What is the role of examples and use cases in specialization documentation?

Examples and use cases play a critical role in specialization documentation in DITA as they provide practical illustrations of how custom elements and attributes should be used. Here’s how examples and use cases contribute to specialization documentation:

Clarity and Understanding: Examples offer clarity and make it easier for content authors to understand how to apply custom elements and attributes within their DITA content. They serve as real-world demonstrations of the specialization’s intended use.

Visual Guidance: Use cases and examples provide visual guidance, helping content authors visualize how specialized content should be structured and formatted in practice. This is especially valuable when dealing with complex or novel specializations.

Best Practices: They showcase best practices for using the specialization. Authors can learn how to make the most of the customization, ensuring that their content conforms to organizational standards and follows recommended practices.

Error Avoidance: By providing examples of correct usage, specialization documentation helps authors avoid common errors or misuse of the custom elements and attributes. This reduces the chances of content non-compliance and improves content quality.

Customization Insights: Use cases and examples can also demonstrate how the specialization can be customized to meet specific content requirements. This empowers content authors to adapt the specialization to their unique needs.

Testing and Validation: Specialization documentation often includes examples that assist in testing and validation. Content authors can use these examples as a reference when validating their content against the specialization’s guidelines.

Cross-Referencing: Examples and use cases can be cross-referenced with other parts of the documentation, such as element descriptions, attribute details, and transformation guidelines. This creates a cohesive and interconnected specialization documentation package.

In essence, examples and use cases serve as practical aids that bridge the gap between theory and practice in specialization documentation. They empower content authors to effectively and correctly use custom elements and attributes while ensuring compliance with organizational standards and best practices.


Here’s an example of how a use case could be presented in specialization documentation:

<!-- Use case for a custom DITA element specialization -->
  <title>Using the Custom Note Element</title>
    This use case demonstrates how to use the custom <element>note</element> element in a DITA topic.
      <description>Start by introducing the note in your topic.</description>
        <note>Note that the following instructions apply to advanced users.</note>
      <description>Provide additional content within the note element.</description>
          Note that the following instructions apply to advanced users.
          <para>This is a paragraph within the note element.</para>