Archive for March, 2010

Interview with Edward Martino, PhD: AIRHelp by Adobe RoboHelp—energizes eCommerce Technical Support

Think about it, for the last 15 years, Help
hasn’t changed much, the traditional tri-pane format has remained
static and hasn’t kept up with trending Web 2.0 technologies, and as a
result it does not meet today’s end-user expectations.
 

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What
we need is a revolution in user assistance

We need not think
of Help as a box that needs to be checked before a product ships, but
rather as a Social opportunity to engage with our users and ultimately
as a way to build communities around our products and services.

Enter
AIRHelp by Adobe RoboHelp!

Don’t think of AIRHelp
merely as another output format, think of Adobe AIR as an innovative
platform on which to build engaging user assistance experiences and
think of AIRHelp as the delivery mechanism.

While AIRHelp was
introduced in RoboHelp 8 and thus it’s relatively new, the idea is
resonating well with our customers, especially because if doesn’t require any programming to build it. It’s my goal to showcase on this
blog, what our customers are doing with this new and innovative platform through short
interviews like this one.

I had the pleasure of interviewing
Edward Martino, PhD, and I am very impressed and excited about
all the great insight he shared about using AIRHelp to energize his eCommerce Technical Support teams.

I
hope you enjoy reading this interview and if you want to learn more
about AIRHelp, or want to share what you are doing with it, please email
me at rjacquez(at)adobe.com.


RJ: Ed, thanks for agreeing to speak with me today. I’ve gotten to know you well over the last few months, but for my readers who don’t know you, please tell us a little about yourself.

Ed: RJ, I am a boomer geek with over 35 years of systems experience. About 3 years ago I stopped developing with an esoteric 4GL called Dataflex in order to find better opportunities. With my academic background (PhD in Experimental Psychology and 5 years teaching experience) Instructional Designer work seemed a logical career move. Since the change, I have worked for Accenture, ATT and  now McKesson. Working as an Instructional Designer, or Technical Communicator if you prefer, is quite satisfying as the tasks use more of my skills and the new tools are really great to work with. I am a happy camper with a new exciting career path!


RJ: Happy to hear that, Ed. As an Instructional Designer / Technical Communicator at McKesson, which Adobe tools are you currently using?

Ed: Currently I am using RoboHelp 8, Adobe Captivate 4 and Acrobat 9 Pro Extended. When I started with McKesson last August, their help systems were written in HTML but they were not up-to-date. I began migrating the main systems to RoboHelp my second week on the job. Over the next two months, I completed the initial online conversion and began working on converting the Knowledge Base (KB) that the eCommerce Technical Support team uses daily to find answers to common issues.

In October, we had a meeting with several other departments that was initiated by my Manager, James Lytton. In that meeting  the VP of Sales, Robert Fearing, expressed an interest in having a community-based help system that was “wiki like”. The week before I had viewed your introduction to Adobe AIR for Technical Communicators webinar. I then proceeded to build the new version of the Knowledge Base using RoboHelp 8 and to deploy it in Adobe AIRHelp.

Since we rolled out the initial version of this system, in mid December, our staff has updated the module over 25 times and we have processed over 100 comments from users.

I have now migrated the primary help files presented through WebHelp on the customer-facing side into the AIRHelp Knowledge Base. We have more help systems of other applications that we plan to load into the AIRHelp module. Technical Support Agents are very pleased with the full text search, speed of access, continuing updates, and ability to comment. While we have just started to review the metrics, it appears that the features offered by AIRHelp are helping our Technical Support Agents resolve issues more quickly, frequently on the customer’s first call.

Oh, I almost forgot to mention that I am also developing a number of Captivate 4 simulations. We use these both for training and for our internal Performance Support (PS). The PS Sims will reside in the Knowledge Base for reference allowing Agents quick access to just in time learning for a number of processes.


RJ: Wiki-like, I like that. Glad to hear that your eCommerce Technical Support teams are now using AIRHelp on a daily basis. You mentioned that you have now processed over 100 comments from users, so what feedback are you getting from them about the ability to comment on topics, versus using the previous, more static HTML-based system?

