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Thanks, Lin. That helps a lot. Appreciate the feedback.
On the 7 +/- 2 rule, I happened to come across this email exchange between George Miller and Mark Halpern along the way of researching structured writing (Miller's work was mentioned in one of the other threads so it caught my eye when I saw it):
Here's Miller's most significant line from that, in which he explains the purpose of his original paper:
"But the point was that 7 was a limit for the discrimination of unidimensional stimuli (pitches, loudness, brightness, etc.) and also a limit for immediate recall, neither of which has anything to do with a person's capacity to comprehend printed text."
"...yes, you are right: nothing in my paper warrants asking Moses to discard any of the ten commandments."
Interesting to see that laid out like that.
Thanks again for the interchange.
On Friday, October 24, 2014 2:25 PM, Lin Sims wrote:
I took it back in about 2000, 2001 (yes, outside of your date range but apparently not theirs!). It was called "Mastering Policies, Procedures, and Documentation" then, too.
Truthfully, I found that it wasn't teaching me much that I hadn't already figured out on my own. My conclusion was that good writers eventually come up with pretty similar methods, and that the course was either a nice tick box for a good, experienced writer's resume or a good jump start for an inexperienced writer as far as information organization and how to chunk information.
If you're using Word, they have (or had) a well-developed add-on for incorporating Information Mapping formatting such as procedure tables and the like. I was using Frame at the time (and am again), so that wasn't included for me.
They are BIG subscribers to the 7Â2 rule. [I find that, like with most things in tech docs, that depends on your audience and what you're trying to do. Sometimes it really DOES take 40 steps to do something, there really IS no way to chunk it out, and trying to force it to 7Â2 can be actively detrimental. Mileages vary.]
and now ... the WEEKEND
On Fri, Oct 24, 2014 at 3:52 PM, Janoff, Steven <Steven -dot- Janoff -at- hologic -dot- com> wrote:
I was wondering if anyone on the list had taken the formal Information Mapping course within the last 5 years or so, through the company out of Waltham, Mass.
If so, I'd be very interested in hearing your thoughts about what it did or didn't do for you.
Please feel free to post on-list if you are comfortable doing that, or offlist if not.
The current relevant course, I believe, is "Mastering Policies, Procedures, and Documentation."
Many years ago they taught a course specifically focusing on documentation (I believe Horn himself taught that one in the 80's), but they no longer offer this.
I know "last 5-7 years" doesn't sound like recent.Â However, the InfoMap folks tell me that the method hasn't changed in 40 years.Â So a course from 5-7 years ago will still be relevant to whether the material is applicable today.
Thanks very much for your time and consideration on this one.
I look forward to hearing your thoughts and feelings.
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