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Balancing standardization against
the need for creativity
Flickr: Paxson Woelber
Alan Pringle
Scriptorium
August 3, 2016
@...
Type questions and
comments in the
Questions module of
GoToWebinar.
Questions? Comments?
Flickr: Veronique Debord
Attendee...
About me
Chief operating officer,
Scriptorium Publishing
Working with structured
content since 1988
Coauthor, Content Stra...
About me
@alanpringle
Stereotype of structured authoring
Flickr: Umberto Salvagnin
No creativity!
@alanpringle
Three case studies
Communicating layout specifications for
automated outputs
Considering the true costs of customized
stru...
Flickr: State Library and Archives of Florida
Communicating layout specifications for
automated output
@alanpringle
Communicating layout specifications for
automated output
@alanpringle
Communicating layout specifications for
automated output
<xsl:variable name="level-1-family">SansBold</xsl:variable>
<xsl:...
Communicating layout specifications for
automated output
Typical workflow for automated PDF output
@alanpringle
Communicating layout specifications for
automated output
Programmer develops stylesheet in
text/XML editor.
Code specifies...
Communicating layout specifications for
automated output
<xsl:variable name="level-1-family">SansBold</xsl:variable>
<xsl:...
Communicating layout specifications for
automated output
Any changes?
“Change the heading color to our new
corporate blue....
Communicating layout specifications for
automated output
Developed process that relies on... stylesheets!
Programmer added...
Communicating layout specifications for
automated output
Sample code comment for page size:
Physical page dimensions.
US L...
Communicating layout specifications for
automated output
Extract code comments and create Word
file:
@alanpringle
Communicating layout specifications for
automated output
Designer fills out settings and returns file.
Programmer gets spe...
Flexibility in layout as a
business requirement
Flickr: Creative-Tools.com
@alanpringle
Flexibility in layout as a
business requirement
Automated PDF formatting is not for all
information types.
Highly designed...
Flexibility in layout as a
business requirement
Transform source XML into InDesign-
compatible XML.
XML refers to styles i...
Flexibility in layout as a
business requirement
<ParagraphStyleRange AppliedParagraphStyle="ParagraphStyle/body">
<Charact...
Flexibility in layout as a
business requirement
Place XML file into InDesign template.
Styles and other formatting applied...
Flexibility in layout as a
business requirement
@alanpringle
Wikipedia: Guma89
Flexibility in layout as a
business requirement
Adjust line breaks, pagination, image
placement, and so on.
Reduced produc...
Considering the true costs of
customized structures
Flickr: Japanexperterna.se
@alanpringle
Considering the true costs of
customized structures
Standardization versus creativity is not
just about layout.
Create cus...
Considering the true costs of
customized structures
Implement XML for conditional content,
mobile delivery, and localizati...
Considering the true costs of
customized structures
Procedure layers:
63. This is the 63rd
step in a procedure.
a. This is...
Considering the true costs of
customized structures
Content model did not support sub-substeps
by default.
Content creator...
Considering the true costs of
customized structures
My reaction to a 100-step procedure with
three layers of steps:
a. Tim...
Considering the true costs of
customized structures
Information architects: reconsider the long
procedures and sub-substep...
Considering the true costs of
customized structures
Modify:

Develop and test modification

Implement in authoring tools...
Considering the true costs of
customized structures
Maintain:

Rethink procedures to eliminate sub-substeps.

Rewrite to...
Considering the true costs of
customized structures
Content creators:
Did not want to rewrite content.
Adding sub-substep ...
Considering the true costs of
customized structures
Information architects:
Rewriting: short-term effort, long-term
benefi...
Considering the true costs of
customized structures
@alanpringle
Considering the true costs of
customized structures
No agreement on approach.
Company planned to re-evaluate later.
Not ev...
Conclusions
Streamline communication with technology.
Evaluate costs and biases while considering
structural changes.
Get ...
Conclusions
Technical ≠ not creative
Need versus want
@alanpringle
Resources
PDF specifications (Word file)
tiny.cc/PDFsettings
Managing change (Content Strategy 101)
tiny.cc/manage-change
...
Resources
Case study summaries:
tiny.cc/balancing-case-studies
@alanpringle
Flickr: Veronique Debord
Questions?
Comments?
@alanpringle
Contact me
Alan Pringle
asp@scriptorium.com
scriptorium.com/blog
@alanpringle
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Webcast: Balancing standardization against the need for creativity

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Published on

Structured content lets you enforce standards and ensure consistency, but how do you accommodate the creative aspects of content creation and delivery in a structured workflow?

