Is your content task-oriented and minimalist?

Do you follow these documentation best practices?

Task-orientaton, like user-centered design (UCD) in general, is largely an intangible when planning a new publishing system.

Minimalism appears to promise reduced costs for the simple reason that there is so much less content in well-prepared minimalist material. But it takes talented people to write succinct, action-oriented procedures that get users to understand quickly what they need to know and successfully do it. And minimalist material is best when it is tested for effectiveness, adding to costs.

Minimalism aims to provide just what the impatient user is looking for. Remember, the web surfer is always just one click away from going to your competition's website. Your job is to strip away unnecessary content and get to the point. You can measure the return by pre-testing and post-testing content that has been re-architected along minimalist principles.

You can benchmark savings by tracking costs before and after adoption of a DITA solution. For example, number of calls per month to the help desk on a product will almost certainly change when product documentation is task oriented and minimalist. And task-oriented content can feed directly into help-desk scripts.

Up to Making the Business Case for DITA Focus Areas: BPEL | DITA | ebXML | IDtrust | OpenDocument | SAML | UBL | UDDI
OASIS sites: OASIS | Cover Pages | | AMQP | CGM Open | eGov | Emergency | IDtrust | LegalXML | Open CSA | OSLC | WS-I