Information Mapping (www.informationmapping.com) is a method for the analysis, organization, and presentation of information. Information Mapping is based on the needs of the users and their purpose in using the documentation. Many large organizations use Information Mapping.
Information Mapping has three parts: analysis, organization, presentation.
Analysis. In Information Mapping, there are six basic types of information. Examples of information types are:
- Procedure. A procedure tells a person how to do a task.
- Process. A process explains what occurs in a system.
- Concept. A concept specifies what something is.
An important principle of Information Mapping is that the different types of information are not mixed. For example, do not include a concept in a procedure. Instead, explain the concept before the reader does the procedure.
Organization is about how the information is shown. For example:
- Information is organized into 'manageable chunks'.
- Units of information are organized into larger groups. Each group has a clear label.
- Unnecessary information is not included.
- Words are used consistently.
Presentation is about the form in which information is shown. For example:
Information Mapping is a useful method for technical writing, but it is not the only method. Examples of other methods of writing are as follows:
- DocuTools is a method of structured writing from PTA (www.p-t-a.com).
- Darwin Information Typing Architecture (DITA) (www.oasis-open.org/committees/dita/faq.php) is an XML schema for structured writing. DITA uses the concepts of 'typed topics', which is similar to 'information types' in Information Mapping.
'The 7 +/-2 Limit' in Words, volume 3, issue 2 (http://www.abelard.com.au/words-3-2.pdf).