Consulting

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Consulting

Learning to understand means being able to comprehend.

You need to generate documentation cost-effectively and make it available quickly, with content designed for the latest technology. How we do this:

  • Check existing content
  • Apply options for standardisation
  • Optimise processes
  • Use CMS or DTP software efficiently

 

Experienced specialists and established methods guarantee you the best possible consulting. At Dokuwerk, editorial and translation projects go hand in hand. Benefit from our experience with the associated requirements for systems and processes.

Document analysis

Precisely identify weaknesses

We examine your documents for classifiable weaknesses, such as:

  • Comprehensibility
  • Consistency of wording
  • Text–image correlation
  • Target-group orientation

The problem typology provides the methodological framework for this. This method, developed by Prof. Schäflein-Armbruster (Furtwangen University), includes an extensive catalogue of typical weaknesses in technical documentation. All aspects are listed and precisely labelled in a systematic way. The result forms the basis for optimisation.

 

Particular attention is paid to conformity with standards and legal requirements for the document. You can find out more in the Standards and guidelines section.

 

If the documentation is extensive, sample extracts are often sufficient to gain a picture of weaknesses and areas for improvement. Thus, our analysis does not need to be complex, but provides you with a good insight into the state of your documentation. You receive the result with explanatory comments and specific suggestions for improvement.

Functional design

Functional Design – quality requires standards

Functional Design is an established method for technical documentation, developed by Robert Schäflein-Armbruster and Jürgen Muthig. Functional Design provides a procedure to ensure the consistency and economic standardisation of documentation. A central principle of the method is to compose documents from Functional Units and to define these clearly using standard description patterns.

 

Specific application – to meet your requirements

We use Functional Design consistently in our editorial projects. We develop a functional design for you, tailored to your document types, target audiences, and the systems or tools available at your company. The prepared functional design is documented in a style guide.

 

Dokuwerk’s own style guide can serve as a basis here. The style guide incorporates tekom guidelines and can also be tailored to your requirements.

Style guide

The reference work for your content management work

At the centre of a style guide are rules for text standardisation based on the functional design method. The style guide is a key tool for introducing efficient working methods and reducing costs. Why? Because in addition to listing general writing rules, it also sets specific requirements for the creation of your documents. A comprehensive style guide describes work processes in the content management department and thus offers the following benefits:

 

  • Specifications and processes are explained and shown with examples.
  • Editors are introduced to structured ways of working.
  • New employees receive support during the training phase.
  • The editorial department’s quality benchmarks are made transparent.

Using the style guide in a content management system

If a content management system is used, the style guide also describes the system configuration:

  • the composition and structure of data storage
  • use of the editor
  • the structure of the relevant data model and its correct use based on the functional design

The use of metadata is growing in importance

Metadata and taxonomies (“inheritable metadata”) enable the filtering of content during production or support search mechanisms in a content delivery portal. We will be happy to develop an appropriate concept for your metadata and describe its most important features in the style guide.

 

We recommend creating graphic design guidelines as a sensible or even necessary supplement to the style guide.

 

Graphic design guidelines

Standardised graphic production

Generally, when a content management system is introduced, standards are developed for text content. Text production is supported with authoring systems and style guides. The graphic design guideline is the counterpart to this for images. It provides support with image production, results in a standardised appearance and supports the reuse of graphics. The graphic design guideline is often a component of the style guide.

 

Typically, the graphic design guideline contains the following specifications, among others:

  • Graphic format
  • Resolution (relative and absolute)
  • Colour space
  • Line widths
  • Size of the white space around the picture object
  • Scale
  • Views (front, side, spatial)
  • Tool for graphics processing
  • Naming conventions
  • Compression method
  • Creation process

 

As well as these formal definitions, a graphic design guideline also contains functional requirements as specified in the functional design:

  • Intended use of the graphic: inventory, instruction, result
  • Use of magnifying glasses
  • Handling of symbols and pictograms
  • Use of arrows and other stylistic devices

 

With our expertise in graphic design, we help you develop a graphic design guideline that meets your needs.

Standards + guidelines

Conformity that never fails

When bringing their products to market, manufacturers need to observe a host of national and international guidelines and standards. These are also relevant for technical documentation.

 

Minimise liability risks by checking documents

No matter how careful the design, residual risks still frequently arise when handling a product. Operating manuals, instructions for use, installation instructions and the like must name such potential risks clearly and understandably and describe measures for avoiding danger. The aim is to exclude a risk of liability as far as possible.

 

We check your documentation:

  • Which requirements are relevant?
  • Which product-specific guidelines and standards are taken into account?
  • Which residual risks were determined according to the risk assessment?
  • How are the risks highlighted, treated and portrayed in the instructions?

You receive sound feedback with specific suggestions for improvement. This check is normally accompanied by a thorough analysis of the documentation.

Modularisation

With the increasing prevalence of documentation on smartphones and tablets, the requirements for modularisation of content need to be extended. Until now, modularisation was primarily understood to mean separating the content into reusable units. If these “modules” are created in a topic-oriented manner, the content forms meaningful self-contained units.

Our “smart” concept

We have developed a modularisation concept that takes account of these requirements for sensible granularity of the content and the options that a content management system provides, e.g. in the form of fragments, content filtered by taxonomies, etc.

If instructions are to be displayed adequately on small screens, such as smartphones, the requirements need to be even more precise:

  • Longer action sequences must be separated into individual steps.
  • The popular method of summarising data in extensive tables needs to be checked for feasibility and alternatives considered.
  • Graphics must be created in scalable form.
  • A navigation concept must link fragmented content so that users are not disoriented even on a smaller screen.

For more information on modularisation concepts, simply give us a call. We look forward to hearing from you!