Monday, August 19, 2013

Technical Writers vs Instructional Designers

The objective of a technical writer is to help the users in using the product. When a user is struck in understanding a feature or task, they consults the document as a reference. While an instructional designer make the user learn. The learner needs to go through the complete instructional design deliverable. If we talk about WBTs or CBTs, each and every activity of learner is tracked. The learner uses the instructional design deliverable as a textbook and not as a reference guide.
To conclude, technical writers write documents for potential users while instructional designers for potential learners.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Scenario-based Learning

Scenario based learning is the becoming popular to showcase a feature of an application. Scenarios are based around actions, where you need to create a story and the characters who will perform the task in the application. 
If you tell your story effectively and create good characters, your learners become invested in that character's story, regardless of whether they're rooting for their success or their downfall. Once you have your training plan outlined and sequenced with your lessons, you are ready to begin. Introduce the character and then present her/him with a problem that they (and the learner) cannot overcome. Develop the story so that it steps the learner on a journey through the learning objectives, getting the knowledge and skill along the way to meet the challenges presented at the outset of each learning objective. 
Creative writing courses will help immensely with storytelling as well as scenario based learning, but you may also think about technical writing for complex procedures.

To learn more about scenario-based learning, view the demonstration to buy books from on Youtube.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Lucidchart Quick Start Guide


Lucidchart is an HTML5-based diagramming tool to create flowcharts, wireframes, UML diagrams, mind maps, and more. You can open this tool on a Google chrome browser and work with the team members in real time.

Installing Lucidchart

To install and configure Lucidchart with Google Drive:
  1. Go to 
    The Chrome Web Store page appears.
  2. In the Search Apps text box, type Lucidchart and press EnterIn the Apps tab, the result page displays the Lucidchart: Diagramming app. 
  3. Click Install
    A confirmation message asks whether you want to install Lucidchart on Chrome. 

    : Before installing Lucidchart, sign in with your Google account.
  4. In the confirmation box, click AddThe
    dialog box appears. 
  5. To install the Lucidchart on Chrome, click LAUNCH APP
    The Lucidchart website opens in a new tab. 
  6. To integrate Lucidchart with your Google Drive, click Integrate with Google Drive
  7. To enable Lucidchart with Gmail account, enter your user name and password. This integrates Lucidchart with your Google Drive. 
    The Lucidchart registration page appears. 
  8. You can register with appropriate Lucidchart usage plan, or try it for 14 days. To register, enter your Google credentials. 
    The Google Drive Integration page appears. 
  9. Select the appropriate option to synchronize Lucidchart with Google Dive, and click Save Changes.

You receive a confirmation e-mail to Gmail account. Now you can access Lucidchart from the Google Drive.

Using Lucidchart from Google Drive

Instead of opening Lucidchart website, you can directly create, save, and share Lucidchart diagrams using the Google Drive. The Lucidchart diagrams that you create are listed in the Google Drive, so you can easily open, edit, and store it.
After installing Lucidchart on Google Drive, you can:

  • Draw diagrams by dragging the objects on the canvas.
  • Collaborate the diagrams with the users of same domain or send invitations through Google contacts.
  • Store the diagrams on Google Drive and backup on the computer.

Installing Google Drive

You can access files from the computer using Google Drive over the internet.
To install Google Drive:
  1. Open the Google Dive link ( on the browser. 
    The Google Drive sign in page appears.
  2. Enter your Google account credential and sign in. 
    The Drive page appears.
  3. To sync files from your computer to My Drive, click Download Google Drive for PC
    The Download Google Drive for Windows dialog box appears.
  4. Click Accept and Install
    The Google Drive installation starts.
  5. Complete the instructions of the installation package. 
  6. Start Google Dive on your computer.
You can copy the files on the Google Drive and synchronize with My Drive.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Do you like to read a user guide or view a video tutorial?

People prefer instant help, sometime they don’t like to read the content to find the answer of their queries. It is helpful if someone shows you the steps to solve the problem, rather than navigating the user guide and troubleshoot the problem. People sometime prefer a video tutorial to view the how-to-do task.

Nowadays we get everything on mobile, prefer a video or online help for a product.  For software products, printed document will soon be past.  The internet and mobile has reduced the distance between the user and the vendor.
The product simulations and demonstrations can attract the attention of people. A technical writer can create video tutorial by using the Captivate and Articulate, these e-learning tools can also create course and quiz for the learners.

The sales personnel prefer a product demonstration for the clients and seminars. These demonstrations give a better walk through the product in a nut shell, instead of running the product. The beta version of the product might not be ready on time or create run-time error.

People can grasp the features of a product by watching the tutorial at their own time. Watching a video is always fun than reading a document.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

What managers want?

Managers want to see the ability to manage the documentation project, starting from initiating the task and meeting the users’ need. It is appreciated, if a tech. writer can provide some value added services, like suggesting on the UI texts, workflow diagrams, visual aids, and features. Developers want to see that you're familiar and invested. They want to work with resourceful and proactive tech writers. Your specific questions will reflect how much you're actually working with the technology. Never the less some time follow ups are required to get confirmation of your queries and assumptions.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Captivate: Control Flash Animation

When there is an audio flash file in your Captivate slide and the user click next, the sound of the animation might not stop and it keep playing in the background of the next slides. This issue does not happen when you preview the project, but for the published file. The problem can be solved as per the the following three cases:
Case 1: In Cp 5.5, under the AUDIO section of the button properties, click to select the Stop Slide Audio When Clicked check box. Note that this feature doesn’t work, if the sound is embedded in the FLA file.
Case 2: If sound is embedded within the FLA file and you can edit the flash file, bring the embedded sound at the top level in the timeline of the slide.
Case 3: If sound is embedded within the FLA file and you cannot edit the flash file, create an advance action. In the advanced action, you can define two actions: hide the flash and go to next slide. The hide action will stop the sound of the flash file.

Monday, November 28, 2011

RoboHelp: Breadcrumbs

When I created breadcrumbs through the WebHelp Navigation – WebHelp dialog box, then breadcrumbs were created on top of the HTML header. In other case, when breadcrumbs were created through master page, breadcrumbs were created below the header.
However, I wanted the breadcrumbs above the header. What would be the answer???

Ohhh.. I think Im close to my answer. I removed the header, instead of that I used a simple text in the master page, which I used it as a header for the HTML files. Then I inserted the breadcrumbs. That was simple....