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Advantages of Writing in Topics for Writing Teams

Creating technical information in topics not only helps your users find and use your information more easily, but topic-based information also has significant benefits for writers, information architects, and editors.

Writers Can Work More Productively

In your organization, several writers might work on content for related features or functional areas. To be more productive, each writer can contribute specific topics that support those related features or functions.

For example, for a complex installation guide for an enterprise database system, each writer can own some of the installation information. One writer might own information about setting up security, and another writer might own information about planning for the installation.

When you write in topics, it's easier and more productive for multiple writers to contribute to the larger set of information.

Writers Can Share Content with Other Writers

The larger a file is, the more difficult it is for you and other writers to work on content in the same file. Imagine a file that is 50 pages. Every time you work on that file, 50 pages of content are locked and unavailable for other writers to work on.

With topics, you can work on smaller units of content at any time because each topic is one file, which allows more writers to have access to larger portions of information.

Writers Can Reuse Topics

Organizations save time and resources by reusing content. You can reuse topics for multiple products, for different audiences, and for multiple information sets and output formats.

For example, you might include the same topic in both a book and a help system or share topics among product libraries. If the shared topic has content that isn't appropriate or required for every product, you can use conditional processing attributes to remove content that's not applicable rather than write and maintain two topics with nearly identical content.

Writers Can More Quickly Organize or Reorganize Content

Information designed with a narrative flow or book structure doesn't enable you to quickly rearrange information. For example, if you create separate task topics for assembling a motorcycle engine, you can easily change the order of those task topics if the motorcycle engine's design changes.

Reviewers Can Review Small Groups of Topics Instead of Long Books

Instead of asking editors, information architects, or technical experts to review long books, you can submit small sets of topics or even single topics to reviewers throughout the development cycle of the product. You're more likely to get better feedback if the reviewer can read through a handful of shorter topics than have to comb through a 100-page chapter.

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