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Lynne Wright says:
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.
I agree with Mark, too.Â But the question remain, what IS the response?Â For the initial transition to online, there was lots of noise about the loss of tactile information.Â How can you read a text if you can't feel the weight of it, or leaf through the pages?Â How do you know where you are in the narrative?Â Whole lotta noise around that.Â Post modernism was kicking into gear, Derrida announced there is no authority in any text, academics started discussing hypertext literature, and on and on.Â We came up with conventions to wrap a large body of text:* Bread crumbs* TOC Tree* Tri-pane* Other (can't think of it right now)
For the page itself, things remained fairly similar to print.Â We could add behaviors (expando sections, links, popups, etc.) but much of the concept of "page" remained.Â Phones make "page" a problem.Â And beyond that, watches! (Let's not go there...)Â It's clear that we can't have a page, but what have we lost by ditching the page, and how can we pay back against that loss?Â
For me, the biggest loss is browsing tabular data.Â I don't mean a large spreadsheet.Â I mean a matrix of options where some things can be combined, and others not.Â So this is a 3 dimensional problem...Â Say, Option Categories, Option Instances (and descriptions), Instances that cross categories.Â There's a lot of information in there.Â It's useful to know the 2 basic dimensions -- category vs instance.Â It's also quite useful to see when an instance crosses categories.Â This tells you more than what the specific options are.Â It tells you about the domain itself...Â How do the options play out in this domain?Â People want and use that information.Â If we ditch tables, how do we intend to give it to them?Â (And please, let's recognize the difference between information and data...Â Tables can present more than just data.)
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