Information Mapping

Subject: Information Mapping
From: Keith Jeremy Posner <posner -at- SODALIA -dot- IT>
Date: Tue, 27 Aug 1996 12:20:09 +0200

Information Mapping is a writing methodology. As I understand
this methodology is based on about 20 years of research into
the way people read written communications. As a result using
the Information Mapping
methodology should enable you to present your message clearly.

Information Mapping, or Info Mapping for short, is applied in
business and technical contexts. Info Mapping is made up of
principles and components. The underlying principle of
information is chunking, ie breaking information up into its
component parts and identifying these chunks of information
using a label in the margin to the left of the chunk of
information. In this way you can write procedures (User Guide,
Installation Guide), system descriptions (Reference Manual),
concept descriptions, memos etc, etc. The key is always to
'chunk' the information and to signpost it with the label.

We used some of the Info Mapping methodology in writing a set
of User Guides and a User Reference Manual. Info Mapping forces
you to chunk information; in the case of the User Guide chunked
the information by ensuring that each step in a procedure was a
single user action or a single decision. Many user manuals use
techniques derived from Info Mapping, for example the decison
table which looks something like this:

If you want to... Then...
----------------- -------
continue click 'OK'

stop this operation click 'Cancel'

There are courses on Info Mapping in the UK. I guess there must
also be courses in Oz. This is quite an expensive option,

I have found information on Info Mapping on the Internet in the
past. This morning I have been searching but have not found
anything. I'll let the list know if I find a location.


Keith Posner posner -at- sodalia -dot- it
Technical Writer

Sodalia SpA
Via Zambra, 1 Tel: +39-(0)461-316159
38100 Trento Fax: +39-(0)461-316217

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