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

Subject: RE: Using Auto Screen Shot Tools ~ Are They Helpful?
From: "Stuart Burnfield" <slb -at- westnet -dot- com -dot- au>
To: "Techwr-l" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 14 Apr 2015 11:25:23 +0800

I think it was smart to let them know you are open to suggestions. It
sounds like they were well-meaning, even if the timing wasn't great.

The PM's assertion that you WILL use this tool is a concern. Someone
who doesn't know your process is not in a good position to mandate how
to improve it. Could this be the PM's indirect way of saying that you
don't work as fast as they expect? You might need to tactfully explain
two things:

* Screen shots can help to illustrate a procedure, but your complex
environment can't be documented with a chain of screen shots glued
together by introductory text. For example, a complex recipe could be
enhanced by photos of key steps, but you wouldn't have endless photos
of the ingredients, the mixing bowl, the bowl with flour in it, a
spoon in the flour, the oven door, the oven controls, opening the oven
door...

* How your time is spent. If capturing screens takes up less than 5%
of your time, doing it faster is certainly worthwhile but it's not
going to 'greatly enhance the speed of your process'. If you're like
most s/w documenters a lot of your time is spent on reproducing and
writing up bugs and UI problems, hunting down changes between the
implementation and the documented design, figuring out how to organize
the information, and so on. If your boss thinks you just sit in front
of the latest build and start snapping screens, you need to explain
that the road blocks are elsewhere.

Having said all that, I bet you will find uses for auto screen
capping. Here are two ways I've used the auto option in Screenshot
Captor:

* Capture several screens for later editing. Insert a placeholder
with the name of the file and continue writing the procedure while
it's all fresh in your mind. Do all your editing and cropping in one
session. Open the topic and replace each placeholder with the inserted
graphic

* Take screen shots under different scenarios, such as installation
and configuration choices, user roles, or combinations of plug-ins.
Even if they don't end up in the user docs, they're a handy reference
so you don't refer to a widget that isn't available in a given
scenario.

--- Stuart

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