Re: Information Mapping

Subject: Re: Information Mapping
From: Brannon Golden <brannon -dot- golden -at- WCOM -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 17 Jan 1997 14:56:55 -0600

Patrick,

There *is* a company called Information Mapping, Inc. (IMI) in Waltham, MA (http://www.infomap.com). They present seminars and offer all kinds of training material on their unique approach to documentation. I attended one of their seminars in Fort Worth a couple of years ago, and I can say without hesitation that it was the most useful "training-type" seminar I have attended in my entire technical writing career (going on about 7 years now). It was also a lot of fun.

Again, if memory serves, the original designer of Info Mapping was Tom Horn. Horn conducted extensive scientific research on documentation usability, and then he developed a sophisticated set of stylistic rules based upon his findings. Horn also has several books available on this subject (which I've not read). I'm sure IMI sells these.

Just a few of the major companies who have adopted IMI's principles are Southwestern Bell, AT&T, IBM (at one time), and Honeywell. Their list goes on and on, and it's pretty impressive overall. What I think you'll find is that corporations typically adopt their principles and concepts, although not necessarily their rigid stylistic rules. In my opinion, Info Mapping in its raw form is downright ugly. However, with the right typefaces, some intelligent application of their *principles*, and just a touch of design finesse, you can create elegant, highly usable documentation solutions.

Anyway, they're really good people, and I can *highly* recommend their print and training material, as well as their seminars. I was less enamored of the word processor plug-ins that they sell to make it easier for you to adopt their principles. (I ended up custom-creating my own set for Lotus Ami Pro--about three years ago.)

Feel free to contact me offline if you'd like more information/propaganda. :-)

C. Brannon Golden
brannon -dot- golden -at- wcom -dot- com

----------
From: Patrick Sheahan[SMTP:patrick -at- VELLEB -dot- COM]
Sent: Friday, January 17, 1997 1:54 PM
To: TECHWR-L -at- LISTSERV -dot- OKSTATE -dot- EDU
Subject: Information Mapping

Hello,

On this and the winhelp lists, I have been hearing about "information
mapping," something that appears to be a style or organizational
principle for documentation. Can someone point me towards more
information about this topic? (My web search turned up examples of
pretty link buttons. Is there something more to it than this?)

Thanks

Patrick C. Sheahan
patrick -at- velleb -dot- com

"You can go home again, so long as you understand that home
is a place you have never been." --Ursula K. Le Guin

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