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Designing technical documentation for tablets

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Description

With more and more people using tablets for reading technical documentation, this webinar looks at how this trend will affect the way technical documents are designed and developed. We'll look at examples of documents that 'work' on a tablet, as well as documents that don't. We'll explore some of the emerging design trends for presenting technical documentation on tablets, and what they mean for Technical Writers. We'll also investigate how tablets, and the technologies contained within then, could be used to improve the User Assistance we provide to our readers.

Ellis is Director and Help Strategist at Cherryleaf, a technical writing services and training company based near London, in the United Kingdom. He has over fifteen years’ experience working in the field of documentation, has a BA in Business Studies, and is an Associate of the Institution of Engineering and Technology. Ranked the most influential blogger on technical communication in Europe, Ellis is also an author and editor of two books: ‘How to Write Instructions’ and ‘Trends in Technical Communication’.

Transcript

  1. 1. Designing technical documentation for tablets Ellis Pratt | Director | Twitter @ellispratt | www.cherrylear.com | ellis@cherryleaf.com Maxwell Hoffmann | Adobe Product Evangelist | Twitter @maxwellhoffmann | mhoffman@adobe.com © 2012 Adobe Systems Incorporated. All Rights Reserved. Adobe Confidential.
  2. 2. About Adobe  Founded in December 1982  74 Offices in 43 Countries  $4.2 billion in revenue in FY2011  Corporate Headquarters in San Jose, California  More than 10,000 employees  Adobe donates a minimum of 1% of net income to philanthropy We simplify complicated, inefficient, and expensive workflows. We enable more engaging, compelling content. We drive greater return from digital media and marketing investments. © 2012 Adobe Systems Incorporated. All Rights Reserved. 2
  3. 3. About Maxwell Hoffmann Maxwell Hoffmann  Product Evangelist, Tech Comm Suite  Former Product Manager and Sales Training Director for Frame Technology  15 years in translation industry, working on “whatever documents walked through the door”  Trained over 1,200 people in hands-on, scalable publishing solutions © 2012 Adobe Systems Incorporated. All Rights Reserved. Adobe Confidential. 3
  4. 4. About our Guest Thought Leader Ellis Pratt  Director and co-owner of Cherryleaf  Based close to London’s Heathrow Airport  Working in Technical Communications since circa 1996(!) © 2012 Adobe Systems Incorporated. All Rights Reserved. Adobe Confidential. 4
  5. 5. Designing technical documentation for tablets Adobe Webinar Ellis Pratt Cherryleaf
  6. 6. What we’ll cover 1. About me 2. What makes tablet devices different? 3, 4 & 5. Three uses of tablets, from a techcomms view 6. A SIMPLES strategy
  7. 7. 1. About me
  8. 8. Director of Cherryleaf UK technical writing services company My experience is of technical communication in: • UK and Europe • IT & medical equipment QuickTime™ and a decompressor are needed to see this picture. Workshops on writing for Web- based apps, iPads & DITA
  9. 9. 2. What makes tablet devices different?
