Diagram Series: Pitfalls of interviews with SMEs

Look at the following broken-line graph (Figure #1). How much time do you need to create one? 5 – 10 minutes? How about two days?

Figure #1 (Click to enlarge)

Now, if I provide an estimate of two days for creating a graph, my Customer will expect to receive a 3D visualization, in color. Then, where is the problem? Why creating a graph with a few broken lines might take that much time?

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Diagram Series: Decrypting SME’s Drawings

User documentation that includes different types of graphics is more effective and easier to perceive than monotonous text. A diagram is just one type of graphics that prevails mostly in technical documentation. When creating diagrams on a daily basis, you eventually learn to overcome such difficulties as: vague explanations, inaccurate SMEs’ drawings, abundance of details, or lack of information. As an Information Developer, you must know how to combine these diverse chunks to create consistent graphics in user documentation. In this article, I will discuss some tips on decrypting SME’s drawings to make the process of creating diagrams an interesting and creative experience.

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Put Your Finger on Design

When reading, I’m always trying on ideas, researching how my work can benefit from literally anything. Designers are perceived as communication specialists. So are we, information developers. I stumbled upon Graphic Design for the 21st Century, and it inspired me to create these concept-cards, that will, maybe, resonate with you.

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Infographics and Information Development: inform and entertain

Have you ever considered using infographics to communicate technical information to your audience?

In a world of multiple gadgets and social media, we have no time for lengthy content. Digital revolution has had its impact on our cognitive abilities, making us quick consumers of short chunks of information. This is where infographics comes into play, being able to inform while entertaining.

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File format does matter – for graphics as well

It goes without saying that a file format does matter.

Being used properly, screenshots, diagrams, and infographics can add significant value to your documentation by making the most complex piece of writing digestible. But what if your graphics is illegible, pixelated, discolored, or isn’t displayed at all? All efforts you made to develop a document can come into nothing and you will need to convert the graphics into another format or, even worse, design it from scratch.

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