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Subject:RE: Evaluation Process - HATs From:Matt Moore <MMoore -at- ConnectWise -dot- com> To:William Sherman <bsherman77 -at- embarqmail -dot- com>, Rick Stone <rstone75 -at- kc -dot- rr -dot- com> Date:Tue, 26 Jul 2011 07:58:28 -0400
I am not suggesting to change the basic principles of help/documentation or turn it into a flash program, I just want it to look current and use current technology. To say that the look, feel and design of content does not matter (or your nice paint job), implies that the changes over the last 10 years were all for not. Tell ABC or Microsoft that design does not matter. Tell Apple that design does not matter. Their company is about design as much as it is about technology. Why do they change their websites frequently.... Why are they using Flash and graphics... May as well go back to all text and no graphics? Sorry, I don't buy that just because it is documentation, it needs to look dated.
When it comes down to it, my biggest complaint is probably the frame design. Where else do we find the use of frames on the net today. There are many reasons why most scrapped them many years ago.
In my company, we copy the URL of the documentation page frequently and send it to our clients or use it internally. This is not as simple as copying the URL when using frames. We will have to create a link on the page using the CSH call.... This one little scenario will cause everyone to need to be retrained (including our clients) on how get the actual page URL. Do you realize how many will just get downright mad about that and quite honestly I really don't want to make our clients mad. That is not so good for my reputation. :)
So I am sure that will throw some more wood into the fire! :)
From: William Sherman [mailto:bsherman77 -at- embarqmail -dot- com]
Sent: Monday, July 25, 2011 7:15 PM
To: Rick Stone; Matt Moore
Cc: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Subject: Re: Evaluation Process - HATs
People frequently pay more for a faulty running car with a perfect paint job rather than a rusty car with a perfectly running engine.
> Hi Matt
> Just an observation here, but have you or your company performed any real
> research on what your customers need or expect from your help?
> My reason for asking is that you may discover that if you elect to switch
> to a more "modern" help output, they will become frustrated and angry as a
> result. Case in point is Microsoft. I hate Hate HATE the "new and
> supposedly *improved*" help they now supply with Office. I get this
> horrible experience that pulls from the web first. There is no Table of
> Contents or Index present to assist me in determining if I'm remotely in
> the right area for what I'm seeking help with. I see Adobe headed in an
> eerily similar direction with their "Community Help" abomination. I see
> reports from many of my Adobe Community Professional peers about how bad
> of a fail the help seems to be.
> Sure it looks different and more "modern". But does that *REALLY* help
> anything or anyone if it fails to do the intended job?
> As a user, I could care less how sexy the help looks. I want ANSWERS!
> Efficient, fast and helpful.
> Just sayin... Rick :)
> On 7/21/2011 3:28 PM, Matt Moore wrote:
>> I am in charge of deciding on a new documentation platform/tool for our
>> software company and putting a plan together for the conversion. We are
>> evaluating Robohelp (Technical Suite), Flare (MadPak) and even
>> considering Dreamweaver. We already have DW in house and many other
>> Adobe products.
>> What are your thoughts now in July of 2011. So much of the information
>> online that I have found is dated..
>> Do you have any comments and thoughts considering our situation or your
>> personal experiences with one or both that might help me.
>> Input -We have over 1000 pages on a web based content management system
>> that has become unmanageable and there are a lot of technical issues with
>> this system. All of these pages will need to be converted using with a
>> HTML import or copy/paste.
>> Output - We will be outputting to WebHelp and will likely output to PDF
>> as well in some cases. Mobile output is a possibility in the future as
>> Format - One of our bigger concerns to customizing the output to look
>> more modern. The frame based output looks dated to us and may look like
>> we are going backwards to our customers. It sounds like with Flare there
>> research RH ability to customize the output. We do internal graphic
>> designers and web developers.
>> Support - I keep hearing that Flare is very good and RH is not so good.
>> Features - Seems to me that they are probably fairly similar and surely
>> Flare will be better at some things and RH will be better at others.
>> Experience - Our technical writer has 2 years of Flare experience and
>> very little RH experience.
>> I appreciate it!!!
>> Matt Moore Business Consultant
>> Email: MMoore -at- ConnectWise -dot- com
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