I work with the MadCap Flare tool on a regular basis. Namely, with two targets – the HTML 5 Help system and the PDF file. That presupposes that I deal with two outputs, two style sheets, and all my troubles are usually multiplied by two :). In this article, I want to share my pain points as well as possible solutions for them. So, here we go!
I was going to write this post much earlier. However, each time I got down to it, I was either distracted by whatever I saw in my timelines or just seemed not to have enough inspiration to kick-start the process.
Some people call it a creative block, some – a lack of inspiration, others blame laziness or a habit to procrastinate till the very last night before the deadline. No matter what it is, for an information developer such a non-creative state may sound like a nightmare, as we need bright ideas and resourcefulness like a breath of fresh air. But if you happen to feel unproductive at times, there are some tricks which may help you to find your muse again.
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?
Do you spot flaws or imperfections others do not see? Do you place high demands on yourself and people around you? Do you set extremely high standards? In other words, are you constantly striving for perfection?
If your answer is YES!, then welcome to the club of perfectionists.
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.
As advertised, Piktochart is a really easy-to-use infographic maker.
The story goes: I, an Information Developer, was asked to prepare a Case Study, quickly and in the form of an infographic. Sounds typical. But the branding dictates colors, size, opacity, and styling. Sounds like complex editing. Cheerful me took the friendliest tool and now can share my personal lessons learned.
Imagine you’ve got the coolest camera in the world for your birthday. What are your first steps before using it, except for immediately subscribing to a photography course? That’s right, looking through a user manual to get at least a gist of how to use it to its fullest potential.
Creating a diagram may be a total curse or the most interesting and creative experience on the project. It all depends on information complexity, the time needed, and your drawing skills. In this article, I will explain the steps how to create a diagram from scratch.
When creating diagrams, keep in mind that they should be easy to scan, understand, and interpret. This post provides practical tips on how to make your diagrams informative, visually appealing, and easy to comprehend.
As Information Developers, we need to perfect the skill of writing well, and the scope of our writing is not limited only by creating technical instructions. We should be equally good at creating web content, articles, or blog posts. Besides, one day we might even need to write some sort of a document that we have never dealt with before, for example, a business report or promo brochure. In this situation, we can spend hours googling and processing tons of contradictory or ill-structured information. Or, get our hands on the book “Be a better writer. Tips to improve your writing – no matter what you write!” by Suzanne Lieurance, saving us time and giving us quick directions.