[Guest Post] “Multichannel Publishing using Adobe Technical Communication Suite, Part II”, by Bernard Aschwanden

In this guest post, certified Adobe trainer and expert Bernard Aschwanden of Publishing Smarter recaps some key points that he covered in part two of a three-part webinar series for people who either want to know more about Adobe’s Technical Communication Suite, or who are new to the product(s). The goal is to showcase some important features of Adobe FrameMaker, Adobe Captivate, and Adobe RoboHelp in less than three hours.

By the end of all three sessions, you should be comfortable with the Adobe Technical Communication Suite and how the tools work together to create a fictitious “Welcome to FrameMaker” guide based on very real workflows and best practices.

Watch Bring Procedures & Tasks to Life, or other sessions

This is the second video in a three-part series available at Adobe’s event website. The recordings can be found at the following links:

Bringing Procedures & Tasks to Life: Mixing FrameMaker & Captivate for Fun & Profit

To start where Beyond Printed Pages left off, begin watching Bringing Procedures & Tasks to Life at 0:14:00.

This session talks primarily about using Captivate as a tool to enhance the learning experience. I discuss storyboarding and best practices and how to insert Captivate content into PDF documents using Adobe FrameMaker.

Storyboarding for Captivate

A storyboard is the Captivate equivalent of a documentation plan—it helps users limit content, stay on topic, and plan for testing. A good storyboard outlines each screen shown in the final product and helps users identify course content, media, and interactions before creating a video.

Tip: storyboarding often isn’t necessary for extremely short videos (under a minute or two? Maybe you don’t need to storyboard in detail.)

Elements of a good storyboard

There are six elements of a good storyboard, including visual elements, branching elements (such as “next” options and flowcharts), and overall learning objectives. This session also details storyboard minimums and common content.

Tip: videos are difficult to update—use accurate information the first time.

Using Captivate

Best practices for using Captivate include trying it out with a task you know well, configuring screen resolution appropriately, and hiding unneeded components from screen captures. It’s also a good idea to include extra slides (it’s easy to delete them later) and avoid using background music. See the video for further suggestions.

Adding Captivate videos to PDFs

Create PDFs with embedded videos using Adobe FrameMaker. To add video to a FrameMaker file, use File > Import > File. To choose the image that represents the video, right click the imported video and use Set Poster. To create a PDF version of the document, use File > Save As PDF.

Tip: importing by reference allows FrameMaker to automatically update file content when source content is changed.

Conclusion

I hope that these videos help you to better understand the tools and processes associated with using the full Adobe Technical Communications Suite. The tools really help to make content creation and distribution easy. You can focus on the audience, create great content, and deliver it a multitude of devices.

Thanks for taking the time to read this article, and watching the associated videos.

Bernard Aschwanden

Bernard Aschwanden

Bernard Aschwanden is a recognized publishing technologies expert in XML and related technologies. The Adobe Certified Expert, Certified Technical Trainer and the author of numerous publications on publishing and single sourcing presents at conferences and events across Europe and North America. Bernard is also the founder of Publishing Smarter, an Associate Fellow of the Society for Technical Communication, and a Director of the STC. You can also follow Bernard on twitter: @publishsmarter

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