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Structuring Topics without Structured Authoring

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Presentation to October 2015 WritersUA conference in Chicago, IL. How I reorganized help topics to improve usability for readers.

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Structuring Topics without Structured Authoring

  1. 1. Structuring Topics without Structured Authoring Michael McCallister WritersUA Central October 21, 2015
  2. 2. Ask questions any time!
  3. 3. Who am I? • Senior Document Architect, PKWARE • Books about openSUSE Linux and WordPress • Blog: Notes from the Metaverse (metaverse.wordpress com) • President, Society for Technical Communication, Wisconsin Chapter • National Writers Union, UAW Local 1981, At Large chapter
  4. 4. What We’re Covering ● DITA and PKWARE ● Organizing Help Topics in RoboHelp 10 ● Preparing Master Pages in RoboHelp
  5. 5. Ultimate Goal of Tech Comm ● Right content (and only right content) ● Right context ● Right format
  6. 6. Quick Survey: What is DITA?
  7. 7. What's a Topic? Neil Perlin Focused on one subject: ● Answers one question ● How do I...? ● What is...? As self-contained as possible ● All info needed to answer question ● Related info is separate ● Topics link to related topics
  8. 8. Project Settings in RoboHelp 10
  9. 9. Topic Properties in RoboHelp 10
  10. 10. Topic Properties Report
  11. 11. Topic Properties Report Options
  12. 12. Topic types leading to structure ● Concept: Big Picture ● Task: What the user does ● Reference: All the other stuff user needs to know
  13. 13. Another PKWARE Interlude
  14. 14. Master pages in RoboHelp ● Imported from FrameMaker ● Page Templates ● Added CSS
  15. 15. Master Pages in RoboHelp 2015 ● Whirl the Whirls Sample ● Master pages ● CSS Editor
  16. 16. Goals for Creating Topic Types ● Help users be more effective ● Better statistics for management ● Ease the transition to structured authoring
  17. 17. Connect with Me • PKWARE Help: help.pkware.com • Email: mike.mccallister@pkware.com • Web: michaelmccallister.com • Twitter: @workingwriter • LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/workingwriter Michael McCallister, Independent Writers of Chicago March 2015
  18. 18. Questions? Michael McCallister, Independent Writers of Chicago March 2015

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