Think topic not book

Imagine that you've just bought a new cell phone. You open the box and see a stack of index cards in the box with the phone. Each card tells you how to do one task with the phone: set the time and date, choose the ring tone, put a number into memory, and so on.

How would you feel about getting this information on index cards? What would you do with the cards?

You might never open the plastic wrap around the stack of cards because then it would be hard to keep them together. You'd probably worry about losing them or about how messy they would be in your office, your kitchen, or your briefcase.

Books make sense in the world of paper. If each topic were on a separate card, the cards would get lost. On the web, a separate page for each topic makes more sense than a book of many topics.

In the world of paper, a book is more comfortable than a stack of index cards. You know what to do with the book: you put it on an office shelf or in a kitchen drawer or in your briefcase. In the paper world, you need the book so all the pieces don't get lost.

But when would you ever go to the book? Wouldn't it most likely be to look up just one of the topics in the book? How much of the book would you want to look at? Wouldn't it be just one topic?

Online, we don't need the book. A better model for content on the web is a database with a good search engine and good navigation.

If people come to your site to get information on specific topics, give them those specific topics as separate web pages - not all together in a book or long document.

Figure 5-2 shows how Nokia has broken a user manual into a series of "index cards" on different tasks. Note how Nokia has also taken advantage of the interactivity possible on the web. Each task is not only a separate topic on a separate web page, it is also an animated

Each task is presented i^ksJ on its own page.

You can read it quickly or click the links and watch it happen.

Figure 5-2 Nokia makes good use of the web with interactive "index cards" for each task.

www.nokiausa.com/support/phones

Each task is presented i^ksJ on its own page.

You can read it quickly or click the links and watch it happen.

Each link is a step in < J an interactive demo that the user controls.

Figure 5-2 Nokia makes good use of the web with interactive "index cards" for each task.

www.nokiausa.com/support/phones

demonstration. You can grab the information quickly by reading, or you can watch what to do by clicking each step in turn.

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