Re: Creating a consistent look and feel for docs

Subject: Re: Creating a consistent look and feel for docs
From: Dianne Blake <write-it -at- home -dot- com>
To: "Lathrop, Sarah" <Sarah-Lathrop -at- forum-financial -dot- com>, TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 06 Oct 1999 17:02:19 -0700

"Lathrop, Sarah" wrote:
> I don't want to have to spend hours fixing up others documents before
> they can be published, and we don't want to hire a word processing
> person to do it. Have any of you had any experience in getting people
> outside the Documentation group to create documents according to a
> standard?

Dear Sarah,

My job at one company was document designer. This meant that I created
templates and macros for our clients. I also created training materials
that descibed each template and the macros associated with them. I then
went to the client sites and taught their users how to use everything,
based upon the training guide.

Our clients made sure that anyone that had to use the documents, took
the class (sometimes this was tutorial style, other times it was
classroom). When they hired new people, either they hired us again to
train them, or they had an experienced person used the training
materials to train the new people.

The only way I know to ensure that everyone knows how to use customized
templates is to train them. It may only take an hour or two and you
could hold brown-bag seminars. You need a commitment from management or
no matter how wonderful a template you create, someone will come along
and use it incorrectly, or ignore the styles you took hours (or even
days) to create.

Hope this helps. I know it isn't the answer that management will want
to hear, but I know it works. If the template is designed correctly,
users will find that creating documents is easier, the results more
satisfying, and people love short cuts.

- Dianne Blake
write-it -at- home -dot- com

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