July 25, 2012

Process for online help development



Jotting down the process flow that suits me and team while developing online help during one of my project. Hope it may help you, trying to keep it simple and less technical:-) 



Task
Description
1
New features
Familiarize oneself with the new features
2
Writing instructions
Write the entire Online Help
3
Capture images
Capture Online Help images
4
MAP Ids
Define MAP Ids for new pages
5
First draft ready
Send for review/Receive comments

Testing
Start testing new pages
6
Revisions
Make all the necessary changes
7
Second draft ready
Send for review/Receive comments
8
Revisions
Make all the necessary changes
9
Update images
Recapture images based on feature changes
10
Index keywords
Define index keywords for new pages
11
Japanese version
Generate and check Japanese version
12
Final draft ready
Send for review/Acceptance
13
Language check
Generate documents/send for language check
14
Revisions
Make all the necessary changes
15
Final version ready



The progress of the implementation influence the writing instructions usually feature change during implementation.So help must also be updated during implementation.

If you are interested to know which is the best online help click here.

July 13, 2012

Ideal Organization: A Dilemma

Brijesh Bartwal wrote this guest post. He is a M.B.A and experienced human resource professional and public speaker. I invited him to share his experience on the challenges in implementing new process and polices and he did a favor to me and my reader by sharing his experience in one of the organization where he had given his services.

One fine morning on a coffee table I asked one of my engineer friends about the recent developments in organization related to policies and procedures. Our team had worked hard to put the new process on the place, so I was excited to get other good response.

Contrary to my belief he was not at all happy, so I asked him where we went wrong. But now pleasure to my surprise he was more miffed and started screaming the things which he doesn’t like. Anyhow I pacify him and then on lighter node I queered him, is there anything which you like about this organization? His reply was diplomatic enough to fail top bureaucrats.

I was bogged down by many questions in my mind. Why people always resist change? How can I satisfy employee by all mean? Is there something called Ideal Organization.

As a HR professional, I sell the positives of my organization, keeping a fact in mind that no organization is perfect in this world. There are loopholes in every entity which is related to human beings and my organization is no exception. But having said that I strongly believe in reverse. Job seeker (Potential employee) is looking out because there is something which is prompting him to look out. And hence if they are complaining why should I not inform about good better to say “sort out grievances”. Is it right to speak ill about own employer on coffee table? Or does employer really deserve that? This is an ethical question which is attached with the loyalty which is on the brink in today’s world. So I don’t expect someone to speak only sweet but I am looking for how good you are critically examining your organization. So if we believe there are two sides of a coin why can’t organization have that? Now the same job seeker, one day will join any other organization and after some time, probably, again blaspheme about that company as well.

I come across with several consultants every day and hire them as well. There are very few consultants (Job seeker) who come up with the valid answers about the culture of their organization. Point to be noted I am not talking about the question “why are you looking for change?” I am simply asking “what do you like most about your current company?” and consultants are falling flat even to respond this kind of question so forget about the question “Why are you looking for change?” Even in the reply of this question I get very bizarre answers. Should I hire these consultants? Yes, of course I do hire, though I know they didn’t give satisfactory answers of my questions. And the reason behind it, “if I will start screening people on the basis of answers which HR community would like to hear” I am sure job vacancy will remain open forever.

I am still looking for that one answer “Is there any organization where you will get only pros , not a single con?”  Do you have any answer …..If not then feel free to ask the question?:-)

Disclaimer- Opinions in the Guest blog are the opinion of the writer, not necessarily the same as the owner of blog.

If you are interested in learning complete Robohelp,Framemaker,Madcap Flair,MS VISIO,Captivate,SnagIT,Business writing,Technical writing at Noida,NCR,Gurgaon,Gaziabad visit www.informationdevelopers.in. For latest update you can also like our LinkedIn page.


July 10, 2012

Top Bizarre Interviewing Experience


Tips for Technical writing Interview

I hate to take interviews but due to call of duty occasionally I have to do it, so far I have interviewed many candidates from different cities, colleges, companies and experience level, sometimes even more experienced than me.In fact most of them were better than me it was only matter of time, luck or chance, but on the other hand, I also bumped with very weird or odd kind of candidates who was excellent as a resource but complete bizarre in their behavior. 


Disclaimer: My only intention to write this blog is please avoid this kind of situation to grab your dream job if you agreed with my opinion.


"YOU KNOW" Syndrome:  one of the candidates scored very high in a writing test, but when I get a chance to meet, you know he expected me to know his father name to a permanent address.
His each sentence was starting with YOU KNOW. Finally, I have to say I don’t know.
Rotating chair: It was her final round, in the interviewing panel my HR Manager and Director of R&D was with me.An interview was going well, but her chair was rotating at 180 degrees. Believe me, it irritated all of us.

