RE: inline links (Re: Online help access question)

Subject: RE: inline links (Re: Online help access question)
From: <mbaker -at- analecta -dot- com>
To: <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 10 Oct 2016 10:28:10 -0400

I've actually implemented EPPO in some pretty heavily regulated
environments. But obviously it depends on the nature of the regulations.
Where regulations dictate information design, they are almost certain to
dictate document-oriented information designs because document-orientation
is still so heavily enculturated. That is a problem that needs to be
addressed at the regulatory level.

I didn't address translation in the EPPO book because the book is about
information design, not process. A company may well decide to compromise
information design for the sake of cost savings in reuse and translation. In
fact, it seems to be a common choice, particularly with DITA
implementations, though it is by no means certain that the companies doing
it realize that they are compromising information design.

But whether that happens or not, consciously or not, I believe a book on
information design should stick to information design.

I suppose someone could choose to write a book saying, OK, if you insist on
compromising information design to maximize reuse, here's how you can do the
least damage. But I'm not interested in writing that book.

Incidentally, do think EPPO is a very inexpensive information design to
implement (with the right tools), because of its loosely coupled nature.
This allows you to produce content at a very even pace with relatively
little overhead, which tends to make for a very efficient process. I think
tech comm tends to look for cost savings in the wrong places. The
implementation and maintenance costs, combined with the productivity drain
on writers, for complex CCMS style reuse are huge burden on the balance
sheet that usually requires the multiplier of translation savings to make
cost effective. There are many less elaborate ways to reduce costs.

Mark

-----Original Message-----
From: techwr-l-bounces+mbaker=analecta -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
[mailto:techwr-l-bounces+mbaker=analecta -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com] On Behalf
Of Mark Giffin
Sent: Sunday, October 9, 2016 9:23 AM
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com; Robert Lauriston <robert -at- lauriston -dot- com>
Subject: Re: inline links (Re: Online help access question)

This is a terrific discussion! Thanks everyone.

Most software documentation is almost completely free of government
regulation, in the US at least. Steven Janoff was talking about medical
device documentation, where it may be hard to find something that ISN'T
regulated. A lot of the fancier theories about documentation come out of the
software world, where they have more freedom to think. But the people with
these theories do seem to kind of ignore areas like medical devices under
heavy regulation, or farm equipment manufacturers that sell tractors and
seed spreaders internationally and are subject to the regulations of many
countries, and also spend large sums on translation.
By the way how do you optimize translation in an EPPO topic? Maybe it's easy
but I don't see an index entry for translation in Mark Baker's book (which I
like).

Mark Giffin
Mark Giffin Consulting, Inc.
http://markgiffin.com/

On 10/5/2016 5:44 PM, Robert Lauriston wrote:
> That's the world I work in. I haven't seen or talked with anyone about
> a doc of any size that wasn't single-sourced, topic-based, and
> task-oriented in over ten years. Hardly anyone sits down to read a
> user guide. They start using the program and check the help when they
> get stuck.
>
> As a software user, I got used to nonlinear, searchable docs over 25
> years ago. I think WordPerfect 4.2 for DOS was the first one I used
> extensively.
>
> On Wed, Oct 5, 2016 at 4:26 PM, Janoff, Steven
> <Steven -dot- Janoff -at- hologic -dot- com> wrote:
>
>> ... any given user might navigate/use 1 percent of the information set,
but the collective of users would justify providing 100 percent.
>>
>> Well, good luck. Aside from the fact that this would seem to be a
massive burden of time and money for companies large and small, you have the
problem you identify of document-centric thinking. You're going against 500
years of the Gutenberg age; it's going to take several generations, at
least, to purge that habit. Most of the people alive today were born and
raised on the document tradition. Millennials can deal with it but
millennials I've worked with and known have often wanted PDFs.
>

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References:
Re: inline links (Re: Online help access question): From: Chris Despopoulos
RE: inline links (Re: Online help access question): From: mbaker
RE: inline links (Re: Online help access question): From: Janoff, Steven
RE: inline links (Re: Online help access question): From: mbaker
RE: inline links (Re: Online help access question): From: Janoff, Steven
RE: inline links (Re: Online help access question): From: mbaker
RE: inline links (Re: Online help access question): From: Janoff, Steven
RE: inline links (Re: Online help access question): From: mbaker
RE: inline links (Re: Online help access question): From: Janoff, Steven
Re: inline links (Re: Online help access question): From: Mark Giffin

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