Your policy and procedures manual as software

Jared Spool tweeted this morning:

HyperCard was a hypertext program that came with Apple Macintosh in the 1980s. It allowed you to create “stacks” of online cards, which organsiations used to create some of the first online guides. It also contained a scripting language called HyperTalk that a non-programmer could easily learn. This meant HyperCard could do more than just display content: it could be used to create books, games (such as Myst), develop oil-spill models, and even dial the telephone.

So a modern day HyperCard would offer the potential for Jared Spool and non-programmers to create applications for the iPad. One potential use could be for policy and procedures manuals that interacted with other applications. There could be live forms staff fill in within the manual itself, live data from applications such as, and other content that enabled the reader to do the task described in the manual. The manual would become, in many ways, an application.

In fact, this is possible today. You can use HTML and JavaScript to do this. You can also convert HTML5 content into an app for iOS and Android. However, these still require some confidence in working with code and scripts. If we wanted something truly like HyperCard, we might want to consider using a more visually orientated development tool such as PencilCase.

Will policy and procedures manuals stay as static documents, or will they integrate more closely with the systems that support the business policies and procedures? Please share your thoughts below.


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