Re: TECHWR-L Digest, Vol 51, Issue 22

Subject: Re: TECHWR-L Digest, Vol 51, Issue 22
From: Julie Stickler <jstickler -at- gmail -dot- com>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Sun, 24 Jan 2010 10:53:41 -0500

On Sun, Jan 24, 2010 at 3:05 AM, David Neeley <dbneeley -at- gmail -dot- com> wrote:
> Of course, I have found typical videos associated with product
> documentation often to be time wasters. When someone is seeking help
> with a very focused and defined issue, too often they must sit through
> a lengthy video just to get the bit they are interested in.

Personally I tend to skim information to see if it is useful to my
purposes, which you can't do with a video. So I wholeheartedly agree
that this is one major disadvantage of video as a format for user

However, when you're talking about a manual skill vs. something you do
on a computer screen, video can be an invaluable tool as you get to
watch someone else do the thing that may be nearly impossible to
describe in words. I've found that when it comes to learning how to
do things with my hands, like french braid my hair, watching a short
video can be better than even the most clearly written instructions.

> For documentation, then, I would pay special attention to the point
> needing the example or clarification that a video can bring--and make
> that video as short and to the point as possible. Rather than
> combining many procedures into a single video, then, I would separate
> them so those seeking help with a particular procedure can get it
> quickly and without particular effort.

Good point! This is a great approach, and one that I think would lead
to making video documentation as helpful as possible for users.

My reply was mostly to point out to all the folks who seem to think
that YouTube is only for cute cat videos and teenagers singing bad
karaoke, that some large and well respected companies are also posting
content to YouTube, whether or not they host the same content on their
own sites. YouTube is just one more possible channel on the ever
lengthening list of possible communication channels to connect with
our users.

Julie Stickler
Blogging about Agile and technical writing

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Re: TECHWR-L Digest, Vol 51, Issue 22: From: David Neeley

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