  10. 10. What we’ll cover The competitors Why are tablets popular? We need to abandon some assumptions
  11. 11. The competitors
  12. 12. Why a tablet? Intuitive to use (almost) Long battery life Portability Bring Your Own Device Retina screen Weight Always on
  13. 13. We need to abandon some assumptions
  14. 14. The screen “Retina” displays Greater contrast on screens Closer to paper than a screen Tablet screen sizes can differ
  15. 15. Abandoning Assumptions “The TOC must be on the left” “Scrolling vertically is better” Michael Campbell
  16. 16. Abandoning Assumptions “ As designers, we tend to think that people start at the top left and just move left to right and down the page. But research shows that isn’t what happens. People are attracted primarily to contrast, which is one of the key visual principles that has been studied by researchers again and again. Contrast is created by differences in light and dark, thick and thin, big and small. For example, headings that are bolder than the text, Karen Schriver pictures that are big in relation to small pictures. ”
  17. 17. Can we use print composition theories? Kress and Van Leeuven
  18. 18. We can do things differently Some print composition techniques now work on screen We can use a horizontal, paper metaphor Right-sided navigation is now possible
  19. 19. We can do things differently “Deep learning” on screen is now possible
  20. 20. It’s haptic Device can vibrate Device can be aware of user’s location You can pinch and zoom to view some content
  21. 21. Three uses of tablets, from a techcomms view Mobile apps Mobile web Mobile documents
  22. 22. 3.Mobile apps
  23. 23. Smaller, more focused apps Often familiar to user Touch terminology “First user” Help
  24. 24. App abandonment Many used only 3-4 times Help moves to the product description First user interaction Help
  25. 25. Limited traditional online Help Leave the app to read Help Limited help “tools” Advice from Apple No settled standards
  26. 26. We need Help, but not as we know it Flow-based User Assistance
  27. 27. Flow-based User Assistance Don’t break the user’s flow Guide and pre-empt = Help is embedded in the product
  28. 28. Flow-based User Assistance Assistance is provided in context It’s aware of the user’s situation Can advise on a good choice
  29. 29. Apple’s Help patent April 2012
  30. 30. Apple’s Help “templates” Carousel view Shake to change 3D Zoetrope
  31. 31. Gallery of Help examples www.g2meyer.com/gallery/main.php?g2_itemId=5893
  32. 32. 4. Mobile Web
  33. 33. Web-based apps Usually requires a connection to the internet Can look like an app on the desktop Or accessed via the browser
  34. 34. Web-based apps You’ll still have: • Retina screen • Portrait and landscape mode • Touch and haptic interactions when HTML5 is adopted
  35. 35. Web-based apps You don’t need to learn Objective C
  36. 36. So is there Help in Web-based apps? There is lots of Help, (under different names) It is embedded in the applications H/T Briana Wherry, Alfresco
  37. 37. Social Help There is a social element • Co coaching • Social proof H/T Brian Wherry & Robert Cialdini
  38. 38. 5. Mobile documents
  39. 39. Types of mobile documents Electronic Flight Bag Student text books Magazines Operations manuals
