the Structure of Packages: Using an object orientation to cope with the multiplication of levels and topics you are being asked to organize on a CD-ROM or Web site, creating more meaningful and efficient menu systems, headings that help users decide among hits in a search, and index entries that add value to the references.

Enabling Decisions. How to open up the decision-making process by offering decision diagrams, and process flows that open up to lead users through choices, while offering supporting files, email contact, and access to archives of email exchanges.

Creating Procedures: Stripping down your existing procedures, to make sure they are functioning efficiently; reassembling them in discrete chunks, for faster use.

Making Reference: Exploding those dense paragraphs, to separate out each functional object, allowing customers to identify the objects they want displayed, while reducing others to icons.

Encouraging Conversation: Discovering ways to increase your ongoing electronic conversations with users, customers, developers, and other groups within your company, using the new objects you have at hand.

Author of How to Write a Computer Manual and The Trail Guide to America Online, co-author with Henry Korman of How to Communicate Technical Information, Dr. Jonathan Price has coached documentation teams in his object-oriented approach to creating hardcopy and electronic information systems for major computer manufacturers in the U.S. and Japan. For a high-level view of his approach to object orientation, see his articles on Structuring Complex Interactive Documents and Complexity Theory as a Way of Understanding our Role in the World Wide Web.

We are always glad to customize a workshop for a particular group or setting.  Please call Jonathan at 505 898-4912 to get more details.


Copyright 1998-2000 Jonathan and Lisa Price, The Communication Circle
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