A free illustrated guide to content strategy

One of the kind things people were saying to us at the tekom conference last week was they enjoyed reading our free illustrated guide to DITA. Indeed, we’ve been bowled over by the response to this mini graphic novel and the number of people who have downloaded it.

Download our free illustrated guide to content strategyThis prompted us to complete a second illustrated guide we had “in the works” – on content strategy.

Again, this guide takes the form of a graphic novel:

It’s free, 14 pages long, and it’s published under a creative commons licence. MOBI and EPUB versions will be available shortly.

Let us know what you think of it.

See also:

The business benefits of DITA – in graphic novel form

DITA graphic novel - page 4We’ve put together a free illustrated guide that explains the business benefits of the DITA authoring and publishing standard.

It’s suitable for Technical Authors and non-Technical Authors.

You’ll find this guide is in graphic novel (or comic) format, comprising 18 colour pages.

You can download the guide from the Cherryleaf website in EPUB, PDF and MOBI formats.

 

Shortly, we’ll be adding new details on DITA training courses, to the Cherryleaf website: one for beginners and one for advanced users. This will include dates in the autumn for classroom courses. These courses will be held in Westminster.

Contact us if you’re interested in online DITA courses. We may have some details to reveal shortly.

See: Free illustrated guide to the business benefits of DITA

See also: DITA training courses in London and online

 

An innovative approach for a user manual from Samsung

Here is a very innovative approach to providing a user guide, from Samsung :

According to Vitamin Design:

These books actually contain the phone. Each page reveals the elements of the phone in the right order, helping the user to set up the sim card, the battery and even slide the case onto the phone. The second book is the main manual – the phone actually slots into this and becomes the center of attention. Arrows point to the exact locations the user should press, avoiding confusion and eliminating the feeling of being lost in a menu.

It’s a interesting example of user documentation as an emotional experience. (Thanks to Gareth Williams and Adam Wohl for spotting this.)

UK Govt says “RTFM” to new fathers

Yet another sign that quick reference cards are back in fashion:

Plans to be set out in the Families Green Paper will propose better advice and information for couples and address the balance between work and childcare by considering ways to make public services more “family friendly”.

Under the Green Paper, new fathers will be given a manual to help them adjust to the role.

The “dads’ guide”, put together by the Fatherhood Institute, will include an explanation of breast­feeding and tips on how to support their partner.  (Source: BBC News)

The ‘Dads’ Guide To…’ cards are A6 sized quick reference cards printed on both sides with important messages for dads and male carers about their child’s development and how they can get more involved in their child’s life and learning.  

Sadly, one question asked by many new fathers remains still unanswered: where do you take the baby’s batteries out?

The business case for SaaS (Software as a Service)

Intellect’s SaaS group has published recently a paper called “The business case for Software as a Service“. The paper lays out the technical and cost benefits of SaaS, together with checklists covering selection criteria, legal considerations and comparisons of SaaS applications to traditional in-house systems.

Cherryleaf made some minor contributions to this paper – so minor we didn’t think they merited our listing as contributors to this paper (a mistake in hindsight).

The report states, SaaS applications are generally easy to use and don’t require a great deal of training and online Help. So why is this?

In part, it’s because:

1. SaaS applications are newly developed applications. This means the developers have been able to build upon the recent developments in usability, when they’ve developed the application.

2. SaaS products typically deal with familiar business tasks, such as finance and sales prospecting. Where a SaaS application does try to explain new concepts or tasks (viz. Google Wave), users can still find they struggle to use the application.

3. SaaS applications can be fixed quickly and are usually subject to continuous improvement. Pilot programmes can be much smaller and quicker to conduct. SaaS applications can be measured and tested more easily, using Web Analytics. 

See also: Cherryleaf’s Developing Help for Web-based applications and SaaS services.

Hopefully, the checklists in the paper will serve as good guides and help you navigate the hype that currently surrounds SaaS and avoid any pitfalls.