  40. 40. Two competing models Format and content Publishing are inseparable Format and content Technical are separate issues Publications
  41. 41. 2 competing models “We’re about to usher in a golden age of PDFs on the iPad.” Paul Ford @fttrain via Karen McGrane
  42. 42. PDFs work well Read in Adobe Reader iBooks, etc Can pinch and zoom Large file size?
  43. 43. EPUB Formatting can be an issue Tables Images Videos must be .mp4 (mv4) format
  44. 44. EPUB in the future? Embedded fonts CSS3 Nested tables Boxed elements SVG graphics Text popups Fixed layouts
  45. 45. HTML5 You can save pages offline in theory
  46. 46. What about mediums for structured content? HTML5 may be your best bet
  47. 47. 6. A SIMPLES strategy
  48. 48. A SIMPLES strategy Scaleable (to different sizes) Intuitive to the user Mobile-friendly Platform-agnostic Legalese (right for the platform) Engaging (to the user) Single sourced (re-usable, extensible content) H/T Keren Okman, SAP
  49. 49. Summary
  50. 50. Plus ça change (plus c'est la même chose)? User Assistance will still be there, but in different places We’ll need to deliver content on different devices, in different formats We’ll be using some new (old) design metaphors Help Authoring tools and HTML5 will solve a lot of the problems we see today
  51. 51. Blatant plugs Q4 Workshops on writing for Web-based apps, iPads & DITA Free monthly newsletter Cherryleaf.com/blog
  52. 52. For more information ellis@cherryleaf.com
  53. 53. Questions?
  54. 54. End (c) Cherryleaf 2012
  55. 55. Upcoming Adobe TechComm Webinars  Content Scenarios for Exploring New Information Products, Joe Gollner, 27 June  Find Out How to Write XSLT Statements for XML to XML Transformations in a 5-part eSeminars Series, 28 June to 19 July, Tom Aldous  Expand Your Content Reuse Potential through Indirect Addressing: Using @keys-based Referencing in DITA 1.2 – Nancy Harrison, 11 July  Are You Tempted to Use a Template to Expedite Policies & Procedure Development? Raymond Urgo – 12 July  Are you struggling to create long, complex documents with Microsoft Word? There is a much easier way! – Tom Aldous, 13 July  Part II: Creating an Accessible Layout – Tips to make documents more accessible (structure, colors, fonts, more) – Char James-Tanney, 17 July,  Part III: Developing Accessible Content – Tips on grammar, paragraph, and sentence length, alternate text, and more – Char James-Tanney, 31 July Calendar of upcoming eSeminars: http://adobe.ly/xdzOYa © 2012 Adobe Systems Incorporated. All Rights Reserved. 55
  56. 56. Questions and Answers © 2012 Adobe Systems Incorporated. All Rights Reserved. 56
  57. 57. Contact Information Information Ellis Pratt Blog Cherryleaf.com/blog Cherryleaf Twitter http://twitter.com/ellispratt Email ellis@cherryleaf.com Web http://cherryleaf.com Maxwell Hoffmann Blog blogs.adobe.com/techcomm Adobe Systems, Inc. Blog blogs.adobe.com/mbhoffmann Product Evangelist Twitter twitter.com/maxwellhoffmann Email n mhoffma @adobe.com Web www.adobe.com LinkedIn www.linkedin.com/in/maxwellhoffmann Facebook maxwell.hoffmann1 Facebook As Adobe Technical Communication Professionals Group Calendar of upcoming eSeminars: http://adobe.ly/xdzOYa Previously recorded eSeminars: http://adobe.ly/qo3pzc © 2012 Adobe Systems Incorporated. All Rights Reserved. Adobe Confidential. 57