In short case studies, Alan Pringle shows you how companies balance the creative requirements against structural standards. Topics include: designers communicating layout specifications to programmers for automated publishing, flexibility in layout as a critical business need, and the true costs of highly customized layouts and structures.

Published in: Technology
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Webcast: Balancing standardization against the need for creativity

  1. 1. Balancing standardization against the need for creativity Flickr: Paxson Woelber Alan Pringle Scriptorium August 3, 2016 @alanpringle
  2. 2. Type questions and comments in the Questions module of GoToWebinar. Questions? Comments? Flickr: Veronique Debord Attendees are muted during webcast. Webcast is being recorded, but your name won't be shown. @alanpringle
  3. 3. About me Chief operating officer, Scriptorium Publishing Working with structured content since 1988 Coauthor, Content Strategy 101 and Technical Writing 101 @alanpringle
  4. 4. About me @alanpringle
  5. 5. Stereotype of structured authoring Flickr: Umberto Salvagnin No creativity! @alanpringle
  6. 6. Three case studies Communicating layout specifications for automated outputs Considering the true costs of customized structures Flexibility in layout as a business requirement @alanpringle
  7. 7. Flickr: State Library and Archives of Florida Communicating layout specifications for automated output @alanpringle
  8. 8. Communicating layout specifications for automated output @alanpringle
  9. 9. Communicating layout specifications for automated output <xsl:variable name="level-1-family">SansBold</xsl:variable> <xsl:variable name="level-1-size">14pt</xsl:variable> <xsl:variable name="level-1-line-height">15pt</xsl:variable> <xsl:variable name="level-1-weight">normal</xsl:variable> <xsl:variable name="level-1-style">normal</xsl:variable> <xsl:variable name="level-1-indent">0pt</xsl:variable> <xsl:variable name="level-1-color">#000000</xsl:variable> <xsl:variable name="level-1-space-before">42pt</xsl:variable> <xsl:variable name="level-1-space-after">4pt</xsl:variable> Settings for heading 1 paragraphs: @alanpringle
  10. 10. Communicating layout specifications for automated output Typical workflow for automated PDF output @alanpringle
  11. 11. Communicating layout specifications for automated output Programmer develops stylesheet in text/XML editor. Code specifies page size, font use, and so on. @alanpringle
  12. 12. Communicating layout specifications for automated output <xsl:variable name="level-1-family">SansBold</xsl:variable> <xsl:variable name="level-1-size">14pt</xsl:variable> <xsl:variable name="level-1-line-height">15pt</xsl:variable> <xsl:variable name="level-1-weight">normal</xsl:variable> <xsl:variable name="level-1-style">normal</xsl:variable> <xsl:variable name="level-1-indent">0pt</xsl:variable> <xsl:variable name="level-1-color">#000000</xsl:variable> <xsl:variable name="level-1-space-before">42pt</xsl:variable> <xsl:variable name="level-1-space-after">4pt</xsl:variable> @alanpringle
  13. 13. Communicating layout specifications for automated output Any changes? “Change the heading color to our new corporate blue.” “Make the chapter heading a little bigger.” Programmer gets specifications from template. @alanpringle
  14. 14. Communicating layout specifications for automated output Developed process that relies on... stylesheets! Programmer added detailed code comments. Programmatic formatting requires specific numbers. How do you collect them? @alanpringle
  15. 15. Communicating layout specifications for automated output Sample code comment for page size: Physical page dimensions. US Letter is 8.5 in x 11 in; A4 is 8.3 in × 11.7 in. Dimensions that accommodate both paper sizes are 8.3 in x 11.0 in. @alanpringle
  16. 16. Communicating layout specifications for automated output Extract code comments and create Word file: @alanpringle
  17. 17. Communicating layout specifications for automated output Designer fills out settings and returns file. Programmer gets specific measurements. Code comments serve as reference for later maintenance. @alanpringle
  18. 18. Flexibility in layout as a business requirement Flickr: Creative-Tools.com @alanpringle
  19. 19. Flexibility in layout as a business requirement Automated PDF formatting is not for all information types. Highly designed study guides required greater flexibility in layout. How do you preserve high-quality layouts for print? @alanpringle
