How are visual elements linked to underlying technical descriptions and repair procedures in DITA?

Linking visual elements to underlying technical descriptions and repair procedures in DITA-based documentation is crucial for providing context and clarity to users. DITA XML offers a structured approach to achieve this, ensuring that visual assets are seamlessly integrated with textual content. Here’s how it’s typically done:

Element Referencing

DITA allows for the use of element referencing to establish connections between visuals and their corresponding textual descriptions. For example, an image of a vehicle system can be linked to a specific section or topic that provides in-depth technical information or repair procedures related to that system. This creates a clear and logical flow for users, allowing them to easily access relevant content.

Contextual Descriptions

Visual elements in DITA-based documentation are often accompanied by contextual descriptions. These descriptions provide a brief overview of what the visual represents and its relevance within the content. This context helps users understand the purpose of the visual element before delving into more detailed technical information.


Here’s an example of how DITA links a visual element to underlying technical descriptions:

<topic id="engine_system">
  <title>Engine System</title>
    <p>The engine system is a critical component of the vehicle, responsible for generating power.</p>
      <title>Engine Diagram</title>
      <image src="engine_diagram.png" alt="Diagram of engine system" />
      <desc>Diagram illustrating the key components of the engine system.</desc>
      <conref href="engine_technical_details.dita" />
    <p>For detailed technical information on the engine system, refer to the <link href="engine_technical_details.dita">Engine Technical Details</link> section.</p>

In this example, the DITA topic “Engine System” includes an engine diagram linked to a separate topic “Engine Technical Details.” The diagram is accompanied by a brief description, providing users with context, and the link allows them to access detailed technical information related to the engine system.