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In an article dated April 2008, Bob Doyle provides a quasi-exhaustive recap about
the different methods of document design.
Information Mapping (R) was developed in mid-60’s by Robert Horn who identified 7 common »Information types » of a structured document:
- classification, concept, principle, procedure, process, structure, and fact.
Information Mapping is considered the birth of Structured Writing as Mike West explains in « Structured writing, structured documentation ».
Information Mapping is a set of tools:
« Structured documentation is a way of planning and implementing the various phases of a writing project; and we may think of structured writing as a set of tools and techniques to be used by writers during the writing phase of a project »
If Information Mapping is the toolbox, what is minimalism?
Information Mapping(R) was designed to help engineers document their programming work (reports, descriptions, etc.). Let’s say it’s a writing guidance for non technical writers. Its structure is pretty rigid and not really designed for task-oriented activities; it is more a classification of information.
Minimalism was developed in the late ’80s by John M. Carroll, member of an IBM team:
« It was task orientation carried to an extreme. Minimalism meant small non-linear chunks readable in any
order. It emphasized reading To Do, not reading To Know or To Learn, a phrase first introduced by Ginny Redish »