Four Features That Matter When Choosing A Help

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You think you might need a new Help Authoring Tool (HAT), but there are a lot to choose from. You’ve read blogs and press releases and articles and forums and email lists, and you’ve noticed that a lot of people have a favorite HAT.

However, you need to focus on your needs when choosing the HAT that will work best for you. It won’t matter how many other people use a HAT if it doesn’t produce the output you need or if it won’t run on the platforms your customers use.

During this session, you’ll learn about four features that matter when choosing a HAT: output, development environment, content reuse, and importing legacy documentation.

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  • Four Features That Matter When Choosing A Help

    1. 1. Four Features That Matter When Choosing a Help Authoring Tool Char James-Tanny JTF Associates, Inc. www.helpstuff.com
    2. 2. You Vendor Vendor Slide Copyright © 2008 JTF Associates, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
    3. 3. Slide Copyright © 2008 JTF Associates, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
    4. 4. HAT-Matrix Blank Report #2 http://hat-matrix.com/blank_report_2.html Slide Copyright © 2008 JTF Associates, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
    5. 5. Four Categories for Today Slide Copyright © 2008 JTF Associates, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
    6. 6. Outputs Slide Copyright © 2008 JTF Associates, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
    7. 7. Outputs Listed on HAT-Matrix.com Slide Copyright © 2008 JTF Associates, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
    8. 8. Help Authoring Survey Results September 2008 Slide Copyright © 2008 JTF Associates, Inc. All Rights Reserved. PDF 27.95% 792 HTML-based Help 13.09% 371 HTML Help 10.97% 311 Word 10.80% 306 Printed manuals 8.22% 233 FrameMaker 8.50% 241 DHTML 7.48% 212 Slide Presentations 2.72% 77 WinHelp 2.12% 60 Other 8.15% 231
    9. 9. What Really Matters <ul><li>You can publish the outputs you need…with the features you want. </li></ul><ul><li>(It's a given: multiple outputs, single-source or multi-purpose (or both), conditional content.) </li></ul>Slide Copyright © 2008 JTF Associates, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
    10. 10. Development Environment Slide Copyright © 2008 JTF Associates, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
    11. 11. Slide Copyright © 2008 JTF Associates, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
    12. 12. What Really Matters <ul><li>Importance is waning as lines blur between traditional and production HATs. </li></ul><ul><li>Consider differences in training and legacy docs when making decisions. </li></ul><ul><li>XML? See Scriptorium's White Papers page ( scriptorium.com/papers.html ). </li></ul>Slide Copyright © 2008 JTF Associates, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
    13. 13. Importing Legacy Content Slide Copyright © 2008 JTF Associates, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
    14. 14. According to DCL… <ul><li>Convert… </li></ul><ul><li>Expect… </li></ul><ul><li>Minimal cost, delayed ROI </li></ul><ul><li>High cost, reduced ROI </li></ul><ul><li>Some cost, best ROI </li></ul><ul><li>* DCL = Data Control Laboratories </li></ul>Slide Copyright © 2008 JTF Associates, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
    15. 15. Get information first! Compare… Read forums… Download & test… Slide Copyright © 2008 JTF Associates, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
    16. 16. What Really Matters <ul><li>Look for extra features that might help (for example, replacing content on import). </li></ul><ul><li>Check for pre-processing and post-processing tweaks. </li></ul>Slide Copyright © 2008 JTF Associates, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
    17. 17. Reusing Content Slide Copyright © 2008 JTF Associates, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
    18. 18. What Can You Reuse? Slide Copyright © 2008 JTF Associates, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
    19. 19. Special Types of Content Reuse <ul><li>Variables </li></ul><ul><li>Reusable formatted chunks of content </li></ul><ul><li>Other </li></ul>Slide Copyright © 2008 JTF Associates, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
    20. 20. What Really Matters <ul><li>Look for extra features that might help: </li></ul><ul><li>Analyzers </li></ul><ul><li>Reports </li></ul><ul><li>Organizational Help </li></ul>Slide Copyright © 2008 JTF Associates, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
    21. 21. Thank you! Slide Copyright © 2008 JTF Associates, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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