Ed:  Well they are really much more engaged with the AIRHelp systems. Having their comments processed within the work week has become a big win for the team. In the past updates were not done in a timely manner. Sometimes it took weeks or longer for updates to be posted.

Here is a behavioral observation about the effect of AIRHelp in our environment.

When I first started, I often saw Level I Technical Support (TS) Agents getting up from their desks to find the Subject Matter Expert (SME) for an answer to a specific question. This seemed inefficient as the Level II SMEs were frequently backed up with 3 or 4 Level I TS Agents waiting their turn.  Now, Level I TS Agents are more often at their desks providing support. Once in a while a SME has to get up and assist, but in general the workflow here looks much smoother. I believe this workflow improvement is due to the unique properties of Adobe AIRHelp.

Today, at James’ request, I loaded 50 more topics from yet another module into the Knowledge Base. By Friday, the AIRHelp module will have another 100 topics available. Of course, they LOVE the instantaneous search results, which very efficiently guide them to the answers they seek. In McKesson eCommerce Technical support, AIRHelp Rules!


RJ: Let’s talk about the auto-update feature in Adobe AIRHelp. Can you share how updates were made before AIRHelp and the benefits the auto-update feature has added to the overall experience?

Ed: Before we began delivering our Knowledge Base with AIRHelp, updates were basically haphazard. Zach O’Neal, a Level II TS Agent and SME, did them when he had time. TS Agents would send Zach emails with update information. Agents often became frustrated because important information they needed to support customers was often not processed until weeks or months after the request.

Now Agents either make comments in the Knowledge Base using AIRHelp themselves  or send email directly to another Agent who makes the updates and generates the “AIRHelp” output to a shared drive. I also provide a list of all requested comments to the agent who makes the updates, allowing her to double-check the changes.  This Wednesday we added changes to existing topics as well as new topics that I imported from another help system. Later that afternoon, I got an IM from an Agent that said “I just love the new KB module. Today’s update had just what I needed to find. Thanks for all your hard work :).”

As you know, Technical Communicators often wonder if anyone reads our work. With Adobe AIRHelp’s commenting and updating features, I know that our Agents are using the module and, more importantly, that it helps them do their jobs better.


RJ: I hear similar comments all the time from Technical Communicators so I’m glad to hear that you are seeing AIRHelp bridge the gap between authors and end-users. You mentioned that you are also using Adobe Captivate for training & Performance Support (PS)

Could we talk a little about how you implement rich media (such as simulations) in AIRHelp and the benefits of other media for end-users?

Ed: I just finished a Captivate Performance Support simulation for the keyword-based search feature that our customers use for ordering. I also received a new list of data elements  involved in the search from our VP of Marketing.

I will use several Adobe tools to package this content and meet my users’ needs:

  1. I am adding the data elements list AND the simulation to the AIRHelp module for our team and the Customer Service team that will be getting the Knowledge Base shortly.
  2. Next week our trainer will be in town and she will get the same materials packaged in a .pdf for use with new customer and initial Agent trainings.
  3. Finally, we will send the combined .pdf to the developer who manages the customer facing help systems so he can post it on our web portal for customers to use.  

So, in total we will get three different uses from this content with RH+AIR+Captivate+Acrobat Pro Extended as our tool set. Welcome to Web 2.0.

To give another example of how RoboHelp’s AIRHelp has impacted my team, here’s a little true tale from yesterday. One of our Agents, Lisa, came to my desk yesterday with a frustrated look on her face. “I didn’t get today’s update on my system. I don’t have the most recent version. Can you help me with this?” So I showed her how to check manually for the Update > Preferences > Check for Update > Check Now and sent her back to her station. Our Agents are very busy and although that info about Preferences was in the intro AIR simulation, she must have missed it.

When I passed by her station 10 minutes later, Lisa was smiling and reviewing some of the newest info from the Knowledge Base.  My team now is fully invested in the Knowledge Base. Their comments, corrections and additions have made them partners in the process of building and maintaining the Knowledge Base.

Adobe RoboHelp’s AIRHelp output clearly closes the gap between user and Technical Communicator, making for better experiences for both. No longer will technical communicators have to wonder if anyone reads their work. AIRHelp by RoboHelp output rocks!


