I love alliteration. Now that I got that out of the way, I’m using divergence to mean separation, and we’re all having difficulty separating from the concept of the 8 1/2 X 11 piece of paper – physical or virtual.
Like the popular movies about a post-apocalyptical world, there is a post-document world of tomorrow. What we’ll have is modular content. What? Isn’t that like a house on wheels? No, it’s the basic construct of the “document” of the future.
Modular components are objects that work together to form a single functioning unit. You separate the components from the container. You use pieces of information (components) and assemble them into a format (container) for your audience or user.
For example, a company is creating a piece to market a new product. The marketing team supplies all the artwork (logos, images), and the content for the piece is provided by different groups. Oh yeah, it also needs those wonderful disclaimers from Compliance and Legal.
All the different components, in different formats, are brought together into a final container. This container varies based on the audience or user. It may be a website, a video, or even a living, breathing physical document. The idea is to have re-usable components to use in whatever container is required.
Each part is separate, so it is often possible to upgrade, change, or repair one component and leave the main piece you created functional. Take our example. Compliance sends the marketing team a new disclaimer for the piece. Now, instead of having to update the entire piece, just pull in the disclaimer and redistribute to the appropriate channels. Easy, peasy, lemon squeezy!
As my colleague Eric Walk eloquently wrote in his blogs about the Demise of the Document and Divorcing Virtual Paper, diverging from the “document” will be messy and take a concerted effort. The longest journey begins with a single step. Take that first step toward understanding and accepting the concept of separating the components from the container. You’ll love the results of the journey!