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What is Structured Writing?

Structured writing – a form of technical writing that is used in the sphere of creation of structured documents. It is one of the central parts of the method of analyzing, organizing, and displaying data and knowledge in an online presentation of text and graphics.

Structured writing had been developed with certain purposes of solving problems of complex writing.

The main problems structured writing addresses to:

  • Maintaining an orderly structure to provide a consistent experience to users;
  • Ensuring the completeness of documentation;
  • Targeting particular content to a particular audience;
  • Organizing pages of different content in a way that will help users to understand its place in the entire language system;

Structured writing is based on the information blocks which are the structural components of documentation types. These blocks are assembled into 7 information types:

  • Concept;
  • Procedure;
  • Process;
  • Principle;
  • Fact;
  • Structure;
  • Classification;

Process of a structured writing obeys particular rules, called constraints which define the content from many different sides.

Examples of the constraints:

  • A second level heading can only be used after a first level heading;
  • Every sentence must start with a capital letter;
  • A list consists of at least one item;
  • A formula must consist of at least two variables;

Structured writing may be considered so only if it obeys at least one constraint (typically 3 and more).

In structural writing one of the most important means of creating content is a parallel structural writing which uses the same patterns of words in order to show that several ideas have the same level of importance.

One more important tool is authoring language which is used for creation of tutorials, training courses, CD-ROMs, websites and other computer programs. Usage of authoring language is rather preferred as it provides high-level tools without a necessity to write a code.

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