Re: Information Mapping

Subject: Re: Information Mapping
From: Max Wyss <prodok -at- prodok -dot- ch>
To: "Hart, Geoff" <Geoff-H -at- MTL -dot- FERIC -dot- CA>
Date: Sat, 1 Jul 2000 15:59:28 +0200


I fully agree with your remarks about the Information Mapping
representatives to be very evangelical. In fact, quite a bit too
evangelical for my taste ...

OK, a few years ago IM made fail a project I was supposed to do. The whole
thing was on a very short time scale, but the client required IM to be used
for that document. Well, doing the document or learning IM would might have
been possible, but both seemed to be impossible. So, I lost the project.

Well, what I have learned there, is that I would essentially have done
something similar to IM, just by using common sense.

Just my Zweiräppler.

Max Wyss
PRODOK Engineering
Low Paper workflows, Smart documents, PDF forms
CH-8906 Bonstetten, Switzerland

Fax: +41 1 700 20 37
e-mail: mailto:prodok -at- prodok -dot- ch

[ Building Bridges for Information ]


I _haven't_ taken a full course in Information Mapping (IM), but I have
attended a few lectures in which the process was explained in some depth by
IM staffers, and I've read a few articles by Robert Horn, its godfather.
I've also talked to many folks who have used the approach, both here on
techwr-l and at STC conferences. All these inputs considered, I'm left with
mutually contradictory feelings about the whole idea of IM: on the one hand,
it's clear to me that IM brings little or nothing to our toolkit that wasn't
already well-known to anyone who's read broadly in the technical
communication literature; on the other hand, most of us don't have the time
to read this widely, and it's awfully helpful to have the information all
packed into one clear, easily digested approach by IM.

The main problem I have with IM is that the company's speakers always strike
me as too evangelical for their own good, and that seems to lead
occasionally to the "all I have is a hammer, so everything looks like a
nail" syndrome. If you need a really good introductory or refresher course
in things like chunking, use of white space, and so on, and you have the
money (IM courses are overpriced in my very subjective opinion), by all
means take the course. But don't be lulled into using it as a "one size fits
all" solution for all communications problems. The analytic approach can be
very helpful in understanding a problem, but (for example) the templates
they use to format the results are too constraining for universal use.

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