Authorware vs...? (long message)

Subject: Authorware vs...? (long message)
From: tbeverly -at- creativesolutions -dot- com
To: techwr-l
Date: Wed, 26 Jan 2000 7:38:30

I work in a department of about fifteen technical writers, and we're
beginning to investigate software for the authoring of tutorials that would
ship with CDs of our software. Much of what we've seen is pushing us toward
Authorware, but some very important questions have arisen, and we need help
to decide whether Authorware will work for us, or if there is something
else that might better suit our needs.

We will have some time to learn the software, but there may be several of
us who will need to learn it. None of us are programmers. We work primarily
with tools like RoboHelp and Word. We need to use detailed screen shots. We
might have limited access to graphics people. Given these circumstances,
here are my questions...though geared toward Authorware, I would be
interested in answers from the perspective of other applications.

--Can a writer produce a professional-looking tutorial in Authorware
without programming proficiency? How would the lack of such proficiency
limit us? (We may have some access to programmers too, in the off-season.)

--I read everywhere about Authorware's steep learning curve, and that six
to eight months may be required for learning it. Is it that bad?

--Does Authorware require vector graphics (as Macromedia Flash seems to) or
does it work well with bitmaps and other basic formats?

--How does sound work in Authorware? What sound format(s) does the
application support? What hardware, software and/or plug-ins must a user
have to hear sound?

--How would Authorware's cost compare with that of other applications,
especially considering that there may be seven to fifteen licenses needed
for authoring?

--Is Authorware a product that will allow us to expand into other areas
(Web demos and/or tutorials, etc.)?

Thanks in advance for any responses. I'd also be interested in knowing
people's overall impressions of the latest release of Authorware and of
other CBT and WBT authoring tools.

Tom Beverly
Technical Communications
Creative Solutions
tbeverly -at- creativesolutions -dot- com

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