Negative attitude for the previous employer:  yes, we all look for good opportunity and we have our share of problems in the organization that sometimes force us to quit. But the attitude and the word chosen for the previous employer made us negative on her.

Look cool attitude is not always cool: It’s good to be original, and truthful, but sometimes silence is wisdom. One guy arrived without a resume, reason? He does not have a printer, Cyber cafes were not open so early, don’tFriday he returned late from office, Saturday went to resort with a girlfriend he was tired so he slept whole day and night on Sunday. So he was not able to take a print of his resume.
I denied interviewing him, not because doesn't have a resume, because…hope you can find an answer.

I’m not a fish trader: One gentleman was already working in one of the reputed organization and had two other good offers with decent increment want to check if I can pay more.
Sorry, I do not promote this attitude.

Yo-Yo Honey Singh: T-shirt you are wearing might be the best in your wardrobe, but I expect not to see you out-of-bed look or Yo-Yo look during the interview.  
No need to wear costly stuff be simple, clean and organized.

Fancy caller tune: Kindly take out your precious half hour out for me during the interview. Your fancy caller and going out to answer the call even to tell your friend that you are busy disturbs me.
Mute options are available in cell phones.

You and your resume are different: I really find very disturbing when people do not remember what they have written in a resume. Hard to believe when you are saying your experience is more than five years and your resume is screaming something different.
Either you faked in Resume or your updated resume is not updated in both the cases I’m sorry dear.

Be comfortable: I want you to be comfortable in the boardroom, but I also want to be comfortable. I really become uncomfortable when you start calling me Rah, Rak or something that you like rather than my original name “Rahul”.
I too use slang's with my friends in cricket ground but not in a boardroom.

Gum-Gum-One candidate told me he has a habit of chewing gum during exam or interview, do I mind if he continues chewing it? He was honest, but what you would have done, mind it or ignore it?

 A Lesson to me: I was interviewing a beautiful lady with good skills and experience before wrapping up the interview I asked her when you are planning to marry? Will you change the city after marriage? She paused and replied Sir; do you ask this question to male candidate also? I told her this may be a unparliamentary question but....I explained why I asked this to her?
It was a good take home for me.

Need your view. Feel free to post your comment and please also use below buttons to share it on Facebook, Google, and Twitter.

If you are interested in learning technical writing NCR visit www.informationdevelopers.in. For latest updates, you can also like our LinkedIn page.


July 8, 2012

Language Vs. Technical Skills – What’s Your Take in Technical Writing?

Sasmita Panda wrote this guest post.She is a seasoned Information Developer, Content writer and blogger. I invited her to share her experience on the primary skills required by information developers and she come up with well knit blog for you. Read more blogs of Sasmita on TWIN 



What are the qualities of a good technical writer? Mastering over the language or strong technical skills? The debate is constantly on. As per my experience, language is important, but it’s your acumen in technical skills which will take you higher in the long run.
Strong writing skills along with deeper technical knowledge are always considered as added advantage. Understanding a product/application and documenting about it is what every technical writer does, but knowing about how to structure and present the information to various types of end-users is definitely a valuable skill.
There are technical writers who are good in writing skills but poor in technical skills and vice verse. You can always work on the skills you lack, but I believe that honing technical skills takes longer time as compared to the writing skills. You don’t have to stupendous in your writing skills to be a good technical writer, but expertise in technical skills is a must especially if you want to grow in your career as a technical writer.
Proficiency in technical skills has a growing demand in many industries these days. Knwoledge of DITA, API Documentation or software programming can fetch you better package than many of your experienced peers. So if you want to grow and make money as a technical writer, the choice is obvious- sharpen you technical skills.
Please take out few minutes to write your view on Language Vs Technical Skills.

July 7, 2012

Why You Should Love Books


Love for Books


Aishwarya Pankaj wrote this guest post who is an avid reader, blogger and technology geek. I invited her to share her experience on benefits of book reading.

Read more blogs of Aishwarya on The Road To Somewhere



Here are the two opinions I have heard about reading from various people:
“I love reading.”
The other being:
“I hate reading.”

So its clear that the world is divided into people who either love or hate books. I’m on the love side of it, and books happen to be one of my favourite things in the world. So I’m going to try and make you love books too. Here’s why you should read books:

Books are a knowledge hub

Books practically have all the information that you could ever want. Yes I do remember that Google can find anything. Books however, provide you with detailed information about every topic that humans have had knowledge about. Just read a book and you shall have all the knowledge that you require from technical instructions to warfare to the difference between a centipede and a millipede or just a guide on how to write good blog posts. I need to read the last one.

