Webifying Large Documents, Part 7, The End!
The conclusion of our continuing series on how to webify large documents without going insane. Part 6, Providing Guideposts
Step 6: Determine and Implement the Process Flow
You’ve now decided on the context for the material, broken it down to smaller chunks, created guideposts, and decided if your users can jump around or need to proceed linearly through the material. From here it is important to describe how a user gets from one section to the next. Some questions that you might ask yourself are:
– Does the content proceed in a linear flow automatically?
– Is some user intervention required in order to move from step to step?
– If some user intervention is required, then what kind; buttons, sliders, arrows, or something else?
– As noted above, are users allowed to jump around in the material?
If you don’t have answers to these questions, then work collaboratively with your designers, programmers, and (if possible) authors to figure it out. All of these types of questions need to be answered in order for the material to be easily (and quickly) designed and programmed. The original intention of the piece and the content map will give clues as to how the material is best presented.
Once you have all of these questions answered, you are ready to hand the material off to your design and/or programming team. This information will provide them with the framework and structure they need to produce great experience for your users.
Finally, even if you have already consulted with the author, have them available to advise your design and programming teams during production. Understanding the author’s intent directly from the author is invaluable to these teams and will result in a better outcome; an easier design and production process (and, thus, less craziness for you) and a better experience for you users.
By taking these steps you will go a long way to minimizing the time and trouble that it takes to get these kinds of documents/processes on the web, and end up offering a much better web experience.
Presuming that the writer isn’t web-savvy, the best and fastest way for the entire process to proceed is to have the design team involved in the authoring process as early as possible. This way they can guide the writer so that he or she produces copy that is more easily “webified,” and you’ll provide your users with a great experience.
Where this isn’t possible, these steps will guide you through making this challenging task as easy as possible.
For the sake of clarity and making this document easily digestible in a blog format, I have split it into several parts. However, you can download the entire doc here: