My First Prezi on DDLC

July 30, 2010

Vodpod videos no longer available.

My First Prezi on DDLC, posted with vodpod

 

I created my first Prezi on Document Development Life Cycle(DDLC). I feel still there are enough rooms to enhance my prezi. Maybe I will groom much better in my next attempt.  I am curious to know your feedbacks and critics.

Customer Experience Management (CEM)

July 29, 2010

 Scenario:

U.S.airways came across a unique problem. Though many of their customers logged in their site, checked for flights, fare etc didn’t proceed to book their tickets. In short, there is a huge dip in U.S.airways business. Web Metrics results were quite interesting.

Many of their customers entered the flight numbers wrongly, so the site was unable to process their request. Annoyed customers changed their mind and as a result no business for U.S.airways.

When they corrected this error (?), (maybe an auto-popup flight number field instead of a text box), U.S.airways found almost 100 percent rise in their business.

So unless you don’t know how your clients use your website, you can’t say that whatever you have developed is user-friendly. The feature which sounds simple for you may be annoying for the clients.

This is referred as Customer Experience Management (CEM). There are many vendors deploy CEM for their clients (of course not in free of cost).

I am planning to explore the web metrics and post few more in this space.

How to add your Prezi in your WordPress blog

July 27, 2010

I created a sample Prezi (wait, final touches are going on) and I just explored the prezi site for finding a way to add my sample prezi in my space. WordPress usually don’t encourage third party components, java scripts (like web counter). They believe in self help is the best help. 🙂

When I went through the prezi community forum, I got the solution which I wanted to share here.

  1. Visit this site: http://vodpod.com/wordpress/ . You will see a “Post to WordPress” button on the left side.
  2. Right click on that button and add it into your browser Favorites (just in case for re-usability).
  3. Now from the Favorites, open that script (yes, it is a script). A pop-up window will open.
  4. Paste the Embed code in the Video Preview column that you copied from your Prezi  earlier.
  5. Fill-in your wordpress blog address, User name and password in their respective fields.
  6. If you wish, fill-in the Post details.
  7. Click the Send to Blog editor link. This will take you to your wordpress blog editor mode.
  8. Do the necessary edits and publish the post.
  9. You should see the Prezi created in your wordpress blog.

Present yourself with the Prezi

July 20, 2010

Are you

  • bored with static (with limited animated) Presentations..?
  • looking for some innovative techniques to present in a better way..?
  • interested in keeping your audience awake rather than snoozing during your presentation..?

If your answer is YES, then I would strongly recommend you to create an account for yourself with www.prezi.com

1)  Sign up with www.prezi.com and go through few basic lessons on how to create a prezi.

2)  Give a try by creating your own prezi (of course, with a lot of trial and errors).

3) If you really liked it and most importantly if you have a budget, go ahead with a licensed one. No, no, I am not paid by the Prezi to endorse their product.  🙂

Check out this video for knowing the Prezi in a nutshell. 

Note: Very soon, I will create one Prezi and upload in this space.

Writing Plain English

June 30, 2010

Last two months were hectic as I was running on my toes for our product release – updating the help system, reviewing, testing the product, re-checking the bug fixes… So I was temporarily not been able to update this page (though this site has very limited readership).

OK, coming to the point, recently I came across a website www.plainenglish.co.uk . These people conduct courses on writing plain English. First it sounded a bit funny. But when I read through a PDF from their site, I understood the importance of plain English in day-today life.

Let me give an example: Have you ever read and understood any Insurance, Bank policies or disclaimers especially Subject to Market risk paragraph..?  Those paragraphs will be in such a way that even if you read thousand times, you won’t be able to get the point.

Click here to read some general guides uploaded in their site. It has some special guides on grammar notes, financial glossaries, reports, Forms, websites etc… Worth reading.

Disclaimer: I announce that I was not paid(I wish) to endorse this website and it is purely on my intention to share and spread this useful information.  🙂

Dr.Explain

April 6, 2010

Sound knowledge in Help authoring tools is always on demand among technical writing industry. Dr.Explain is a Help authoring tool in the market. On March 30 2010, Dr.Explain team has released a version with new enhanced features.

Good news is that Dr.Explain team provides free copies to Technical authors, Site owners who are interested in writing a review on their product. Anything free is always welcome among people (esp for me) 🙂

Just now I received my license key. I am very eager to install Dr.Explain in my laptop and test my hands with this tool. Very soon I will update this post with my User Experience review on Dr.Explain.

Thanks to Tom Johnson to share this info in his space.

Anthropomorphism

March 9, 2010

 

No, I am not going to write about a zoology subject where my post heading may sound like that. When I checked with the WordWeb, anthropomorphism means the representation of objects (especially a god) as having human form or traits. To be more precise, anthropomorphism is attributing human characteristics or behavior to things that are not human.

Generally, technical writers have a great temptation to anthropomorphize to make difficult material easier for the reader to relate to.