RJ: That’s great! Since most people think that you need to be a programmer to develop Adobe AIR applications, can you share from an author’s perspective what it takes to build AIRHelp using RoboHelp?

Ed: RJ, building AIRHelp from RoboHelp is really very easy. After I viewed your

Web 2.0 Documentation using Adobe AIR and RoboHelp 8 back in November, I started to test AIRHelp. By the way, one tip that you gave on the webinar was most helpful – the one about building the “trial” digital certificate. I would have not thought that out by myself. Thanks a lot for sharing that tidbit!

After a few tests with the other skins, my team and I decided on the Black Accordion skin which has a nice clean modern look. It took a few days from the time I viewed the webinar until I had a working AIR module with commenting enabled and auto-updating working, but most of that time was just my learning a few procedural details. For example, to reliably change the Version #, which the system needs to manage the auto-updates, one should bring up the AIR layout  from “Properties” change the Version #, save the layout, and then generate the module.  I also started with a local generate to my C: drive and only went to the shared drive once I had the procedure down. My IT guy had to help with one step. For some reason, I could not browse to the shared folder for the comments, so we had to cut and paste the path from the AIRHelp file location. 

In summary, RoboHelp does 95% of the work needed to make AIRHelp, so you certainly do not need to be a programmer to generate AIR output from RH. The author’s task is simply to correctly set up the layout. While this step took me a few trials to get right, I am very pleased with the results. If you are a Technical Communicator looking to put some more “sizzle” in your work, I strongly recommend you take a close look at AIRHelp output. AIRHelp shortens the distance and timeline between TCs and  their users. I feel most strongly that AIRHelp is only the beginning of the next generation of Adobe AIR tools that will bring many into the world of Web 2.0 or even Web 3.0! Stay tuned everyone. We’re just getting warmed up!


RJ: I agree; this is just the beginning. I understand that you are including a short Adobe Captivate simulation in your AIRHelp so that your end-users can quickly become familiar with navigating around this new format. Is this something you can share with my readers?

Ed: Sure, RJ. Since AIRHelp was a new cool format for the McKesson Knowledge Base, it seemed logical to make a little simulation to introduce the team to AIRHelp. I created the original simulation in a few hours with Captivate 4. I confess that the idea was Zach’s, but I was happy to use it. After we recently added more modules, I revised the simulation so readers will see the current version . This version has over 400 topics and a number of .pdf baggage files. The compiled AIRHelp file is about 35 MB.  My team is very happy with the instantaneous full text search because it makes everyone’s day a little smoother. Web 2.0 is really here! Adobe AIRHelp Rocks!

RJ: It has been great talking about AIRHelp with you, Ed. Thank you for your time.

Ed: You are welcome and thanks for the opportunity.


Contributing Editor:
Stan Samuels
Stan is a writer, editor, and content developer who lives in Decatur, Georgia. You can view his LinkedIn profile at http://www.linkedin.com/pub/stan-samuels/6/80/492

Additional Resources:

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Introducing Adobe Acrobat.com Workspaces

Today, Adobe is introducing Acrobat.com Workspaces, a new collaboration space that lets teams inside and outside of organizations work together on projects. With Workspaces, team members can store and organize project content online, and easily share and manage team access to files – eliminating the need to continually e-mail updates.  

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Teams can create Shared Workspaces to store and share a set of files related to a project, letting distributed team members work together across times zones and firewalls, with no special file sharing software or IT involvement necessary. 

Workspaces help increase the productivity of project teams by letting members efficiently work together through central, easy-to-use Workspaces.  Users simply access an online Workspace to review and collaborate on documents.

Acrobat.com users can create one free Shared Workspace, while Premium Basic subscribers can create 20 Workspaces and Premium Plus subscribers can create an unlimited number of Workspaces.

More information on Acrobat.com Workspaces can be found on https://acrobat.com/features_online_workspaces.html.

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The Role of Social Media in Technical Communication: Download PDF Portfolio

I have been looking for an opportunity to share a PDF Portfolio and the opportunity just presented itself.

