IMAP defense...(long)

Subject: IMAP defense...(long)
From: Bill Bledsoe <bill -at- ENVISION -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 27 Jun 1996 14:04:14 -0500


Well, certainly is an interesting thread here isn't it.... I'd like to
chime in on the side
for the Info Mapping methodology if you don't mind :-)

<Again... Envisioners are running to the closet as they see Bill's evil
soapbox appears
once more>

Information Mapping has a proven success rate. I've done usability
analysis of the documents
I have produced with it and compared to those I have produced using my own
"artisan" way of
constructing documents. (By the way, so have they!) Statements made by
Tim A. and others
about the format and the proprietaryness of it are true, but if you have
ever really studied the
method, you'd know that the format is the tip of the Iceberg.

What sets IMAP apart is the process you use to come up with your more
effective document. The
analysis process they use to break down information into usable elements is
what's important. You could
learn all of this on your own, and some of you may have to some degree, but
don't knock it until you
try it. I have tried it. It has helped me communicate more clearly in all
forms of communication: reference, directed, etc. I think most who bother
to take a class from them will find the same results.

Now, I'd mentioned earlier the word "artisan" when I described non-info
mapped communications. When I say artisan,
I mean; "Believing that communication is an art form, thereby what we
create are works of art." This is same
discussion going on in software development shops all around the world,
where the programmer feels like an artist.
Then, when someone comes in to establish a process for repeatable quality
results, they balk saying you're
restricting creativity. Here's the news: IMAP is like SEI CMM based
English. It is a proven way to produce quality
results via a process.

I believe there definitely exists a proper place for the writing style and
methods we learned in school and from reading books (the "artisan style").
Unfortunately, that place is not technical reference documents. These are
references people, not text books.

The documents I see almost always provide too much background, losing the
main points in the middle somewhere.
(We wonder sometimes why students continue to have declining analytical,
mathematical skills, and increased storytelling and other "soft skills?' I
would argue that academic textbook writers have not done enough analysis to
see that the younger generation's smaller attention spans don't read the
DBC's that are in most text books
[DBC=dense blocks of crap.... my acronym for any paragraph with more than 4
sentences in it... kind of like this
rant !] )

The analysis method that IMAP gives you helps weed out what is "window
dressing" and what you need to get your
message across. Simple enough.

<soapbox = off. Envisioners scurrying to their cubes after that lunchtime

Mappingly yours,
Bill Bledsoe "Junk moved on line is still junk.
You can
Documentation Specialist bet that if they didn't read the printed
Envision version, they won't read the
online version
bill -at- envision -dot- com either." Dr. Conrad Gottfredson,
or documentation guru-guy
intlidox -at- anet-stl -dot- net

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