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Writing every page is page one topics


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Slides from my workshop on writing Every Page is Page One topics at ICC2013.

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Writing every page is page one topics

  1. 1. Writing Every Page is PageOne Topics Mark Baker Intelligent Content 2013
  2. 2. What is a topic?
  3. 3. A subject?Noun1.A matter dealt with in a text, discourse, or conversation; asubject.2.That part of a sentence about which something is said, typicallythe first major constituent.Synonymssubject - theme - matter –
  4. 4. A labelTopics are a great way to organize messages around a specificsubject.To view all messages with a certain topic, click “Topics” andclick on a topic. Alternatively, you can begin typing the tagsname into the search bar, and a drop-down menu will appear inwhich you can select the topic with the up, down, and enterkeys. On the Topics page, you can also view your networksmost popular topics.Yammer Tech Support
  5. 5. A unit of organization?A discussion forum is hierarchical or tree-like instructure: a forum can contain a number ofsubforums, each of which may have severaltopics. Within a forums topic, each newdiscussion started is called a thread, and can bereplied to by as many people as so wish.Wikipedia: “Internet forum”
  6. 6. An abstraction?A topic map represents information using• topics, representing any concept, from people, countries, and organizations to software modules, individual files, and events,Wikipedia: Topic Maps
  7. 7. Something topicalTrends are determined by an algorithm and aretailored for you based on who you follow andyour location. This algorithm identifies topicsthat are immediately popular, rather than topicsthat have been popular for a while or on a dailybasis, to help you discover the hottest emergingtopics of discussion on Twitter that matter mostto you.Twitter Help Center
  8. 8. An essay?Focusing a research topic is narrowing (orsometimes broadening) a topic so that youcan demonstrate a good understanding ofit, including enough examples and importantdetails, within the size limits of the project youare required to produce. You need to satisfyboth yourself and your teacher that you knowwhat you are talking about.CAMBRIDGE RINDGE AND LATIN SCHOOL: Focusing a Research Topic
  9. 9. A constrained essay?For example, the topic "KENYA" is a generalone. If your objective is to write anoverview, this topic is suitable. If your objectiveis to write a specific analysis, this topic is toogeneral. You must narrow it to something like"Politics in Kenya" or "Kenyas Culture.“Guide to Writing a Basic Essay
  10. 10. A unit?A topic is a unit of information witha title and some form ofcontent, short enough to be specificto a single subject or answer asingle question, but long enough tomake sense on its own and beauthored as a unit.OASIS DITA Version 1.1 Architectural Specification
  11. 11. It this a topic? The Capital of France The capital of France is Paris.
  12. 12. A building block Topics are written as standalone units of information. For use in a larger project, topics need a way to be added to a larger deliverable. DITA uses the map file to combine topics in a specific order for publishing to print (or PDF) output or to online (or Help) content. Publishing Smarter: DITA Primer
  13. 13. Component or whole? Would a “topic” on the economy of Kenya be  One topic?  Built out of many topics? Let’s see 
  14. 14. Information Mapping Document as a “map” Consists of “blocks” of different types Block=part Map=whole
  15. 15. IM vs. DITA IM DITA Part “Block” “Topic” Whole “Map” “Map” Design focus Map Topic IM points out that DITA focuses on topic design, but has no theory about design of maps.
  16. 16. Standalone = part? Does a brake caliper stand alone?
  17. 17. Standalone = whole? It can stand alone on the parts store shelf But it only functions usefully when attached to a car Image courtesy of gameanna /
  18. 18. Every Page is Page One Topic An Every Page is Page One Topic functions alone. It may or may not be made up of smaller information blocks. It may or may not combine “task”, “concept”, and “reference” information.
  19. 19. Why “Every Page is Page One?” On the Web, readers arrive at content  Via a Google search  Via a recommendation in a social network  Via a link from another page There is no continuity from where they were before. Every link leads to a new page one
  20. 20. But … Not every page works well as page one The page is in the middle of something It does not function alone An EPPO topic works well no matter where you come to it from