Recently, David Farbey posted on his blog a PDF document of the ISTC’s quarterly journal, Communicator, which has a special supplement
(sponsored by Adobe) on The role
of social media in technical communication
.

 

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Here’s an excerpt of the introduction to this special supplement:

This is the first special supplement to be published with the ISTC’s quarterly journal, Communicator. Our decision to publish it now reflects the impact that many technical communicators expect social media to have on our profession. Our thanks to Adobe Systems for its generous support and to Christie Fidura, EMEA Marketing Manager, for her help.
I should underline that we‘re looking at the professional applications for these tools. Yes, social media is often used for frivolous purposes. No, that’s not all it can do. Before you dismiss it, remember that most have us have been using e-mail groups and online forums for quite some time. What used to be called ‘new media’ is no longer new and it’s up to us to work out how we can make best use of each fresh channel that becomes available.
Here we consider social media from the perspective of how it can be incorporated into an overall information platform that integrates content from various sources and delivers it through various channels. Four articles from well-known contributors explore the potential of social media to fit into our content strategies and address some of our long-standing problems. In particular, we consider its role in communicating with our users, something that
has always been notoriously difficult for technical communicators.

While attending WritersUA in Seattle this week, I demonstrated creating PDF Portfolios in Acrobat 9 Pro and the idea resonated well with our Adobe Technical Communication Suite customers.

For a PDF Portfolio version of this supplement, click the image below and download the file from Acrobat.com. Please note that you need the free Adobe Reader 9 to view the file.

If you are interesting in learning how you can create your own PDF Portfolios like this one, leave a comment and I will publish a how-to video.

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Adobe Creative Suite 5 First Look: April 12th

I have some very exciting news to share with you! Yesterday (3/23/10) we announced that on April 12th you can take a first look at Adobe Creative Suite C5 during an exclusive global launch event on Monday, April 12, 2010 at 8am PDT / 11am EDT / 5pm CEST.

Register now to participate.

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Over the last few months, the CS5 teams have been posting a number of sneak peek videos on functionality they are working on, and from all the videos I have seen, I find this particular one on content-aware fill in Photoshop one of the most compelling features.

I will continue to share more information about the CS5 launch here and on Twitter @rjacquez, please stay tuned.

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I just learned from the Creative Suite 5 team about this cool countdown widget, so I’m embedding it here. Click the "EMBED WIDGET" button to copy the code and paste it in your own blog or web site:

 

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Adobe Illustrator CS4 giveaway on Twitter

I joined Twitter roughly a year ago, and I can honestly say that I have enjoyed every minute of it. It has now become a tradition for me to do a giveaway each time I reach one thousand new users and here we are again, just a few followers away from three thousand. tweetmeme_url = ‘http://blogs.adobe.com/rjacquez/2010/03/adobe_illustrator_cs4_giveaway.html';
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To celebrate all the great Tweeps I have met, and the great conversations we have had, this time I’m giving away a full copy of Adobe Illustrator CS4 for Windows. I chose Illustrator mainly because it’s not included in my two Suites, namely Adobe Technical Communication Suite 2 and Adobe eLearning Suite.

Having said that, here are the rules to participate:

  1. Follow me on Twitter @rjacquez. For those already following me, see step 2.
  2. ReTweet this blog post by clicking the ReTweet button located at the top right of this blog post.
  3. Done.

Unlike previous drawings I’ve done, where every follower qualified, this time I will narrow it to just those who follow these two steps above, so please make sure you follow the steps to qualify.

I will announce the winner on Tuesday, March 23.

Thanks for playing and may the luckiest Tweep win!

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Interview with Jason Nichols: AIRHelp—taking documentation to the next level

Think about it, for the last 15 years, Help hasn’t changed much, the traditional tri-pane format has remained static and hasn’t kept up with trending Web 2.0 technologies, and as a result it does not meet today’s end-user expectations.  

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What we need is a revolution in user assistance, we need not think of Help as a box that needs to be checked before a product ships, but rather as a Social opportunity to engage with our users and ultimately as a way to build communities around our products and services.

Enter Adobe AIRHelp by RoboHelp!

