Re: user expecttations - web-based help

Subject: Re: user expecttations - web-based help
From: Chris Despopoulos <despopoulos_chriss -at- yahoo -dot- com>
To: Erika Yanovich <ERIKA_y -at- rad -dot- com>, "techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 3 Jul 2014 03:44:40 -0700

There's no need for the server to connect to the internet.  The server can (probably does) include its own HTTP stack and serve up the docs within the intranet.  That's how my product works...  It's a VM appliance that runs inside the firewall.  But since it's got a doc server, I get to do stupid pet tricks.  So you could include PHP apps, serve your docs as a local WIKI, map into MySQL, or whatever.  In my case, the law was set down to have minimal footprint on the server, so I do most of the processing in the browser (javascript).  But that's not the main issue at this point.  The main issue is that you can serve the docs from your product with all the capabilities that come with a doc server.  Most groovy.

And...  As this architecture for "products" becomes increasingly prevalent (thanks to VM and cloud infrastructures), users will come to expect that kind of capability in your docs.
Of course, I have a vision of distributed docs (4D Pubs -- see slides on
my LinkedIn profile), and would like everybody else to fit into that
framework.  But again, that's beside the point.


From: Erika Yanovich <ERIKA_y -at- rad -dot- com>
To: Chris Despopoulos <despopoulos_chriss -at- yahoo -dot- com>; "techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Sent: Thursday, July 3, 2014 5:02 AM
Subject: RE: user expecttations - web-based help

Thanks, Chris. This is really useful. Although the product runs on a server, the server is not connected to the internet. But even so, your ideas are really great. Some are feasible from the first delivery (end of year) and some will be in future versions.

-----Original Message-----
From: techwr-l-bounces+erika_y=rad -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com [mailto:techwr-l-bounces+erika_y=rad -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com] On Behalf Of Chris Despopoulos
Sent: 03 July, 2014 10:30
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Subject: Re: user expecttations - web-based help

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.

Learn more:


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Re: user expecttations - web-based help: From: Chris Despopoulos
RE: user expecttations - web-based help: From: Erika Yanovich

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