An example:

If you click the Save As button, the database will store your data in the specified format.

This is fine. Some level of anthropomorphizing is acceptable. But let us consider the below phrase:

 If you click the Save As button, the database will behave as you requested.

This is a bit over-dosage of anthropomorphism.  🙂

Let us see one more example:

Correct Usage:

The speech recognition software accepts only the following words.

Incorrect Usage:

The speech recognition software is interested only in the following words.

When I came across Microsoft Style guide (MSTP), it says,

Sometimes the user interface or application programming interface of a feature is anthropomorphic. In dealing with wizards, assistants, guides, and other characters built into a program, you must let your professional judgment guide you in deciding how much the documentation should reinforce the anthropomorphism of the feature. But do not use words or phrases that convey intention or desire (such as refuses or wants or is interested in), intellect (thinks, knows, realizes), or emotion (likes).

Also, MSTP lists out some words to watch out for anthropomorphism. Here we go:

The following words may be acceptable in the right context, but they often signal inappropriate anthropomorphism. Some are appropriate only for programmers or information technology professionals. This list is not exhaustive. When in doubt, check your project style sheet.

  • answer
  • demand
  • realize
  • think
  • assume
  • interested in
  • recognize
  • understand
  • aware
  • know
  • refuse
  • want
  • behave
  • like
  • remember
  • decide
  • own
  • see

I believe now you have learned what anthropomorphism is and it’s spelling too (just like me)  🙂

Correlating the things

February 16, 2010

I am sorry for not updating this space for quite some time. I was really busy with little personal stuffs, frequent weekend travels, blah blahs. I really ask sorry to those thousands of this blog readers (just kidding).

I really cherish those moments when I watch television ads with my son (18 months old), who likes ads than cartoons. I really surprise on his skills the way he correlates real things with those comes on television. One fine day, I showed a bottle of Dettol hand washer kept near the wash basin when the same product ad appeared on the virtual screen. After a day, same ad came on the screen (of course they sponsor a lot of programs in different channels). He quickly pulled my hands and showed the same bottle kept aside. I was on a pleasant  surprise. He is able to recognize that product colour, shape and that ad sound of course.

Now as a Technical Writer, I am correlating this incident (anecdote) with the user experience. Rather than writing hundred pages user manual, it’s really a good idea to present them with video tutorials, and captivate demos to explore a particular feature of a product. The User will grasp the new things easily by these kinds of visuals than reading hundreds of pages. Of course, it’s human brain’s tendency to correlate things visually than reading or learning by themselves.

Run Adobe RoboHelp X5 without activation

January 21, 2010

 

I am still managing with RoboHelp X5 for creating Online helps. But that is not the subject of this post. 🙂

Last month, when I was trying to update one of our help systems using RoboHelp, I got a pop-up asking me to activate the product.

Activation code Request

Of course I use a licensed product only. As mentioned in the above pop-up screen, first I tried to catch-up the Macromedia customer care by e-mail link available. I got the following failure notice after 36 hours:

Your message did not reach some or all of the intended recipients. Subject: Activation Code Request

The following recipient(s) cannot be reached: activation@ehelp.com on 12/12/2009 6:19 PM

Could not deliver the message in the time limit specified. Please retry or contact your administrator.

I really wonder what is the use of that E-mail button then… Just for a better UI purpose..? 🙂

Ok, leave it, and then I called my office technical operations people to call the Macromedia customer care number. Yes, I cannot make an ISD call on my own. Of course it’s our company policy you know.  🙂

I got a reply saying that the number mentioned in that pop-up is not reachable.

Then when I googled, I got this link from the adobe site. Remember adobe has bought the Macromedia long time back.

  1. Install RoboHelp X5.
  2. Install Patch X501 and X502.
  3. Download RoboHelp.exe and RoboHTML.exe and replace the installed versions with the downloaded versions. The installed versions are in <Install Directory of X5>/RoboHELP/RoboHelp.exe and <Install Directory of X5>/RoboHTML/RoboHTML.exe respectively.
  4. You now will be able to run Adobe RoboHelp X5 without any activation.

Note:  Download and save the patches X501 and X502 as well as exes’ in your system as mentioned in step 2 and step 3 respectively. Don’t run those patches and exes’ directly from the adobe site.

Follow the procedure and Install the patches exactly as mentioned. You will be able to run the RoboHelp X5 without any activation.  🙂

Importing Word doc into FrameMaker

January 20, 2010

 

Usually people prefer to import a word document than directly writing (typing) on a FrameMaker page. While importing the word document, the tables in the word document would not get imported properly in the FM file. Here is the solution:

  1. Convert the Word doc into RTF format
  2. Open the RTF doc directly in the FrameMaker
  3. Copy the tables from this temporary FM document into the Original book

This is the solution that http://allexperts.com provides for this issue. I haven’t checked this as I am yet to install the FM .  So I would be happy if you try it out and let me know in the comment section.  🙂


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