To help our customers with information design, we use the idea of an information model. The model shows communication and authoring challenges and offers solutions. A well-designed information model delivers a number of benefits:
- quicker and easier for information owners to contribute
- less duplication and wasted effort
- easier to reuse good information
- quicker for readers to find what they need
- easier to demonstrate compliance to regulations
- a consistent style throughout the organisation
- easier and faster to publish
- quicker and cheaper to translate
Using an information model to significantly improve the way your organisation performs isn’t really about look-and-feel. It’s more about implementing solid, basic rules that are easy for people to follow. Using our proven 3di Modular Design methodology, 3di has the expertise to consult on and implement powerful new standards for your organisation that are cost effective.
The building blocks in the information model
3di can help you to create modular pieces, or ‘chunks’, of information. Each chunk is self-contained and has a specific function. The chunks are the building blocks of the information model. Because they are self-contained, they ensure that your model is flexible.
An information model containing modular chunks of content enables you to organise your information needs. It has become critical in designing effective content management systems. It makes content easier to reuse, maintain and single-source.
Writing modular chunks of content with specific purposes also enables you to set standards that create patterns in information. Readers subconsciously look for and respond to patterns, and this helps them to read and understand information more quickly. Translation also becomes quicker, cheaper and easier to manage when the source has been written in a modular way, particularly when multiple languages are involved.
DITA implementation support and templates
We’re all facing the same business challenges, aren’t we? We want to increase productivity, reduce costs, and serve an increasingly global market place.
Structured XML authoring can deliver a response to these challenges. Authors write and store words as XML – essentially as plain text. A separate, automated process publishes the words as formatted pages of printed or online publications. The benefits are evident:
- increased author productivity because they can focus on what they do best – writing
- reduced translation costs because the words are plain text
- opportunities to further reduce costs by rationalising the way you manage, reuse and repurpose your documentation
At 3di we offer you our experience from working with clients who have adopted structured XML. Our consultants can help you choose the XML publishing tools that are best suited to your organisation. We can provide technical authors with experience of structured authoring.
Helping you make a successful transition
3di can work with you during the analysis and planning stages. We can help you understand what’s needed to help you achieve a successful transition to structured authoring.
Your organisation must decide what XML applications to use and whether you need to replace your traditional authoring tools. You may need to invest in a content management system, including special software that transforms the XML into publishable files.
Your documentation team must carefully review and adapt its processes and practices.
How can we help you?
We can help your organisation benefit from the experience of people who have adopted structured XML in previous projects. Our consultants can help you choose the XML publishing tools that are best suited to your organisation.
We can also provide you with technical authors who can use their experience in structured authoring to:
- convert existing documentation to XML
- help your documentation team to review and revise its processes to fit the new authoring environment
- support your authors as they learn new tools and techniques
Authoring training and e-learning
Let 3di teach you how to write content that can be read by busy people, who may never have the time to read long, complicated documents from start to finish.
There is no special, scientific methodology or difficult concepts to get your head around in this one-day workshop. We focus on teaching you how good writing happens. We teach you how to get started with a key purpose and an outline. We give you strategies for getting your message across.
Enhance your personal writing skills
On a personal level, you will start to think about writing in a different way. You will learn how to structure your thoughts before you begin and how to match your choice of words and tone of voice to those your customers or colleagues use.
3MD teaches practical skills, like when to use graphics, why you should use tables, how to check that your content is complete with no gaps and how to manage lots of different readers, with different interests and different levels of knowledge.
Skills that enable your whole organisation
3MD is not just a writing workshop. The personal skills you learn are the basis for developing better ways of communicating across your organisation.
The analysis skills we teach will lead you to question just who needs information, what information they need, and whether they currently get what they need.
The ability to write modular content will immediately prompt you to evaluate the kind of information that is available, whether it is ever used and how you might deliver it to make it easier to search, browse and use.
Your organisation can have subject matter experts use their modular writing skills to write their own content for projects, without excessive amounts of editing or tidying up.