RE: Using Auto Screen Shot Tools ~ Are They Helpful?

Subject: RE: Using Auto Screen Shot Tools ~ Are They Helpful?
From: Jill Gallagher <jill -dot- gallagher -at- outlook -dot- com>
To: "Janoff, Steven" <steven -dot- janoff -at- hologic -dot- com>, "techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 13 Apr 2015 16:16:27 -0700

In retrospect, I would have written my email without the snarky description of the encounter. ;)
Because my original email already read like a novel, I hesitated to describe all of the details of my reaction to the auto tool suggestion. In addition, I could have described the level of our need for screen shots and the complexity of our health care industry software, which would have been helpful.
My original email says that I told them, "I'll look into it next week."
But I also emphatically told them that I'm open to and interested in new things; it's just that it's Friday at 3:30 and I'm immersed in a project and I'm too exhausted to look into it at present.
So I inadvertently sounded as though I'm not open to new ideas from others. That's not the case. On countless occasions throughout my career (and personal life) I have always been open to new ideas from others, including co-workers at any level and in any department.
The Project Manager said that the auto screen shot tool WOULD be instrumental in the development of my documentation moving forward; that it would greatly enhance the speed of my process.
So my real question is about the viability and usefulness of auto screen shot tools for use in the day-to-day development of complex software user documentation. Is my method of grabbing each one as I go just as good or better? I was looking for insight from others who may have used such a tool. And I needed validation: Am I or am I not going about this screen grabbing properly under my specific circumstances?
Whew! :)
Regards,
Jill

> From: Steven -dot- Janoff -at- hologic -dot- com
> To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com; jill -dot- gallagher -at- outlook -dot- com
> Subject: RE: Using Auto Screen Shot Tools ~ Are They Helpful?
> Date: Mon, 13 Apr 2015 22:20:57 +0000
>
> Probably easy to say this from afar, but I would have at least tried to humor them and mirror their excitement, maybe give it a try, unless you were so deep into that editing project that pulling yourself out of it would have forced you to have to come in over the weekend when you wouldn't have had to do that otherwise.
>
> Sometimes deadlines are just so pressing that interruptions like these are understandably trying and stressful. But you also want to show that you're willing to try new things. Folks in those roles appreciate someone who's flexible and interested in new technology.
>
> But I know the feeling. Especially when you have a system that works so well for you, and the "new" system will likely be more of a setback if the folks on the other side don't really understand what you have to go through day to day.
>
> Still, if you give that capture tool a chance, you might be able to adapt it in ways that actually create more efficiency for you. It just might take you a few days to get to that point. But it could turn your current process upside down in a good way, and ultimately save you lots of time.
>
> You might want to consider investigating that tool when you have more time. But if you don't, I'll completely understand. (I might have done the same thing in your situation.)
>
> It's just an alternate view also partly because everybody's telling you to stick to your guns. It's fine to stick with what works but on the flip side, don't cheat yourself out of something that could make your job better -- or add to your toolbox of skills.
>
> Steve
>
> PS - I notice your original post includes "Are They Helpful?" in the subject, so presumably you're open to the idea of looking into them.
>
> On Friday, April 10, 2015 4:05 PM, Jill Gallagher wrote:
>
> Today a project manager (and an IT guy) approached me, all excited about a Microsoft auto screen shot tool she just learned about that will really be beneficial to me and revolutionize my job as a technical writer (who knew?) She wanted me to drop what I was doing and look into it with them immediately at my desk. I did rebuff them, as I was deep in an editing project and I was annoyed, I admit. I'll look into it next week, I told them.
> I've never used an automated screen shot tool (static screens, not video) and I don't see the value of "whipping" through an unfamiliar software process in order to quickly create a bevy of numerically named screen shots in a folder. I would still need to revisit each one, rename it, edit it (cropping, etc. as needed), plunk it into my document, and write a draft of the steps associated with it.
> My current process is to navigate through the software, digesting the material as the "user," while stopping to create each screen shot using Snippit (that's what we have here). This method allows me to name and save the screen shot and insert it into my document on the fly. I find it especially helpful if I'm learning the software as I go, which is usually the case for technical writers. That's part of our job. In addition, part of my job is to evaluate the user interface and find bugs. My turtle process suits me better than that of the hare. It's more thoughtful and thorough it seems.
> Also, can auto screen shot tools capture dropdown menus?
> Regards,
> Jill GallagherTechnical Writer/Editor/Manual Screen Shot Creator
>

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References:
Using Auto Screen Shot Tools ~ Are They Helpful?: From: Jill Gallagher
RE: Using Auto Screen Shot Tools ~ Are They Helpful?: From: Janoff, Steven

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