Re: user expecttations - web-based help

Subject: Re: user expecttations - web-based help
From: Chris Despopoulos <despopoulos_chriss -at- yahoo -dot- com>
To: "techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 3 Jul 2014 00:30:12 -0700

You're in an awesome position -- the product is a server which means you can do anything you want with the docs.  Here are a few things users are starting to consider...  In the not too distant future they might become expectations:
* Social input -- Both in the private group (behind the firewall) and the outside world
* Responsive design -- Format according to device (tablet, phone)

* Adaptive content -- Filter content by device, user profile, product constellation, context
* Dynamic content -- Bring in live data from the product state or from supporting data sources
* Cherry picking -- Assemble a custom set of topics
* Other???

This is on top of the usual suspects such as a TOC, search index, glossary, links, context-sensitive (well, context-specific) calls, media, etc.

My product is similar, and I'm lucky enough that the company let me invent my own system.  I deliver raw DITA, and convert it to HTML on the fly.  This gives me room to inject things dynamically at the last minute.  At this time I can:
* Filter by user type
* Convert printable content into HTML forms -- I do this for the API docs
* Call the product API to inject real-time data

I'm working on other capabilities according to time and need.  And yes, we still ship a PDF, so single-source turns out to be a requirement.

But the point is, get ready for a quantum jump in user expectations.

Doc-To-Help 2014 v1 now available. SharePoint 2013 support, NetHelp enhancements, and more. Read all about it.

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