  21. 21. Why it matters“We seem to be making a culturalchoice---with our new infrastructuresthumb heavily on the scale---to preferto start with abundance rather thancuration. Include it all. Filter itafterward. Even then, the filters donot remove anything; they filterforward, not out.” David Weinberger: To Big to Know
  22. 22. Individual journey Readers make their individual journey through a Web of information Our content is one resource they may visit on that journey But wherever they enter our content, it should act as page one
  23. 23. How I got here
  24. 24. Shared vehicles; unique trips Many different vehicles Each functions independently I chose the sequence to create a unique journey The airplane design does not depend on my arriving by taxi The BART works the same if I take the stairs, not the escalator
  25. 25. No guided tour Readers are self directed We have always known most readers don’t take the guided tour  They skip and scan and look stuff up Now they can self direct across the entire web To serve them, provide EPPO topics
  26. 26. The book model Books provide the guided tour as primary means  Linear book Support self-guided as secondary means  Scanable subheads  Index
  27. 27. The EPPO model EPPO topics support self-guided as primary means  Every pages works as page one  Works with search, social curation  Works with external resources Can still provide a guided tour as a secondary means  Ordered topic collections  Can include external resources
  28. 28. EXAMPLES
  29. 29. Evaluating the examples Is the example an Every Page is Page One topic? What are the key characteristics of an Every Page is Page One topic?
  30. 30. Recipe Black Forest Ham and Gruyère Frittata
  31. 31. Car review Subaru Forrester 2003-2008 review
  32. 32. Documentation Creating Overrides
  33. 33. Technical article Create REST applications with the Slim micro- framework
  34. 34. Documentation Getting Started with VMware Workstation
  35. 35. Ornithology Blue-footed Booby
  36. 36. Documentation Post-Migration Tasks
  37. 37. Documentation Viewing Profile Information
  38. 38. Encyclopedia article Ottawa
  39. 39. Documentation Introduction
  40. 40. Documentation QVTOML/Exampl es/InvokeInJava
  41. 41. Technical Article Introducing MicroXML, Part 1: Explore the basic principles of MicroXML
  42. 42. Stack Overflow Python shelve OutOfMemory error
  43. 43. Documentation Exporting Image Versions
  44. 44. Technical Article Push, Pull, Next!
  45. 45. Magazine Article The 10 Best Wireless Routers
  46. 46. Self Contained No linear dependencies  Never assumes you have read X  May assume you know X May require different types of information “blocks” Narrative minim  Narrative necessary to understanding  Can be constructed at different lengths
  47. 47. Establish Context Reader may arrive from anywhere  Search and links may be imprecise  Allow the reader to get their bearings quickly Navigable context  If they are a little off, help them get where they should be
  48. 48. Specific Limited Purpose Must have a clear idea of the purpose it fulfills for the reader Purpose must be specific  Can’t be self contained or establish context if purpose not specific Purpose must be limited  One vehicle in a network the reader navigates for themselves  Do one thing; do it well
  49. 49. Stay on one level Books tend to change levels Topics support readers choosing their own path Readers decide when they want big picture or gritty detail  Readers change levels by changing topics Topics stay on one level
  50. 50. Conform to type Topics on a common subject tend to have a similar pattern  Recipes  Encyclopedia articles on cities  Car reviews  Ornithology  Product comparisons  Technical articles 1 2 3 4
  51. 51. Assume reader is qualified Books designed as sole source for diverse audience  Write for the least qualified reader  Often annoying for experienced reader Topics are one stop in reader’s self- directed journey  If reader is not qualified, they can choose other topics to get qualified
  52. 52. Link Richly Books are designed for linear reading  Links may be considered a distraction  Allow reader to deviate from writer’s planned course Topics are for self directed readers  Make context navigable  Enable reader to qualify themselves  Enable switching levels  Enable onward journey
  53. 53. Topics and Topic Sets Need many topics to cover a large subject area Create topic sets, not books  Support random entry  Establish type to ensure completeness and conformance to purpose  Support reader choice within your set  Make them work on the Web
  54. 54. Questions? Contact information  Mark Baker  Analecta Communications Inc.   Twitter: @mbakeranalecta  