Posts Tagged ‘Online Help’

Customer Feedback

August 5, 2010

 

Getting customers’ feedback is inevitable for any business. When it comes to documentation, majority of the clients (readers) are reluctant to give their feedback.  

Is that help system sounds jejune for them..? Are they really accessing it..?

Any Tech author will be curious to hear about his help system, Is that useful to the clients? Does the client get the answer for their queries..? Which page or topic is accessed by the people more frequently?  And so on.

One quick way to get the user access statistics is embedding a piece of HTML or JavaScript code in your site. Many online statistical tools are available like http://sitemeter.com or http://histats.com.

But if you want to get the feedback in a professional way, you can create a user feedback form or if you have RoboHelp Office Pro, you can use the logging and tracking feature – says Neil Perlin in his article on RoboHelp in the adobe.com.

He further adds that RoboHelp Office Pro has set of reports in seven categories of information:

  • Unanswered Questions: Questions that users’ type but to which they don’t find an answer.
  • Frequently Asked Questions: Questions that users ask most often about.
  • Areas Requiring Help: Areas that user ask questions about most often.
  • Frequently Viewed Content: Topics that users view most often.
  • Usage Statistics: Information about when users access the material. This might indicate a need for more server capacity in response to user complaints about slow access at 9 AM, for example.
  • Question Trends: The number of answered versus unanswered questions over time.
  • Errors: Various help system errors.

Quite interesting. By the way, recently I included “Rate this” widget in the site, just curious to hear from you.  🙂

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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.

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.  🙂

All about Technical Documentation

December 31, 2009

  1. Are you curious to know about technical documentation?
  2. Are you planning to begin your career in TW area?
  3. Do you have any plans in changing lanes from your development or academic field to TW area?

If the answer is YES for all the above questions, then you must check this website.  In this site, you can find some basic know-how, checklists, tools and links, which will help you to write create clear and concise user-friendly manuals, online help files, software demos, tutorials and other forms of user assistance.

There is a huge list of useful software, useful websites too. Hope you will like it.

I wish you all a happy NEW YEAR 2010 and may this year brings all happiness and prosperous in everybody’s life.

Ten important Points to Remember While Creating an Online Help

October 15, 2009

 

I started testing my hand with online help three years before. From then, it’s always my favourite cup of tea. There are a lot of room for logical and analytical thinking in an online help. While reviewing an online help, few points came into my mind which I believe are very vital for an online help. Here we go:

1)  Know your needs

Rather than saying know your needs, I’d say know your client’s need. The fact of being you a RoboHelp guru, it doesn’t mean that your client should be happy to accept a webhelp output from you. He may be comfortable with a .chm file. But make sure your learning curve doesn’t get affected by your client’s preferred Help Authoring Tools (HAT).

2)  Track back often with your Developers

Once the application development stage moves to freezing point, you may start your online help. But still few UI changes may occur. So better you track your developers’ path to avoid any last minute confusion.  Any client will wish to read an updated (including images) online help.

3)  Learn HTML before you start

Though you have WYSWYG environment nowadays, it’s always better to learn some html tags before you start. Most of the HATs’ will add their own junk codes. If you’re html literate; it’s easy for you to fix it in later stage.

4)  Design your Style sheet first

Before getting started with your online help, you make sure you have a standard, well defined style sheet in hand. In the middle of the process, re-thinking about a table header column style is not a wise idea. List your needs and in rare case you can include a new style (only in rare case, don’t make it a habit).

5)  Analyse and freeze your TOC

Before starting an online help, it’s always recommended that first do a research and freeze your TOC. It will help you to structure your help.  If you’re curious about single sourcing, it’s always recommended to have a structured TOC.

6)  A picture is worth of thousand words

Add images, flow diagrams in right places. But your user will get irritated with irrelevant and excess images. Showing a confirmation image with an OK button and Cancel button in the online help is not a great idea.

7)  Link the links properly

One general thumb rule for all online helps is “Write shorter, link them properly”.  Instead of writing two page lengthy instructions, give correct hyperlinks at right place. Don’t forget to include a relevant ‘See Also’ section in an online help.

8)  Add a Glossary and Index

Adding a glossary section in an online help is always a great idea. You can include smart definitions and acronyms in a glossary. Every user will like a crispy index section. Pick out mostly used keywords from every page and index it. Make sure your index keywords make sense. Adding ‘HAT’ as a keyword is a good idea than adding ‘because’ as a keyword in the index section.

9)  Hotspots and pop-ups

Giving too much of hyperlinks may sometimes backfire you. Sometimes, the user may hesitate to click your hyperlinks as he may be curious to stay within the same page. During such scenarios, introduce hotspots and pop-ups to keep your user in the same page.

10)  Get the feedback

Once your online help gets shipped with the product, don’t stay back as if you’re done with that. Try to figure out any gap between the application and your help by including yourself in the client’s feedback e-mails. You might have missed a warning message or a pre-requisite step required to fetch a row from the database.


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