New FrameMaker user’s guide: sliced, diced, and enhanced

v2_fm_iconOver the years, many of you from the FrameMaker community shared rich feedback on the content and structure of the FrameMaker user’s guide. We’ve been listening and we’ve spent several busy months acting on the feedback to create an improved user’s guide that meets your content requirements better.

So, what exactly has changed? As we analyzed your feedback, some key themes emerged:

  • Content organization: FrameMaker is a powerful product packed with rich functionality. However, not all users use all of its functionality all the time. While improving the guide, we made a conscious attempt to minimize scattering of information and keep content around related features together. For example, information about using structured authoring features forms two neat chapters in the new user’s guide. This information was spread across several chapters in the earlier user’s guide.
  • Workflow-based approach: The new user’s guide makes it easier for you to just get things done. We’ve tried to step into your shoes and figure out what information you’d need and in what order. That you’d shared useful feedback over the years made our job a lot easier. So, whether it’s managing graphics or single-sourcing content, we walk you through relevant concepts and tasks in an order congruent with FrameMaker workflows. With apologies to Coleridge, might we say, the best content in the best order?
  • Responsive content experience: Content experience is two words—content and experience. We know you’re connected 24/7 and that you access instructional content on your devices. On your desktop, the new FrameMaker user’s guide opens in a little content viewer app of its own. When you access the content on a smaller screen, it is displayed in a responsive layout, ensuring a seamless content experience.

    Viewing the new FrameMaker user’s guide on a smartphone

  • Visual treatment: Wherever possible, we’ve tried to pull down the wall of words that traditional documentation is. So, as you glance through the new user’s guide, expect to see visuals and illustrations that help demystify a complex concept or task. Not sure how you can publish across multiple channels? Well, see it for yourself.
  • Discoverability: You turn to the user’s guide trying to find answers to questions that are blocking your everyday work. That’s why we kept titles in the new user’s guide crisp and the content search-friendly. So, whether you search on Adobe.com or Google, you can expect to find a useful Help article that helps you get back to your work as quickly as possible.
  • Resource ecosystem: We want the new user’s guide to be more than just your first stop for information on everything FrameMaker. We want it to be also the launchpad that propels you to other, often advanced, sources of information on the web. Hop right over to the appendix at the end to view a list of select FrameMaker resources. We promise to keep the list updated as more resources become available.

What we place in your hands today is just the version one of the improved user’s guide. Your feedback has helped us get it to this stage, and your feedback will be pivotal as we try to refine it even further. Keep the wishlists coming; we’re making a careful note of them.

And now that we’ve said enough, here are the links to the new guide:

HTML: http://help.adobe.com/en_US/FrameMaker/12.0/Help/Using/index.html
PDF: http://help.adobe.com/en_US/FrameMaker/12.0/Help/using-framemaker-12.pdf

Happy reading!

A practical introduction to Web analytics for technical communicators

What analytics parameters do you rely on to track the performance of your technical content?

At the STC India Conference earlier this month; my colleague, Vikrant Rai, and I presented a session that discussed some key content-related parameters. Here is the slidedeck:

Very short survey | Help Adobe help you

We are constantly looking at ways to improve the Adobe Help experience, and your feedback is an important part of our revision process.

Here is your chance to provide inputs on how we can improve the Help content and the experience of finding, accessing, and using Adobe Help content.

Take a short survey to give us your feedback. It’s only one page, and will take you just a few minutes.

TakeSurvey

 

 

 

Sincerely,
Adobe Help team

 

CQ Cloud Manager beta…

Over at the Experience Delivers blog, Pierre Tager – Adobe Group Product Manager for Enterprise Cloud – talks about Cloud Manager, an innovative cloud service enabling reduced time and costs for provisioning, managing, and metering Web Experience Management (WEM) solutions supporting digital marketing initiatives.

In an era where enterprises are facing ever-growing competition, digital marketers are demanding to accelerate their go-to-market strategy to build their brand, while creating demand and increasing reach for their products. As marketers, you’ve all been there: Great marketing campaign idea. Check. Social Community. Check. Implementation time…hmm. That’s where it falls flat. How many times have marketing initiatives been held up due to the time it takes to negotiate and buy software? Provision IT resources? Download, install and configure? Fellow marketers, wait no more! Adobe is bringing it all together with a new technology, that combines the best Web platform and modern cloud computing. Introducing Adobe CQ Cloud Manager, designed to help marketers accelerate time to market and provide competitive differentiation in today’s ever-changing digital landscape.

Read the complete blog post here. 

Join the beta program here.

 

Adobe LeanPrint is here!

Adobe has just released LeanPrint, an enterprise-class, software-only printing solution that dramatically reduces printing costs by using an innovative method to redo the layout of documents while printing from popular applications and browsers.

Adobe LeanPrint also lets you track print jobs and costs, and analyze paper and toner savings arising from LeanPrint usage at the document, user, and organization levels.

Here’s an excerpt from an Adobe blog post:

Adobe LeanPrint is printing software that reduces costs by implementing patent-pending technologies from Adobe that automatically fine-tune formatting, colors and layout regardless of the printing device — inkjet or laser, personal or networked printer. LeanPrint provides plug-ins to common desktop applications such as Adobe Acrobat®, Adobe Reader®, Microsoft® Excel®, Microsoft Word and common browsers that typically account for the majority of printing in the enterprise and home. LeanPrint allows final output to be shown before the user sends the document to the printer ensuring visual assurance of a streamlined execution.