Description

With more and more people using tablets for reading technical documentation, this webinar looks at how this trend will affect the way technical documents are designed and developed. We'll look at examples of documents that 'work' on a tablet, as well as documents that don't. We'll explore some of the emerging design trends for presenting technical documentation on tablets, and what they mean for Technical Writers. We'll also investigate how tablets, and the technologies contained within then, could be used to improve the User Assistance we provide to our readers.

Ellis is Director and Help Strategist at Cherryleaf, a technical writing services and training company based near London, in the United Kingdom. He has over fifteen years’ experience working in the field of documentation, has a BA in Business Studies, and is an Associate of the Institution of Engineering and Technology. Ranked the most influential blogger on technical communication in Europe, Ellis is also an author and editor of two books: ‘How to Write Instructions’ and ‘Trends in Technical Communication’.

Transcript

  1. 1. Designing technical documentation for tablets Ellis Pratt | Director | Twitter @ellispratt | www.cherrylear.com | ellis@cherryleaf.com Maxwell Hoffmann | Adobe Product Evangelist | Twitter @maxwellhoffmann | mhoffman@adobe.com © 2012 Adobe Systems Incorporated. All Rights Reserved. Adobe Confidential.
  2. 2. About Adobe  Founded in December 1982  74 Offices in 43 Countries  $4.2 billion in revenue in FY2011  Corporate Headquarters in San Jose, California  More than 10,000 employees  Adobe donates a minimum of 1% of net income to philanthropy We simplify complicated, inefficient, and expensive workflows. We enable more engaging, compelling content. We drive greater return from digital media and marketing investments. © 2012 Adobe Systems Incorporated. All Rights Reserved. 2
  3. 3. About Maxwell Hoffmann Maxwell Hoffmann  Product Evangelist, Tech Comm Suite  Former Product Manager and Sales Training Director for Frame Technology  15 years in translation industry, working on “whatever documents walked through the door”  Trained over 1,200 people in hands-on, scalable publishing solutions © 2012 Adobe Systems Incorporated. All Rights Reserved. Adobe Confidential. 3
  4. 4. About our Guest Thought Leader Ellis Pratt  Director and co-owner of Cherryleaf  Based close to London’s Heathrow Airport  Working in Technical Communications since circa 1996(!) © 2012 Adobe Systems Incorporated. All Rights Reserved. Adobe Confidential. 4
  5. 5. Designing technical documentation for tablets Adobe Webinar Ellis Pratt Cherryleaf
  6. 6. What we’ll cover 1. About me 2. What makes tablet devices different? 3, 4 & 5. Three uses of tablets, from a techcomms view 6. A SIMPLES strategy
  7. 7. 1. About me
  8. 8. Director of Cherryleaf UK technical writing services company My experience is of technical communication in: • UK and Europe • IT & medical equipment QuickTime™ and a decompressor are needed to see this picture. Workshops on writing for Web- based apps, iPads & DITA
  9. 9. 2. What makes tablet devices different?
  10. 10. What we’ll cover The competitors Why are tablets popular? We need to abandon some assumptions
  11. 11. The competitors
  12. 12. Why a tablet? Intuitive to use (almost) Long battery life Portability Bring Your Own Device Retina screen Weight Always on
  13. 13. We need to abandon some assumptions
  14. 14. The screen “Retina” displays Greater contrast on screens Closer to paper than a screen Tablet screen sizes can differ
  15. 15. Abandoning Assumptions “The TOC must be on the left” “Scrolling vertically is better” Michael Campbell
  16. 16. Abandoning Assumptions “ As designers, we tend to think that people start at the top left and just move left to right and down the page. But research shows that isn’t what happens. People are attracted primarily to contrast, which is one of the key visual principles that has been studied by researchers again and again. Contrast is created by differences in light and dark, thick and thin, big and small. For example, headings that are bolder than the text, Karen Schriver pictures that are big in relation to small pictures. ”
  17. 17. Can we use print composition theories? Kress and Van Leeuven
  18. 18. We can do things differently Some print composition techniques now work on screen We can use a horizontal, paper metaphor Right-sided navigation is now possible
  19. 19. We can do things differently “Deep learning” on screen is now possible
  20. 20. It’s haptic Device can vibrate Device can be aware of user’s location You can pinch and zoom to view some content
  21. 21. Three uses of tablets, from a techcomms view Mobile apps Mobile web Mobile documents
  22. 22. 3.Mobile apps
  23. 23. Smaller, more focused apps Often familiar to user Touch terminology “First user” Help
