Every page is page one
› Every page is a potential entry point
› Sometimes hierarchy and sequence are relevant
› Often hierarchy and sequence are not relevant
› Multiplicity of navigation options is required
Information foraging behavior
› Information scent: Users estimate a given hunt’s likely
success from … assessing whether their path
exhibits cues related to the desired outcome.
› Informavores will keep clicking as long as they sense that
they're “getting warmer”—the scent must keep getting
stronger and stronger, or people give up.
› Progress must seem rapid enough to be worth the
predicted effort required to reach the destination.
› As users drill down the site, … provide feedback about
the current location and how it relates to users' tasks.
Documentation use cases
1. A new user may want to browse a complete high level
2. A developing user may want an intermediate-sized chunk
that has subject/sequence affinity.
3. An experienced user may want a small chunk with a
particular item of information.
4. A support technician may need to provide a chunk scoped
at an intermediate level to a customer so they are not
overloaded with too much information, but also not given
Cross-disciplinary thinking to the rescue
› We need a recursive document!
› A document is:
1. A title
2. A globally unique key (document name + sub document ID)
3. A locally unique key (sub document ID)
4. A list of tags
5. A (recursive) list of documents
› DITA is recursive but none of the existing presentation
mechanisms are recursive.
› JSON is a natural way to represent a recursive document.
› XSLT is a natural way to generate such a JSON document.
DITA to JSON 4: Sub-document
Title Topic title
ID Topic filename
Unique key Top-level document filename +
Ancestors List of ancestor topics at all
Summary* Topic shortdesc
Body Topic body
HREF Topic path + topic filename
Documents* List of sub-documents
Document Loading Process
Flatten each node Create Unique ID Establish ancestry
image and cross
Create a standalone
document of each
Load to DB
Load to search
› All image paths need to be converted to absolute paths. Having all of them in a
flat folder called “images” is one easy way to accomplish this.
› Cross References
› Cross reference links within the JSON are all relative. Like images, they need to
be converted to absolute links.
› JSON Tag Recursion
› It is tedious to add tags to all levels of the JSON Document, so most tags are
programmatically pulled through to all sub documents. Tags can be overridden
in children if desired.
› Permissions – can be set in source
› Anchors not supported
› We currently have a single page app making anchors difficult, but somewhat
irrelevant since each level is available as an independent link.
› More publishing automation
› Publishing is currently a 2 step process. JSON Publication followed by document loading.
It would be better to provide a 1 step process controlled by the document publisher.
› Holistic approach
› Search cultivation
› Search analytics
› Case Deflection Analysis driving documentation.
› Tag-based navigation
Ben is less dissatisfied
• Apparently dynamic presentation
• Satisfactory context-sensitive help targets
• CMS/search loading
Problems not solved
• Static transformations
• Content removal
• Custom software
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Feature and task
Text, image, video
Text, image, video
Were publishing in PDF—bad for findability.
Then publishing also in WebHelp—silos per document.
Difficult to use web CMS (e.g. Drupal) as publishing endpoint—import/update complicated.
High page count
Deep nesting and poor scoping of pages
Mismatch between page (8.5x11) and topic (standalone piece of information, variable length)
Alignment between page and topic
Small pieces without clear scope of relationships--only in TOC with the same deep nesting
From Mark Baker
From Nielsen Norman Group
information foraging uses the analogy of wild animals gathering food to analyze how humans collect information online.
Information foraging's most famous concept is information scent: users estimate a given hunt's likely success from the spoor: assessing whether their path exhibits cues related to the desired outcome. Informavores will keep clicking as long as they sense (to mix metaphors) that they're "getting warmer" -- the scent must keep getting stronger and stronger, or people give up. Progress must seem rapid enough to be worth the predicted effort required to reach the destination.
Secondly, as users drill down the site, each page should clearly indicate that they're still on the path to the food. In other words, provide feedback about the current location and how it relates to users' tasks.
Would like to be able to present a page at any of these levels. With the standard tools, only document (monolithic) and topic (fragmented) levels are possible.
Want to keep the granular authoring and management
Manual chunking (using @chunk) is of limited value
Chunking is static
It’s possible to envision how to have multiple chunk outputs but not how to handle them.
Over to Owen.
Is using XSLT too hard? No, the OT already uses it for all output types. Under 300 lines to read HTML2 output and create a single JSON file.
New XSLT for each doc type? No, processing is generic.
Publish JSON, PDF, ePUB
Analyze into 8 pages
Process all possible chunk combinations
A single JSON document is loaded into a DB and a Search Index.
The recursive list of subdocuments is flattened
A single monolithic document is created for each sub-document.
Each recursive node contains ancestry information to create breadcrumbs
Table of Contents
The table of contents is created only for the top level document, not scoped for each subdocument.
Because siblings are shown in scope, a TOC becomes less relevant.
On mobile devices, we can look at TOC or content, saving space.
Links and Images
The JSON document is published with relative links.
The loading process converts these into absolute link.
Your automated loader is your infinite number of monkeys.
CSH: Target linked to isn’t just what is obvious but provides more context
Content removal: inconsistency between search results and available docs