Who Am I?
Perlin - Hyper/Word Services.
– Internationally recognized content creation and
– Help clients create effective, efficient, flexible
content in anything from print to mobile.
– Writing for online since 1986.
– Working with mobile since Windows CE and
WML/WAP c. 1998
– Certified – Viziapps, Flare, Mimic, RoboHelp.
should we write for mobile?
– Rewrite our existing material?
– Cut our existing material?
goes beyond “writing” alone due
to technical side of today‟s tech comm.
– A more complex version of the “no dumping”
theme of the early „90s.
first define “mobile” in your context.
So Can We Write for Mobile?
depending on what mobile we mean.
– A laptop is a PC.
– A tablet is a small laptop without a keyboard,
can show PC-type content in browser windows.
– A smartphone is completely different.
depending on whether we‟re talking
– Web apps – browser-based.
– Native/hybrid apps – platform-based or both.
A Design Fix For the Undesktop
design – display-agnosticism.
For example, from RoboHelp 11.
– Images may be too wide for phone screens.
» Can size them relatively to fit available screen.
» But are they still legible?
» If not, can you conditionalize them out?
» If you do, does that affect the content?
» May call for greater granularity of content…
» And need a CMS to deal with the greater # of
content chunks even if traditional help did not.
– Ditto tables.
– Consider SWFs.
» Won‟t run on iOS – must be MP4 or HTML5.
» Are text captions legible or must you replace them
with audio = creating 2+ versions of each movie.
» What happens to interactivity with no mouse?
– Minimal table support in ebook formats.
– “Invisible” problems of content in snippets.
– And more…
Dealing With Text-Heaviness
down text – not fat but real text – to
the bare bones, such as:
If 1, land.
If 2, sea.
» With apologies to Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
and The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere.
Dealing With Text-Heaviness
you reviewed your content lately for
– Mechanical, like how to use a mouse?
– Domain knowledge, like accounting principles
in accounting software?
– Stuff that‟s just no longer applicable?
you delete content that may not apply
to mobile but that may still be necessary?
If so, where do you put it? For example…
The Battle of the Sunda Straits
a multimedia project in „93 about a
little-known naval battle from 1942.
– Had 15 frames describing the action, with ~30
paragraphs of text.
– Boiled down from 75 pages in Morrison‟s
History of US Naval Operations in WW2.
– No web in „93, so the cut 70+ pages were lost.
– Can your cut material be made available if
users need it?
Summary – Rewrite or Cut?
– Cut to shorten the content and to account for
technical limitations or requirements.
» But make the content available if still important.
– Rewrite the remainder to account for the cuts
and to improve the writing in general.
still want good writing, just less of it
and more focused on the user‟s needs.
Hyper/Word Services Offers…
Training • Consulting • Development
Flare • Flare CSS • Flare Single Sourcing
RoboHelp • RoboHelp CSS • RoboHelp
Single sourcing • Structured authoring