Advanced Technical Writing2006: Advanced Technical Writing 2006 Session #9 Today In Class: Today In Class What is an Information Model?
Our 'two views' movie review exercise, revisited
Analyzing Genres andamp; Tasks (the user perspective)
Exercise: Just the FAQ’s, ma’am
Today’s focus…: Today’s focus… Genre and features A Focus on Sees the site as Emphasizes the point of view of Structure andamp; Delivery Production Models andamp; Workflows a text; or a collection of texts the reader/user objects andamp; actions; social space a workplace the designers andamp; developers the admins and 'authors' Slide4: What is an information model, according to Rockely?
How would Prior andamp; Bazerman characterized the work involved in making an ad-hoc or improvised information model explicit? Rockley, Prior andamp; Bazerman Slide5: Create an information model (you can use some variant of DTD syntax) for 'Family Film Reviews' that would allow you to transform an XML-formatted review like the one you have into two distinct 'views:':
One for parents
One for kids
Then…sketch the views, labeling the objects that would make them up. Post them for session 7 (not next time). You can consider this a dry-run for your next major project. You can go whole hog if you want…and do DTDandgt;XMLandgt;XSLTandgt;XHTML…or go lo-tech. The last XML-ercise… What is a genre?: 'Genre as Community Invention' by Graham Smart What is a genre? '…a distinctive profile of regularities across texts, composing processes, and reading practices…'
important connections with other texts
the shared expectations of readers
the common practices of writers
What is a Web Genre?: What is a Web Genre? Usability.gov Site on Collecting, Writing, and Revising Content http://usability.gov/methods/collecting_writing.html Consider the following advice: 'Break the text into manageable pieces
Put in many headings
Write useful headings' Why is this good advice for web-based writing? What is a Genre Analysis?: What is a Genre Analysis? A process of identifying the comparative and contrastive features of a given information resource. Viewing the site as a text(s), emphasizing the reader/user point of view. Genre Analysis Categories: Genre Analysis Categories Authors
Use of Visuals
Range of Variation w/in Genres
Add the five W’s to these and you have a good start on the analysis process:
When …and How!
Why Genres : recurrent situations, not necessarily reuse: Genres : recurrent situations, not necessarily reuse Why is the FAQ list so popular?
Or we might ask, more broadly…
What makes for good writing on the web? Basic principles of web writing: #1 Task-Oriented: Basic principles of web writing: #1 Task-Oriented Effective web writing is task-oriented.
While it is not entirely true that people don’t read on the web, it is true that reading IS NOT usually their end goal.
Good web writing aims to support readers’ true goals and tasks. Basic principles of web writing: #1 Task-Oriented: Basic principles of web writing: #1 Task-Oriented Task-Oriented, cont.
Readers tasks may vary widely from focused to open-ended; from 'What is the filing deadline for my return, ' to 'I wonder if it is worth it to go ahead and my craft hobby a small business?' Basic principles of web writing: #2 User-Centered: Basic principles of web writing: #2 User-Centered Effective web writing is User-Centered
All good writing is tailored for its intended audience, but on the web, that 'audience' is an active user, not just a passive reader.
Basic principles of web writing: #2 User-Centered: Basic principles of web writing: #2 User-Centered User-Centered, cont.
Good web writing focuses on readers’ specific needs, eliminating everything that doesn’t address those needs well.
The best web writing gets tested for its effectiveness in adressing user needs…with real live users!
Just the FAQ’s Ma’am: Good Web Habits: Just the FAQ’s Ma’am: Good Web Habits
FAQ’s have become popular ways to
Target content to reader’s needs
Guide reader’s to the specific info they need
Chunk information for easy scanning and linking FAQ Features FAQ’s are well suited for the web because…: FAQ’s are well suited for the web because… ODT Categories
They are easy to scan. Readers can quickly skip over what they don’t want to read. Note: redundancy is ok!
They are likely to address the readers’ concerns because they put the writer in the reader’s shoes. This works best if they are real Frequently Asked Questions.
They are nicely broken up into visual chunks with a label – the question – to make everything identifiable
They are short; long answers usually mean that more than one question has been addressed…best to break it into two or more! From Facts to FAQs, 1: From Facts to FAQs, 1 How to Turn an Info Release into a FAQ List From Facts to FAQs: From Facts to FAQs Turn an Info Release into a FAQ List, part 2 How Did the Buckeyes Do it?: How Did the Buckeyes Do it? Now go to the FAQ page…assuming the role of your target audience members. Can you find the information from the Information Release on Rounding in the FAQ?
In how many different categories does it reside?
Try this:: Try this: 1. Pick any news release issued by MSU lately…
2. Turn it into a FAQ list
3. Propose a format for future press releases that would allow for easy re-purposing into a FAQ list
Refer to the genre analysis categories.
They’ll be a good guide. Next Time…: Next Time… Analyzing Objects and Views
Peforming a Content Audit
Read Wysocki, Ch. 6 in Bandamp;P; Price (pdf); Johnsen (pdf)