Don’t think of AIRHelp merely as another output format, think of Adobe AIR as an innovative platform on which to build engaging user assistance experiences and think of AIRHelp as the delivery mechanism.

While AIRHelp was introduced in RoboHelp 8 and thus it’s relatively new, the idea is resonating well with our customers and it’s my goal to showcase on this blog, what our customers are doing with this new platform through short interviews like this one.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Jason Nichols from ReadSoft, and I was very impressed and excited about all the great insight he shared about AIRHelp. I did my best to underline what I thought was the best sound-bites from the interview.

I hope you enjoy reading this interview and if you want to learn more about AIRHelp, or want to share what you are doing with it, please email me at rjacquez(at)adobe.com.


RJ: Jason, thanks for agreeing to this interview. I’ve gotten to know you well on Twitter, but for my readers who don’t know you, please tell us a little about yourself.

Jason: I am an Information Developer and Trainer at ReadSoft, a software company based in Sweden, which specialises in document automation. I come from Sydney, Australia and have lived in Europe (Sweden and previously, Germany) for the last nine years. I have been working as an information developer since 1998 (with a short spell as a network technician in between). Prior to ReadSoft I worked at Yahoo! in the development of Yahoo! Go. I am married and have a daughter who is nearly two years. I am also chairman of the Helsingborg Comedy Club.


RJ: As an Information Developer and Trainer, can you share with us what Adobe tools you and your team currently use and the deliverables you create as it related to Documentation?

Jason: The Technical Communication team at ReadSoft has been using RoboHelp and Acrobat since 1997. In September 2009 we purchased Adobe Technical Communication Suite 2. We use RoboHelp 8 to generate HTML Help (CHM), WebHelp (HTML), and just recently also AIRHelp and Word documents. We use Acrobat to create the final PDFs. Our documentation also includes screencasts and images produced with Captivate and Photoshop.


RJ: Glad to hear that you are using our entire Suite of Tools. Let’s talk about Adobe AIRHelp. When did you first learn about it and how are you using it internally?

Jason: We first heard about AIRHelp in June 2009. We were looking into the new features of RoboHelp 8 and read AIRHelp was a new output format. In the course of this research, I came across a recording of one of your eLearning sessions: “Building Web 2.0 Help using Adobe AIR and RoboHelp 8.” Well, after watching this, we just had to try it! :-) We started building our first two pilots late in 2009—one, a new Help; the other, an import of a existing guide from Microsoft Word. We now have five pilots in production. They are pilots in the sense that they are for internal use only. We are testing AIRHelp’s commenting feature, it’s ability to display the latest topic versions when online, as well as the ability for us to push out entire AIRHelp application updates. We’ve just started using the commenting feature to have drafts reviewed.


RJ: In your opinion, what are some of the most compelling and unique features in AIRHelp that other formats, such as CHM and WebHelp do not have?

Jason: CHM and WebHelp are static files/pages. An author writes the Help and it is included in an application or posted to a website. There is a large disconnect between the author and the readership, which is very strange because the reader depends on the author for answers. If you were reading a document written by someone who works in the same office as you, you’d probably go up to him/her later with questions and points you would like more information about. This does not and cannot happen if you’re creating just static Help files, to the detriment of your readers. You’re erecting a barrier between them and yourself. An email address for feedback doesn’t even go half-way to bridging this divide.  Further, why should the author have all the answers? Or the engineers and other persons the author gets information from? The number of readers is usually much greater and their combined body of knowledge is huge. AIRHelp, with it’s commenting feature, is the first step to tapping into that knowledge and making it available for everyone, making the Help more helpful. It’s something akin to a discussion board or blog commenting, in a Help application

AIRHelp also gives readers access to the latest version of the Help. As AIRHelp is installed on the reader’s computer, authors can push out updates without having to wait for a new product release to bundle the Help with. In contrast, once a CHM file is shipped, the author kisses it goodbye and starts working on the next project. The poor reader!

AIRHelp also looks great. It’s hard to make your documentation look modern, let alone cutting-edge, when you have to churn out CHM files, which have been around for 13 years!

