RE: HTML5, Phones, and Tables

Subject: RE: HTML5, Phones, and Tables
From: "Wright, Lynne" <Lynne -dot- Wright -at- Kronos -dot- com>
To: Robert Lauriston <robert -at- lauriston -dot- com>, TECHWR-L Writing <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 23 Jun 2016 18:52:36 +0000

I've just started learning to author in Flare, largely *because* it enables my Help output to automatically adjust for display on mobile devices.

People are increasingly using tablets or phones to run apps -- one of the products I document is used by airline staff, so I expect users will be accessing it mostly from mobile devices.

Not only do I see it as my responsibility to provide HTML5 output for that purpose; but I don't want to have to rely on some programmer to code my output for different platforms, especially when they already have their own job to do.

Gotta keep up with the times... linear, book-form documentation is becoming obsolete. So I agree with mbaker; we need to rethink all the old-school conventions that we're used to.

-----Original Message-----
From: techwr-l-bounces+lynne -dot- wright=kronos -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com [mailto:techwr-l-bounces+lynne -dot- wright=kronos -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com] On Behalf Of Robert Lauriston
Sent: June-23-16 2:29 PM
To: TECHWR-L Writing <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Subject: Re: HTML5, Phones, and Tables

Does anyone who actually writes technical docs for a living spend much time working on stuff that will be displayed as HTML5 on a phone? In my experience, that's something that UX/UI people code, and the involvement of a docs person is typically with the raw content rather than the presentation.

This seems to me like something that people who spend more time at trade shows than writing actual docs like to talk about because it's a market opportunity for consulting and whatnot.

On Thu, Jun 23, 2016 at 4:53 AM, <mbaker -at- analecta -dot- com> wrote:
> We should think of tables as a way to structured information lookup for static media. In other words, they are a technique for presenting data on paper because of paper's lack of any kind of interactive features.
>
> Consider, for instance, the time tables for a transportation company. No modern airline or bus company would dream of presenting its schedules as a static table anymore. Instead, the present a booking widget that lets you enter your starting point, destination, and travel times and automatically constructs an itinerary for you.
>
> So the question should not be, how do we present tables in online media. We should never be thinking in those terms. We should be thinking how to allow readers to manipulate this data, or to ask the question of the system whose answer depends on this data. If we also have to present the data in a static media, then and only then should we be thinking about how to make it into a table.
>
> The key here is to stop thinking in terms of tables and presentation and to start thinking in terms of data and queries on that data. Fall back to tables only as a last resort.
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Follow-Ups:

References:
HTML5, Phones, and Tables: From: Chris Despopoulos
RE: HTML5, Phones, and Tables: From: mbaker
Re: HTML5, Phones, and Tables: From: Robert Lauriston

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