TechWhirl (TECHWR-L) is a resource for technical writing and technical communications professionals of all experience levels and in all industries to share their experiences and acquire information.
For two decades, technical communicators have turned to TechWhirl to ask and answer questions about the always-changing world of technical communications, such as tools, skills, career paths, methodologies, and emerging industries. The TechWhirl Archives and magazine, created for, by and about technical writers, offer a wealth of knowledge to everyone with an interest in any aspect of technical communications.
Subject:Intranet Structure From:Susan Ryan <Serve1987 -at- AOL -dot- COM> Date:Sun, 20 Jun 1999 12:04:28 EDT
>>A colleague and I have been assigned to develop a searchable repository on
our existing intranet that will eventually contain all of the systems
documentation written by our IS department. I work for a large organization,
so we're looking at a great deal of information. The eventual authors will
all use MS Word and we're planning on managing the site with FrontPage.
>>I'm new at this, so any suggestions from someone whose been there would be
greatly appreciated. We are starting out with a survey of our potential
users to see if they have any suggestions about how they want their
repository to be designed. I'm mostly interested to figuring out how to
structure the repository. Should it be organized by author's department, by
subject matter, or by some other method?
These days, it's almost impossible to mentally separate an intranet from the
internet, so your intranet site should look like, and work like, the best of
the web sites. I was just on the U.S. Postal Service web site and I was very
impressed. It wasn't cluttered, was very clearly organized, gave me a few
easy-to-understand choices, and returned the information in a simple screen.
On the other hand, Yahoo can be so confusing as to be almost useless (unless
I missed the "Yahoo for the Millenium" seminar at my local high school?).
There are too many choices, and the choices are buried in layers of ...
layers. And the Yahoo screen, once it has returned a hit, takes a lot of
user intervention to get at the meat.
Keep your screen clean, your choices easy to understand, and don't lock
yourself jnto one type of access structure. If it makes sense to "mark" an
article in more than one "folder" do it -- for example, articles on a
particular network software should be accessible from a software folder AND
from a networking folder, and also accessible by author and by date. And it
should always be easy to get back to where the reader started. AND, don't
forget a good search engine and index.
Thanks, techwrlers, for letting me add my two cents.