We like AIRHelp for other reasons as well. The advantage that AIRHelp has is that it’s an Adobe AIR application, which is an exciting new platform to provide rich, interactive experiences to users. Check out Wired magazine’s electronic version using AIR. Brilliant! I really can’t wait for the next version of AIRHelp that Adobe releases.


RJ: I’m glad you brought up the auto-update feature in Adobe AIR, because I think this is one of the most compelling and unique features of Adobe AIR in general. Companies like TweetDeck, which make a Twitter client based on Adobe AIR, are implementing this feature in order to notify their users whenever new updates are available. Similarly with AIRHelp, this will ensure that end-users are always using the very latest version of the Help.

Can you share how this has improved the overall experience for your pilot projects and what feedback how you received from your end-users?

Jason: Our users have been pleasantly surprised. Prior to AIRHelp, two issues that cropped up every now and again were: First, is the Help/document I downloaded a couple of months ago the latest version? Second, if it isn’t, where can I get the update? The auto-update feature solves these problems. Once the Help is installed, users always know they have the latest version on their computers.


RJ: You mentioned above the aesthetics of AIRHelp and pointed out how this differs from the look-and-feel of the old MS HTML Help (chm) format. I’m hearing from customers that they see AIRHelp as a viable replacement for CHM, what’s your take on this?

Jason: I think AIRHelp combines the practicality of bundling a CHM file with an application (using context sensitivity for example) and the up-to-date and community benefits of online documentation and support sites. In this regard, AIRHelp is definitely a successor to CHM. Once the technical implementation tasks have been resolved (AIRHelp is an installable, unlike CHM), there’s no reason to keep producing CHM. May it rest in peace.


RJ: Good point. In a recent interview, our CTO mentioned that as of now, there are over 300M installation of Adobe AIR, so I think this bodes well for the adoption of AIRHelp. Let’s go back and talk about the recent collaboration between Adobe and Wired, which you mentioned above.

When I first learned about it, all I could think of was AIRHelp on Tablets. Recently we also announced that AIR would work on mobile devices, starting with Google Android devices. What impact do you think this will have on mobile Documentation moving forward as more and more users will access the internet via mobile devices?

Jason: A large percentage of technical communicators are already writing documentation that must be presented on different platforms. Most software applications support more than one operating system. Take Spotify as an example, they have apps—and therefore must have corresponding documentation—for PC, Mac, iPhone, Android and Symbian. And with the further development of mobile devices—of all shapes and sizes—the challenge is to present the same and similar content on all of them. How? For years I was—and still am—a firm believer in XML and using single-sourcing to pubish to different formats. But the problem of publishing to divergent electronic mediums can also be solved by generating a format that can be understood by all. And this is another advantage of AIRHelp, and I’m really glad Android has been added to the list of supported platforms. Admittedly, you also have the option of using PDF, HTML, or Java, but AIRHelp trumps all of them—it provides a much richer user experience. And it’s only in version 1.0!

I don’t think AIRHelp should be seen as being restricted to documentation for software applications. I can also envisage AIRHelp being used by technicians working in the field using their mobile devices to refer to manuals and instructions, but in a more interactive way, using formats incorporating videos and 3D that we’ve only just started to develop.


RJ: I agree and my team and I are making sure we also expose AIRHelp to industries beyond Technical Documentation.

Let’s talk about the commenting feature in AIRHelp. I saw a Tweet this morning from you, sharing that you had just finished your first review using AIRHelp and that you had submitted 122 comments. Your colleague @bruhacsreadsoft has gotten 60+ review comments and is responding to them using AIRHelp as well. You also mentioned that you used to use an MS Word Table in the past. Can you share with us a bit about the old way of conducting reviews and the benefits you are seeing already from using AIRHelp’s collaboration features?

Jason: Our peer review form in Microsoft Word was just a table with three columns: Help topic title, reviewer comments, and writer feedback comments. The reviewer wrote the comments and sent them to the writer. (Peer reviewers never do changes themselves; we think it’s better for the writer themselves to implement them.) The writer could subsequently add comments and questions for the reviewer. For our new AIRHelp projects, we tested submitting comments directly in the Help. Actually, it just seemed like the natural thing to do because there was already a commenting feature in AIRHelp. Even if you’re generating some other kind of Help output, you could still use AIRHelp purely to conduct reviews. It’s just simplier. As a reviewer, I just went from topic to topic, adding my comments for each one. The author syncs the comments to get the updates. This is especially helpful for large projects, because you don’t have to wait for the editor to finish reviewing all topics—he/she can update topics as the comments come in. The author can also add his/her own comments and questions directly in the Help, which the reviewer can then see and respond to.

