Use of RoboHelp Server by Technical Publications Departments


By Makarand Pandit.

As businesses are witnessing the Web 2.0 revolution, technical information distribution is going through a change in paradigm.
Not long ago it was sufficient to publish information and let the end users consume it. With the increase in cloud computing, availability of social networks, and blogs; users are capable of creating information repositories themselves. With their business knowledge and ability to experiment, advanced users are pushing products to the limits and are asking for new features. Though this part of business is not new, the speed at which it is happening has left many organizations far behind in the competition.To stay ahead of the competition and to keep pace with the users organizations need to devise a mechanism that can enable information collection and publication. RoboHelp Server is a fantastic tool designed to bridge this gap. 

Lack of feedback Mechanism for taking systematic feedback from users

Today’s help authoring tools provide advanced options to create context sensitive help. However, these tools are inadequate for collecting real time feedback from end users. Typically, the user feedback is received via comments and email and is static. It may take days for publications department to incorporate the feedback and the changes.

Tech Publications Department needs to play a role

In present day scenario, the content updates are available only with version updates. Though the authors do audience analysis, there is rarely an opportunity to “beta-test” the content.

In many organizations, the role and contribution of technical publications may be restricted to information gathering and release. End user feedback does not always reach the authors of the content.

Technical Publications departments should become an integral part of the marketing arm and user support system of the organization. Technical Publications should be provided the necessary infrastructure to communicate with end users and should be given the responsibility/ownership of content updates.

How RoboHelp Server can help solve the problems

Implementing RoboHelp Server can enable collection and analysis of search patterns of end users. Based on this information the author can update the content to help the end users. Thus, RoboHelp Server helps in optimizing the content.

Let us see how RoboHelp Server can help bridge the gap between end user and authors.

 

Robohelp Server and other components

Robohelp Server and other components

RoboHelp Server has powerful reporting capabilities that integrate seamlessly with RoboHelp HTML, the authoring tool. Besides, RoboHelp Server can interface with many popular web servers and databases (for developing simple applications MS Access is bundled in RoboHelp Server.)

Note: For more information about the possible technical combinations, refer to RoboHelp Server Help, at http://help.adobe.com/en_US/RoboHelp/9.0/RoboEngine/index.html.

In an RoboHelp Server implementation, these components are integrated so that Technical Publication gets the help authoring tool and end users get a mechanism to access the content and provide feedback.

The integrated database stores information about user’s search habits and other relevant information. The built-in reporting tool helps authors analyse and view user information.

Advantages of RoboHelp Server

RoboHelp Server offers following advantages:

  • Tracking and Reporting

The big advantage of RoboHelp Server is report generation. Reports can enhance the usability of published content. Reports contain information about usage statistics, search trends, frequently-viewed topics, frequently-searched terms, search terms with no results, etc.

  • Automatic Project Merging

RoboHelp Server provides an efficient automatic project merging. RoboHelp server merges all the topics of the project during run time. Thus, even if the authors are working on different parts of a project, the end user will thus see the content seamlessly integrated.

  • Efficient user management capabilities
  • Support for other languages

The advantage of run time interface is that the content can be localised automatically by customising the runtime interface. For example, authors can create the content in the language they want.

  • Support for Adobe AIR

RoboHelp Server supports AIR Help publishing. This is the easiest way small organizations can implement commenting on their content.

Conclusion

Technical Publications Department can use RoboHelp Server to be directly in touch with end users instead of going through the marketing layer. RoboHelp Server can help create a knowledgebase about your product or technology that can address end user needs and help the user to gain better understanding about the product.


Makarand Pandit

Makarand Pandit

With more than 18 years of experience, Mak (Makarand) Pandit is a pioneer of Technical communications in India. His organization, Technowrites, provides Technical Writing Services, Consultancy, and Training. He can be reached on mak@technowrites.com