What do you know about the Information Mapping® Methodology?


The Information Mapping® Methodology has been used for many years now. Is your knowledge still up-to-date? Here are some fun facts about the methodology that are worth knowing!

Did you know...

Wide application

...that the Information Mapping® Methodology has been in use in industry since 1972, and is used extensively in hundreds of training, procedural and reference manuals, both on paper and online.

In fact, we say with assurance that the method can be used for virtually any business writing task and any type of document.


Chunking limit online

... that the chunking limit for on-screen information is five plus/minus one, because information on screen is 28% less readable than on paper.


Importance of Chunking

...that readers can best retain no more than five to nine pieces of information in short-term memory. Therefore they comprehend material that has been "chunked" more quickly and more completely. 

That is why Chunking is so crucial in applying the Information Mapping® method. The Chunking principle should be applied at every level of a written document or application.


Importance of Labels

...that research indicates that people understand and access information more quickly when they have a preview of what is coming up. A label provides a brief preview of each unit of information. It is an advance organizer for the reader.

 That is one of the reasons why the Information Mapping® Methodology uses the Labeling principle.


Importance of Consistency

...that traditional rhetoric encourages writers to use variety to entertain readers. 

In technical and business writing, the value lies in the reader's ability to use the document to get the job done. Therefore, variety is often distracting and time-consuming, rather than entertaining. 

That is why the Consistency Principle is so important in Information Mapping®.


Importance of Graphics

...that research indicates that approximately 50% of the adult population learns better from pictures and other graphics than from words. If graphics, such as diagrams, pictures, and tables are an integral part of the text, readers do not have to flip-flop through a document to find what they need.

 This research has resulted in the Integrated Graphics Principle.


Limits of Paragraphs

...that the paragraph, in traditional rhetoric, is too ill defined to provide a precise, useful way to organize and transmit complex, technical information. Since the basic units of writing create the structure of a document, the paragraph imposes imprecise and sometimes ineffective organization and presentation on many business communications.

The Information Mapping® Methodology replaces the paragraph with strictly defined units of information: Information Blocks.


Stem sentences online

...that in case of online information it is recommended to mention the number of steps in the stem sentence. This way the reader knows that he/she has to scroll.


Advance organizers

...that comprehension is easier if readers are prepared in advance for the kinds of materials they read.

 Such introductory material is sometimes placed in an introduction block for a single map. The overview map can also be an entirely separate map at the beginning of short groups of maps. In either case, it serves as an advance organizer.


Order of Information Types

...that if the reader absorbs the general information first ('high level'; e.g. process information), he is more able to execute, understand and remember more detailed information ('low level'; e.g. procedures).


Collaborative writing

...that more than 70% of all technical and business writers are involved in collaborative writing at some time in their careers. This means writing in group on the same project.

 The Information Mapping® Methodology in the top-down writing approach can be very useful in team writing situations.


>> Learn more about the Information Mapping® Methodology

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