Books provide an escape from our world 

It is a natural tendency of the human brain to seek out something bigger, more interesting our everyday lives. This does not essentially mean that your life is boring and uninteresting, but books can let your imagination run beyond the world as we know it. I mean, you can even go to Hogwarts! Why someone would skip a chance to go to Hogwarts, is beyond me. But I will try my best to convince you, for your own good. I’m not encouraging delusions and running away from the real world, it’s about the ability to see more beautiful and challenging things. And sometimes, in some form, bring some of it into the real world to make it a bit more magical.

Books help your creativity

Reading books captures your mind. It asks you to imagine a world different from yours. With the vague sketches that the author provides, you’re supposed to paint the whole picture. This helps you think creatively and deeply. Unlike other forms of storytelling such as movies, where you just have to watch whatever has already been portrayed, books force you to think and come up with your own ideas.  

Books make you a better human being


Books have a lot of stored wisdom from various wise people. You practically have a way to see things the way people like Ernest Hemingway did. And when you actually read the books, you realize that great books aren't all about motivational quotes. They provide you a different outlook into life. You give up your model of the world and look at it from the author’s point of view. This doesn't mean that you have to give up your thoughts; this just helps you look at things from another angle and come to a better conclusion. I didn't say the correct conclusion because I don’t believe there is one particular right way to look at things. But having a more thoughtful and deep approach on life definitely helps you become a better, more efficient human being.

The quest for knowledge is something essential for human beings to keep progressing. Acquisition of knowledge and how we use it shapes us as a society. 


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July 5, 2012

How to translate the UI and Document by Alchemy Catalyst

How to translate the UI and documentation for a software product in one tool – Alchemy CATALYST


Here is a video which explain how to translate the UI and documentation for a software product in one tool.

Alchemy CATALYST is a software localization tool and was one of the first tools that contained integrated translation memory technology.



This video is produced and provided to me by Per Frederiksen form Write2Users.You can contact him for purchase and training of Alchemy CATALYST.

All copyrights belongs to Write2Users.

July 3, 2012

Characters of a good technical document

A Good technical document


I believe a “good” word is respective, anything good for me may not for you. But to qualify to be a good technical document I think minimum these qualifications should be there. Many writers had written their view, here is my two cent.:




1.     Accurate
-          Correct information.
-          Many contracts have been lost over one too many factual mistakes in the documentation.
-          Get your drafts reviewed by people whose review is meaningful.

2.     Complete
-          Don’t give an overview of a procedure if users need minute detail.
-          Editing.
-          Proofreading.

3.     Consistent
-          Anytime you use a different word or term to refer to something you’ve already called by another name, you risk confusing the readers.

4.     Clear
-          Write clearly
-          Use simple words and short sentences (KISS-Keep it simple)

5.     Useful
-          Is it easy to learn? Is it efficient to use? Can a user recover quickly from errors? Is it easy to remember what to do? Is it fun to use?
-          Does my document make it easy to find the information the user needs? (index, TOC)
-          If the software has less-than optimal usability, the documentation must try to make up for it.
-          Documentation must also be tested.

6.     Attractive
-          The document should be attractive to the eye.
-          Readers resist reading what they don’t like to look at.

7.     Navigation & Search
-          The topics should be easily searchable.
-          Readers must have comfort to navigate easily in a document.



Related Links:

July 2, 2012

Qualities to be a successful Information Developer

Major traits technical writers must have


Two main traits that are must for you to be a successful technical writer (professional) is ability to learn and the confidence.

In this world you will always have to challenge your ability, ability to write, ability to gather knowledge, ability to understand the application, ability to learn tools  and many more abilities and above all self belief and confidence that you have these ability. Confidence that you have ability to accomplish anything.

Many times new project will thrown on you without prior notice, proper knowledge transfer, training, manuals or study materials and process that too with tight deadline and you have to do it because you have to deliver and you are paid for that. If you get bogged down by these kinds of challenges (opportunity) no matter how good a writer you are, you may have to taste the dust, but you take this as opportunity sky will not be the only limit.

In today’s environment where every day new technology becoming old you will have to be on the toe to change with industry and stay ahead from the time. At least in the world of web, the successful technical writers (person) are those who can change with need and who thrive on the challenge of the new and untried.

How to cope with this? Keep updating yourself via different social network, forums, friends, blogs and also try to attend and volunteer STC conferences in your country and city. If you get a chance to take classes, go ahead and grab it this will give you immense confidence. Work on that area which keeps you haunted while performing your jobs maybe some tool or even any soft skill.

Above all I firmly believe in take the bull from the horn. More you will challenge the technology more you will learn. Dip your toe in the water of technology you will learn it.

So, have knowledge, be informed and wear confidence.

End of the day these are the unhidden source of your income.
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Image Courtesy:Adobe video