Archive for October, 2010

Innovative approaches in Technical Writing

October 21, 2010

I am a regular visitor of cherry leaf technical writing site. I came across an interesting post that talk about innovative approach for a Samsung mobile user manual. Though this approach is a bit costly, potential clients will definitely get benefited. 

I just tried rubbing my brain for the possibilities of innovations in the technical documentation so that the clients will get benefited.

Include videos in the online help:

Imagine you are writing a 10+ steps procedure on how to create a Macro in the MS-Word or a Conditional text in the Adobe FrameMaker. When a procedure goes lengthier or more complex, it’s always a good idea to include a video or a flash file in the online help itself. I really bet you, clients will be accessing your video rather than reading your meticulous 10+ steps procedure.

A picture is worth of thousand words where a video is worth of thousand pictures.

Give a personal touch on your videos:

While including videos, it is good to have your own voice recorded. As you will be the best person to understand and simulate a complex procedure, it is good to have your voice as background than opting for a third-party voice recorder or dubbing. Of course, you are reducing the production cost for your client you know.

Annotate your images:

Preparing Requirement documents for the QA people is one of my regular activities. I use SnagIt for capturing images to support my procedures. I started using SnagIt’s annotation features in the captured images that gave a better understanding the requirement. I got an overwhelming feedback from the QA people. Let me illustrate with an example:

Rather than explaining the above fields one by one, capturing and annotating the image brings better clarity and reach among the audience.

User Assistance

October 4, 2010

One fine day I logged on to my payroll information site to check some information. I have to select a Date using a Calendar function. For example if I wanted to select 28th October 2010, I need to click several times to get the corresponding month and the date as 28th displayed on the screen.

Here is the catch. I am using Internet Explorer 7.0 version. That website has some script error resulting Calendar function didn’t pop-up. So I was clueless how to enter or select the date. Without selecting the date, I can’t process my request.

I called my colleague to get some idea on that. Yes, my assumption is correct; he too came across the same error. And the solution that he gave was too funny. “Close the session and log-on after an hour”.  🙂

Why can’t I directly type-in the date that I wish to..?

Enter Date:  __________  (in DD/mm/yy format for ex: 31/03/10)

See the above example; I have a User Assistance on the screen itself. Do I need a calendar function here..? I don’t think so.

Note: By the way after an hour, I was able to enter the date and processed my request.  🙂

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