Creating adaptive content for multi-screen devices: Challenges and solutions

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In this era of device explosion, when consumers are spending more time on smartphones and tablets than on PCs, it has become increasingly important for organizations to reach their customers by offering content on these new devices. However, it is easier said than done, as the traditional output formats such as Webhelp are ill-suited for these devices because of their varying screen sizes.

In this presentation, Vikram Verma, Product Manager, Adobe Systems, will describe how organizations are adapting to the multi-device era and will share the best practices to keep in mind while creating content for these devices. He will also discuss some of the content strategies relevant for these devices and will show you how to publish your content and make it accessible to end-users.

This is a vendor presentation by Vikram Verma of Adobe.

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What you see is what you get: getting better visuals through design reviews

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What does it take to create great visual content to support technical documentation, reference and other content? Do you have to be a graphic designer or artist to make effective content? Believe it or not, it’s not all about you and your creations. It’s actually about everyone else and getting their feedback.

In this workshop, you learn and practice a few ideas to help you keep your design looking professional and useful. We’re will run a design review on work that you create and revise in the session. Believe it or not, at least half of good visual design isn’t about you or what you create it’s about the feedback you get.

We’ll layout ground rules for a design critique session and then work through suggestions for getting the most meaning out of the feedback, without the ‘I just don’t like it.’ We’ll practice providing feedback on visual elements and help you overcome the ‘But I don’t know anything about that!’ for yourself and those reviewing your work.

So while you may not be an expert in visual design and would prefer to ‘just work with words’ come explore with us how you can do more with a little feedback.

This workshop is facilitated by Matt Pierce.

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Embracing change: How two technical authors made their skills go further

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Marilyn Heron and Nick Tonge give an insight into their varied roles at Pace plc, showing how these have extended beyond that of the traditional author. Using examples of their work in consumer electronics for the Americas market, they describe:

  • How they became responsible for designing the labelling on products and cartons. This led to:
    • input into product design
    • increased understanding of the manufacturing processes
    • discussions with suppliers
    • research into labels and materials
  • How they took over the design of carton artwork
  • How their typical authoring tasks changed, moving away from user manuals, words and paper.

This session is delivered by Marilyn Heron and Nick Tonge.

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More pictures, less text: modifying technical content for the “visual age”

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Our consumers’ attention span is diminishing on a yearly basis, increasing the challenge to engage and retain their focus. Although a few tools make it easy to insert rich media into multi-channel published content, how do you determine when to use images instead of traditional steps? Today’s projects require distribution equivalents of a press release, a movie trailer, and an interactive, visual experience. Text and words aren’t going away; we will just be using fewer of them. Attend this dynamic session to discover which skills you already possess to address the challenges described above, and how to “think visually”.

This session is delivered by Maxwell Hoffmann.

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Single-source/content management beyond text: Dealing with graphics and multimedia

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For most authors the concepts of content reuse are nothing new. Whether you work under the labels of “single-source publishing”, “content management”, or “multi-channel publishing” it all boils down to writing content once, maximizing reuse, and (hopefully) never resorting to content duplication to achieve your publishing goals. All of this works beautifully with text, but various media elements have always been the Achilles heel of content reuse. In this session Mr. Hamilton will explore concepts and techniques to bring graphic and multimedia elements into the content management workflow.

This session is delivered by Mike Hamilton.

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Using screen video: best practices, regardless of the tool

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Screen videos have been growing in popularity as ways to provide detailed information and document processes. Many in the Technical Communication field are finding that they need to expand their skills beyond writing to communicate with their audiences. Many already use screenshots, but will benefit from creating screen videos.

We will focus on tips for making screen videos, including tips for recording, editing and producing – regardless of the tools used to make the video. Be prepared to walk away with ideas that you can apply, whether it’s your first or fiftieth video.

This session is delivered by Matt Pierce.

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Time-saving tools and techniques for capturing screens

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This session starts by presenting examples of how screenshots can really add value to software documentation and user assistance. You’ll then learn the key steps you need to take at capture time: these include guidelines on setting colour depth, sizing UI objects, and capturing drop-down menus. The session concludes with demonstrations of the most popular and powerful screen capture tools and strategies that are available.

You will learn:

  • Where, when, and how screenshots can really add value
  • The key steps for capturing a window, screen region, or object successfully
  • An overview of the tools available
  • The strengths and weaknesses of each tool
  • A range of powerful tips for saving time
  • Guidelines on single-sourcing screenshots for print- and screen-based presentation

This session is delivered by Matthew Ellison.

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Creating instruction videos for using software – a case history

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This session takes you through our experiences of creating a set of short narrated videos (*.avi) to supplement a set of HTML Help pages required for a new-look item of Remsdaq software. The talk will be down-to-earth, covering the entire process including both its successes and the inevitable setbacks and problems encountered when one does something for the first time.

This session is delivered by Martin Block.

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