Structured writing for business documentation

The term structured writing was first used by Robert E. Horn, inventor of the Information Mapping Method. Structured writing is the process of creating and systematically organizing independent units of information so they are easily accessible, manageable and reusable. 

Structured writing

Benefits for writing with Information Mapping

For business purposes writing structured offers significant benefits over conventional writing. Studies show that it

  • simplifies the task of writing and makes writers more efficient
  • reduces errors and misunderstandings
  • supports learning and reduces need for retraining, and
  • facilitates migration of content for CMS applications.

Let's start with the basic techniques

For analyzing content, Information Mapping makes use of these 6 distinct information types:

  • Principle
  • Process
  • Procedure
  • Concept
  • Structure
  • Fact

Structured writing's basic unit of communication is the Information Block, which contains a single main idea. Different information types are generally presented in separate Blocks. There are specific strategies for visual presentation of each information type.

Information Blocks are organized into Information Maps. Each Map contains a limited number of relevant Information Blocks. Information Maps can be grouped together by relevance to form larger units such as chapters or sections.

Learn more

 See how much time you save with Information Mapping®

Download a free 30-day trial of FS Pro 2013, our structured writing software

Take a look at our structured writing training if you want to learn more.

 

Related pages: business documentation | content standard | document writing course | writing method | technical writing training | plain language | write better proposals

Before & After examples

See how Information Mapping can work for different types of documents:

Internal communication
 

Company policy

Business Process

Work instruction

Safety guidelines