  24. 24. App abandonment Many used only 3-4 times Help moves to the product description First user interaction Help
  25. 25. Limited traditional online Help Leave the app to read Help Limited help “tools” Advice from Apple No settled standards
  26. 26. We need Help, but not as we know it Flow-based User Assistance
  27. 27. Flow-based User Assistance Don’t break the user’s flow Guide and pre-empt = Help is embedded in the product
  28. 28. Flow-based User Assistance Assistance is provided in context It’s aware of the user’s situation Can advise on a good choice
  29. 29. Apple’s Help patent April 2012
  30. 30. Apple’s Help “templates” Carousel view Shake to change 3D Zoetrope
  31. 31. Gallery of Help examples www.g2meyer.com/gallery/main.php?g2_itemId=5893
  32. 32. 4. Mobile Web
  33. 33. Web-based apps Usually requires a connection to the internet Can look like an app on the desktop Or accessed via the browser
  34. 34. Web-based apps You’ll still have: • Retina screen • Portrait and landscape mode • Touch and haptic interactions when HTML5 is adopted
  35. 35. Web-based apps You don’t need to learn Objective C
  36. 36. So is there Help in Web-based apps? There is lots of Help, (under different names) It is embedded in the applications H/T Briana Wherry, Alfresco
  37. 37. Social Help There is a social element • Co coaching • Social proof H/T Brian Wherry & Robert Cialdini
  38. 38. 5. Mobile documents
  39. 39. Types of mobile documents Electronic Flight Bag Student text books Magazines Operations manuals
  40. 40. Two competing models Format and content Publishing are inseparable Format and content Technical are separate issues Publications
  41. 41. 2 competing models “We’re about to usher in a golden age of PDFs on the iPad.” Paul Ford @fttrain via Karen McGrane
  42. 42. PDFs work well Read in Adobe Reader iBooks, etc Can pinch and zoom Large file size?
  43. 43. EPUB Formatting can be an issue Tables Images Videos must be .mp4 (mv4) format
  44. 44. EPUB in the future? Embedded fonts CSS3 Nested tables Boxed elements SVG graphics Text popups Fixed layouts
  45. 45. HTML5 You can save pages offline in theory
  46. 46. What about mediums for structured content? HTML5 may be your best bet
  47. 47. 6. A SIMPLES strategy
  48. 48. A SIMPLES strategy Scaleable (to different sizes) Intuitive to the user Mobile-friendly Platform-agnostic Legalese (right for the platform) Engaging (to the user) Single sourced (re-usable, extensible content) H/T Keren Okman, SAP
  49. 49. Summary
  50. 50. Plus ça change (plus c'est la même chose)? User Assistance will still be there, but in different places We’ll need to deliver content on different devices, in different formats We’ll be using some new (old) design metaphors Help Authoring tools and HTML5 will solve a lot of the problems we see today
  51. 51. Blatant plugs Q4 Workshops on writing for Web-based apps, iPads & DITA Free monthly newsletter Cherryleaf.com/blog
  52. 52. For more information ellis@cherryleaf.com
  53. 53. Questions?
  54. 54. End (c) Cherryleaf 2012
  55. 55. Upcoming Adobe TechComm Webinars  Content Scenarios for Exploring New Information Products, Joe Gollner, 27 June  Find Out How to Write XSLT Statements for XML to XML Transformations in a 5-part eSeminars Series, 28 June to 19 July, Tom Aldous  Expand Your Content Reuse Potential through Indirect Addressing: Using @keys-based Referencing in DITA 1.2 – Nancy Harrison, 11 July  Are You Tempted to Use a Template to Expedite Policies & Procedure Development? Raymond Urgo – 12 July  Are you struggling to create long, complex documents with Microsoft Word? There is a much easier way! – Tom Aldous, 13 July  Part II: Creating an Accessible Layout – Tips to make documents more accessible (structure, colors, fonts, more) – Char James-Tanney, 17 July,  Part III: Developing Accessible Content – Tips on grammar, paragraph, and sentence length, alternate text, and more – Char James-Tanney, 31 July Calendar of upcoming eSeminars: http://adobe.ly/xdzOYa © 2012 Adobe Systems Incorporated. All Rights Reserved. 55
  56. 56. Questions and Answers © 2012 Adobe Systems Incorporated. All Rights Reserved. 56
  57. 57. Contact Information Information Ellis Pratt Blog Cherryleaf.com/blog Cherryleaf Twitter http://twitter.com/ellispratt Email ellis@cherryleaf.com Web http://cherryleaf.com Maxwell Hoffmann Blog blogs.adobe.com/techcomm Adobe Systems, Inc. Blog blogs.adobe.com/mbhoffmann Product Evangelist Twitter twitter.com/maxwellhoffmann Email n mhoffma @adobe.com Web www.adobe.com LinkedIn www.linkedin.com/in/maxwellhoffmann Facebook maxwell.hoffmann1 Facebook As Adobe Technical Communication Professionals Group Calendar of upcoming eSeminars: http://adobe.ly/xdzOYa Previously recorded eSeminars: http://adobe.ly/qo3pzc © 2012 Adobe Systems Incorporated. All Rights Reserved. Adobe Confidential. 57

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