The AIRHelp comments feature is also very useful when you have multiple reviews, as we often do: a peer review by a writer and a technical review by a developer or consultant. Each can see the other’s comments and may get ideas for other review points based on what the other person has written. The potential for discussion is there. The review process is more interactive and hopefully this benefits the resulting Help.


RJ: I really like your idea of recommending to customers that they use AIRHelp to conduct reviews, even if they may not end up publishing in this format.

In my experience, most people I speak to, initially think that they need to be programmers to develop Help based on Adobe AIR and that they need to understand Adobe Flex and know how to work with the AIR SDK, basically do lots of coding. Can you share your experience generating AIRHelp in terms of what it takes to generate it in RoboHelp and whether you need to be a coder?

Jason: That’s interesting—a colleague from marketing, when I first showed him one of our AIRHelp projects—also asked if we had produced it using Adobe Flex. No—AIRHelp is as easy to produce as any other output format in RoboHelp. It’s just another Single Source Layout (SSL). There are some new options for the AIRHelp SSL for comments, searches, and so on—nothing out of the ordinary. So once the SSL is configured, you can generate the AIRHelp. You don’t need to code anything. You just need to be familiar with RoboHelp. And even if you’re not, well, it’s still pretty easy.


RJ: Well said. Is there anything I missed that you’d like to add in closing about AIRHelp?

Also, we have been using Acrobat.com’s Buzzword, our wordprocessor in the cloud, for our interview, and I’m interested in hearing your overall experience with Buzzword and if you see ways in which Technical Communicators can use Buzzword for collaborative projects?

Jason: I was really glad when I found out that there was a replacement for CHM, and especially one built on such a forward-looking technology like Adobe AIR. It’s also brought more enthusiasm to our Technical Communication team, with the promise of taking documentation to the next level. As I said, I’m really looking forward to future versions of AIRHelp.

Regarding Buzzword, I like it a lot. It’s very “clean.” What I mean by that is that not only are documents stored in a central location that everyone can access via a web browser, you also don’t have to open another application to view and make edits, and multiple users can perform these actions simultaneously without waiting for the other person to check-in a file. So it’s very suited to documents that are co-authored.


RJ: It has been fun talking about AIRHelp and RoboHelp with you and I thank you for your time.

Jason: A pleasure. Thanks for the opportunity.


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Adobe Captivate 4 for New Users: Recording

If you are just getting started with Adobe Captivate 4, here’s a recording from an eSeminar I hosted awhile back for brand new users.  

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The recording is 01:45:37 long and it covers different ways of creating new projects, as well as recording software simulations, the basics of editing, previewing and publishing projects.

Click HERE to watch the recording of Adobe Captivate 4 for New Users.

Please user your Adobe ID and password to sign in.

 

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Using the right tool in Adobe Technical Communication Suite 2 for the job: Recording

In case you missed my latest eSeminar entitled “Using the right tool in Adobe Technical Communication Suite 2 for the job,” the recording is now available.  

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During the eSeminar, I was asked to share the slide deck, as well as the AIRHelp sample and the sample PDF Portfolio I used in the demonstration. Use the links below to access these resources:

Click HERE to watch the recording of Using the right tool in Adobe TCS2 for the job
(duration: 01:02:17)
. Please user your Adobe ID and password to sign in.

TIP:
I typically set my desktop resolution to 1024 x 768 for best recording
results, however because I was showing apps, which require high
resolution, you will notice some distortion in the demonstration part
of the recording. Something you may want to try is to click the
“Scroll” button at the bottom left of the Connect Pro window, which
will help you zoom in closer and follow the action around the
presenter’s mouse.  To the right is what the button looks like in all
Connect Pro recordings.

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