While other solutions aim to reduce the environmental impact by setting printing quotas or routing to a specific printer, LeanPrint takes a different approach by using less pages in Super Saver mode and providing a Toner Saver option to create smarter, less toner-heavy prints. With LeanPrint software, customers can easily choose settings to obtain a clear picture of the savings for each print job within the print preview and quantify the amount of paper and toner being used. With My Savings, savings achieved over days, months and years from within LeanPrint can be conveniently monitored and tracked, providing an incentive to save.

Some useful resources

Introducing The LiveCycle Post

If you’re a LiveCycle user or consultant, you may have found it difficult at times to follow all those great blogs and resources out there in the community. That’s why we’ve brought you The LiveCycle Post, a human-moderated aggregator of the best user-assistance content from the community.

How does it work? Well, it’s simple. We read through a bunch of machine-aggregated blog posts every now and then and moderate the ones that LiveCycle users would find useful. These blog posts are authored by LiveCycle users, Adobe partners, customers, and Adobe employees.

And yes, if you have a LiveCycle resource that you’d want us to track, simply leave its RSS feed URL as a comment to this blog post. All rights for your content remain yours. We’ll also make sure we include your name and a link to your blog in the aggregated posts.

Here’s the link again: http://blogs.adobe.com/livecyclepost/.

Localizing Images: Cultural Aspects and Visual Metaphors

In May 2011, I had the opportunity to deliver a session titled Localizing Images: Cultural Aspects and Visual Metaphors at the STC Technical Communication Summit in Sacramento, California. It was a great experience speaking on this topic to a predominantly American audience, since there was cultural exchange happening right from the word Go.

A variation of the session was also accepted on the program for the 2011 STC India Conference. I was looking forward to traveling to Chennai to present the session on December 3. Unfortunately, a middle ear infection played spoilsport and the doctor forbade me from flying for at least a couple of weeks. My colleague, Nandini Gupta, then graciously agreed to present the session on my behalf.

A slide deck for the session is embedded below:

Localizing Images: Cultural Aspects and Visual Metaphors

You can download an audio recording of my session at the STC Summit from this link (~9 MB). The recording should be used in conjunction with the slide deck.
There’s more! The paper (accompanying this session) published in the Proceedings of the conference is embedded below. Happy reading!

Localizing Images: Cultural Aspects and Visual Metaphors

Join me at STC Summit 2011

I’m excited to share that I’ll be part of STC Summit 2011, presenting the following two sessions:

A session summary for the second session is available from the STC Learning Center. If you want to read it right away, download the PDF from this URL.

I look forward to meeting you at the Summit!

RoboHelp Server: An introduction

As technical communicators, one of our key responsibilities is to optimize the value of the user-assistance content that we deliver. What defines the value of content? I focus on the following key indicators:

  • The topics should be search-optimized and populated with the right keywords. Users should be able to reach the right topics when they search using the relevant keywords (if not close to relevant keywords!).
  • Once users reach a topic, they should be able to quickly find answers to the most pertinent questions that they have in that product area.
  • Based on the Web traffic details for a topic, key documentation areas must be identified and optimized.

For optimizing content in alignment with these indicators, we need specific information about our users’ content access patterns. This is where RoboHelp Server proves valuable as a powerful application for hosting, tracking, and managing RoboHelp output in multiple formats.

The many reports that RoboHelp Server provides help identify how users navigate user-assistance content and the product areas where this content needs to be strengthened:

  • Search Terms with No Results: Search terms that returned no results and the number of times users searched for them
  • Frequently Searched Terms: Frequently-searched keywords and how many times users searched for them
  • Frequently Accessed CSH: Frequently-accessed context-sensitive Help topics and how many times they are accessed. The report is arranged by the context IDs of the CSH topics.
  • Frequently Viewed Topics: Report on Topics that end users view most often
  • Usage Statistics: Chronological graphical report of the number of hits to the Help system as a whole. Pages searched for and not opened reflect in this list. The usage statistics report has three additional tabs:
  • Page Views: Number of pages viewed over a given window of time. The window of time is determined by the labels along the X axis.
  • Pages Per Visit: Number of pages viewed per visit. Every instance when a user opens the project is considered as a separate visit. Visits from different Web browsers are counted separately.
    • Browser: Comparative data about the Web browsers in which users viewed the Help content
    • OS: Comparative data about the operating systems on which users viewed the Help content
  • Search Trends: The percentage of search terms that returned no results. The detailed view of this report gives the total number of search terms and how many of them returned results/no results.
  • Help System Errors: Error messages encountered by the current logged-in user

Ankur Jain, Adobe’s product manager for RoboHelp, shares his perspective of the business relevance of these reports in an excellent blog post titled, Create What They Want to Read.

For the while, I’ll leave you with some other insightful community content for RoboHelp Server:

Explore these links and do come back later for more information and tips. Happy reading!

LiveCycle ES2 Service Pack 2 available for download!

We recently released LiveCycle ES2 Service Pack 2 (SP2), a significant update to the LiveCycle server components. You can access the download page here. To download the service pack, you’ll need to log in using your Adobe ID and agree with the EULA.

The updated LiveCycle ES2 documentation is now live at the LiveCycle Developer Center. The Service Pack 2 ReadMe (PDF) describes how you can install the service pack. The ReadMe also lists the many customer-reported issues that were addressed in this service pack.

To review the Service Pack 2 release notes for LiveCycle components, see this page. A related announcement on the LiveCycle Product Blog is here.

Follow this blog to catch more updates and announcements from the LiveCycle documentation team.