Technical Communications UK Conference 2013

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A look at how just delivering user assistance is only half the battle. This presentation looks how Technical Communicators should look at improving both the end user experience and general product usability by improving how the user assistance is delivered.

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Technical Communications UK Conference 2013

  1. 1. Colum McAndrew RoboColum(n) Consulting Content delivered? Check! OK. How do we use it? Technical Communication UK Conference Bristol 25th September 2013
  2. 2. Slide 2 © RoboColum(n) Consulting 2013 How do others do it ?
  3. 3. Slide 3 © RoboColum(n) Consulting 2013 When does User Assistance end ?  Test build ?  Deliverable sign off ?  Release build ?  Product release ?  The answer is ……… None of the above !
  4. 4. Slide 4 © RoboColum(n) Consulting 2013 Adding value to User Assistance?  Training on how to use user assistance.  Make it visible.  Add interactivity.  Evangelise content.  Watch and listen.  Get feedback.
  5. 5. Slide 5 © RoboColum(n) Consulting 2013 Training: Internal users  Train them so they can train others.  Look for training opportunities.  Get people on your side.  Evangelise your content.
  6. 6. Slide 6 © RoboColum(n) Consulting 2013 Training: External users 1. Does your company train users ? 2. What do you train users on ? 3. What does your “product” include? 4. What is installed with your product ?
  7. 7. Slide 7 © RoboColum(n) Consulting 2013 Training materials  Include chapter on using the Help.  Set exercises to get users using it.  Ask them what they think.  Feedback to the Technical Writers.
  8. 8. Slide 8 © RoboColum(n) Consulting 2013 Making things visible
  9. 9. Slide 9 © RoboColum(n) Consulting 2013 Making things visible
  10. 10. Slide 10 © RoboColum(n) Consulting 2013 Painting the Forth Bridge TechComm Style  Is it just about providing the content ?  It is also how users interact with it.  Is there quick and easy access to it ?  If you finish, it is time to retire !
  11. 11. Slide 11 © RoboColum(n) Consulting 2013 Context Sensitive Help What is the first thing you see in this dialog ?
  12. 12. Slide 12 © RoboColum(n) Consulting 2013 Context Sensitive Help What is the first last thing you see in this dialog ?
  13. 13. Slide 13 © RoboColum(n) Consulting 2013  Help is the last thing they see.  “No Undo” where exactly?  Dialog has 13 different UI elements. What does “Help” provide?  No “OK” button. Context Sensitive Help
  14. 14. Slide 14 © RoboColum(n) Consulting 2013 Context Sensitive Help
  15. 15. Slide 15 © RoboColum(n) Consulting 2013 Embedded help………yuk!
  16. 16. Slide 16 © RoboColum(n) Consulting 2013  Field descriptions at the bottom.  “Common questions” but not here!  Open “Details” in new window Embedded help………yuk!
  17. 17. Slide 17 © RoboColum(n) Consulting 2013 Embedded help…close but no cigar!
  18. 18. Slide 18 © RoboColum(n) Consulting 2013  Embedded help could be next to the action.  Access to further information.  Not sure what this adds. Embedded help…close but no cigar!
  19. 19. Slide 19 © RoboColum(n) Consulting 2013 Embedded help…......Yay!
  20. 20. Slide 20 © RoboColum(n) Consulting 2013 Evangelising your content If no one is buying your product, what do you do?  Find out why  Market it ◦ Social media ◦ Press release ◦ Release notes  Change it ◦ Context sensitive / embedded help ◦ UI (e.g. error messages) ◦ Visual / written style
  21. 21. Slide 21 © RoboColum(n) Consulting 2013 Learning styles: Snagit
  22. 22. Slide 22 © RoboColum(n) Consulting 2013 Learning styles: Snagit
  23. 23. Slide 23 © RoboColum(n) Consulting 2013 Watch and listen  Don’t be afraid to engage with others.  Look for quick gains.  Seek approval to contact customers.
  24. 24. Slide 24 © RoboColum(n) Consulting 2013 Getting feedback  Google analytics  RoboHelp Server / Madcap Pulse  Customer contact  Inter-departmental communication
  25. 25. Slide 25 © RoboColum(n) Consulting 2013 Watch and listen…. BBC Blackadder style! “C is for contrafibularity”
  26. 26. Slide 26 © RoboColum(n) Consulting 2013 RoboColum(n) Consulting @robocolumn robocolumn@cmcandrew.com http://uk.linkedin.com/in/notcolin www.cmcandrew.com www.robocolumn.com

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