The organisation of content in a document into stages or in the order by which tasks need to be done (e.g. before, during, after) .
Contract readers need to be able to know what to do and at any given time. This means they need to find the right information quickly, and presented in a logical way.
Often tasks or events are grouped into clauses or sections which mix up time periods making it hard to logically follow the flow of a process, series of tasks, or project. For any process, there may be multiple services, works or goods to be provided: confusion easily ensues if they are not presented in a way that makes sense to the reader.
This pattern is most commonly used in documents that describe long-term projects or processes, rather than single stage or simple transactions. Chronological order does not necessarily need to be used for the whole content of a document, only in sections where it would make the information easier to follow.
Chronological order can also be used within swimlanes, flowcharts, and naturally timelines. Chronological order is also useful when digitising transactions as it sets out the steps to be taken by whom and when.
Showing tasks or processes in the order in which they need to be done can help users find the right information and make sense of it quickly, because it is presented from the perspective of their own experience.
Chronological order is often as simple as sorting existing content under headings relating to time periods, stages, or sections of a calendar. They frame the content into a more useful flow for the user to enable them to prioritise tasks accordingly.
© 2019 Sarah Fox, 500 Words Ltd.