  20. 20. Flexibility in layout as a business requirement Transform source XML into InDesign- compatible XML. XML refers to styles in the InDesign template. @alanpringle
  21. 21. Flexibility in layout as a business requirement <ParagraphStyleRange AppliedParagraphStyle="ParagraphStyle/body"> <CharacterStyleRange AppliedCharacterStyle="CharacterStyle/ $ID/[No character style]"> <Content>When developing a test bed, it is important to ensure that you cover </Content> </CharacterStyleRange> <CharacterStyleRange AppliedCharacterStyle="CharacterStyle/bold"> <Content>all </Content> </CharacterStyleRange> <CharacterStyleRange AppliedCharacterStyle="CharacterStyle/ $ID/[No character style]"> <Content>basic cases for your requirements.</Content> </CharacterStyleRange> ... </ParagraphStyleRange> InDesign Markup Language (IDML) sample: @alanpringle
  22. 22. Flexibility in layout as a business requirement Place XML file into InDesign template. Styles and other formatting applied automatically: @alanpringle
  23. 23. Flexibility in layout as a business requirement @alanpringle Wikipedia: Guma89
  24. 24. Flexibility in layout as a business requirement Adjust line breaks, pagination, image placement, and so on. Reduced production time significantly. Get benefits of structured content (reuse, in particular). @alanpringle
  25. 25. Considering the true costs of customized structures Flickr: Japanexperterna.se @alanpringle
  26. 26. Considering the true costs of customized structures Standardization versus creativity is not just about layout. Create custom structure? Adopt standard? When should you change a standard's default structures? @alanpringle
  27. 27. Considering the true costs of customized structures Implement XML for conditional content, mobile delivery, and localization. Installation guides: procedures with more than 100 steps. Steps could contain substeps and sub-substeps. @alanpringle
  28. 28. Considering the true costs of customized structures Procedure layers: 63. This is the 63rd step in a procedure. a. This is a substep. i. This is a sub-substep. @alanpringle
  29. 29. Considering the true costs of customized structures Content model did not support sub-substeps by default. Content creators requested addition of sub-substep element. @alanpringle
  30. 30. Considering the true costs of customized structures My reaction to a 100-step procedure with three layers of steps: a. Time to re-evaluate b. Excellent tech comm c. Absolutely not d. CENSORED @alanpringle
  31. 31. Considering the true costs of customized structures Information architects: reconsider the long procedures and sub-substeps. Level of effort: modifying versus maintaining default structure. @alanpringle Please.
  32. 32. Considering the true costs of customized structures Modify:  Develop and test modification  Implement in authoring tools, CCMS, and stylesheets  Distribute to localization vendors  Train writers on custom structure @alanpringle
  33. 33. Considering the true costs of customized structures Maintain:  Rethink procedures to eliminate sub-substeps.  Rewrite to break up lengthy procedures. @alanpringle
  34. 34. Considering the true costs of customized structures Content creators: Did not want to rewrite content. Adding sub-substep path of least resistance. Rewriting = admitting that process is bad. @alanpringle
  35. 35. Considering the true costs of customized structures Information architects: Rewriting: short-term effort, long-term benefits. Rewrote some content to show increased reuse. What about reading on phones and tablets? @alanpringle
  36. 36. Considering the true costs of customized structures @alanpringle
  37. 37. Considering the true costs of customized structures No agreement on approach. Company planned to re-evaluate later. Not every consulting engagement has a happy ending. @alanpringle
  38. 38. Conclusions Streamline communication with technology. Evaluate costs and biases while considering structural changes. Get benefits of structure and flexible formatting. @alanpringle
  39. 39. Conclusions Technical ≠ not creative Need versus want @alanpringle
  40. 40. Resources PDF specifications (Word file) tiny.cc/PDFsettings Managing change (Content Strategy 101) tiny.cc/manage-change InDesign XML InDesign & DITA post: tiny.cc/indesign-dita IDML specifications (PDF): tiny.cc/idml @alanpringle
  41. 41. Resources Case study summaries: tiny.cc/balancing-case-studies @alanpringle
  42. 42. Flickr: Veronique Debord Questions? Comments? @alanpringle
  43. 43. Contact me Alan Pringle asp@scriptorium.com scriptorium.com/blog @alanpringle

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