Authoring with meaning and style.
A group of 18 met on Monday in Berlin to discuss the ideal authoring tool for creating rich content that travels well. By travels well, we all meant slightly different things. In the world of Open Education Resources (OER) we care about content that is easy to share, mix, adapt, translate, and improve. Projects helping groups create books or helping authors self publish, traveling well means content that can be made effective online, in print, and in mobile formats of various sizes and capabilities.
The day was organized as a brainstorming session in 5 groups, twice over, with pens and paper for drawing concepts as well as paper prototypes. Then we had lunch. And then the groups presented ideas and people wrote ideas, questions, issues on sticky notes, which we then sorted into major categories.
Join our discussion!
Principles: We all agreed on a surprising number of principles that appeared from the groupings and commonalities:
- An editor/authoring tool must show authors, editors, and designers what the finished project will look like in various formats. WYSIWYG is necessary, even though some of it will necessarily be in selectable previews
- The model that works best for creation of content is a clean canvas (blank page like) with a simple set of tools that are there when you need them, but not ever overwhelming.
- Content is created in workflow phases that may alternate in time, but are distinct in the operations that are needed. Content goes through creation, enhancement, review, basic styling, and finishing for distribution. If those phases can share an editor, but customize the interface and supported operations, the natural workflow will be supported in a fluid, dynamic way.
- Tools should be contextual.
- Training should be integrated and contextual (angry-birds style!)
- A very clear separation between structure and style is needed to support documents that travel well.