Topic-Based Authoring
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Pär Ylander
Business Development Manager, Product Information
+46 (0)736 840 990
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Topic-Based Authoring.

All people looking for product information will take a different path. The answer to users’ different needs is to offer different types of navigation. In modern information management there must always be more than one way to find what you are really looking for.

The format should be based on the product’s users. But as all users have different needs, the format must be flexible.

Johan Elisson, Topic-based authoring specialist at Semcon

To achieve the required flexibility, we divide the information up into small searchable and independent units, called topics. These models mean that information can be linked in any direction so that the reader does not need to read it in any particular order. Volvo Cars is one of our customers who have chosen a topic-based solution in their system for owner information, which is available via the car’s display screen, the mobile app and online. In all cases the user only gets the information that is relevant right there and then. For example, the driver can view instructions for how to fill the motor oil when the oil light is lit.

Information is found by the user, not provided by the system.

Fredrik Larsson, Manager Digital Development at Semcon

The most common standard for topic-based writing is called DITA, but there are of course others. The standards not only help us to control the module’s structure, but also how they link to each other. The result is information that is both consistent and reusable. As a user, you get a safe experience where you can quickly find exactly the information you need, at the same time as you recognise the formulations and set-up. Reuse also means that we can cut translation costs and delivery times.

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