A directory of resources inthe field of technical communication.

Multimedia>Documentation

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1.
#10178

ACM SIGDOC (Special Interest Group on Design of Communication)   (peer-reviewed)

The ACM Special Interest Group on documentation provides a forum on documentation and user support for computer products and systems. The SIG studies processes, methods, and technologies for communicating information via printed and online text, hypermedia, and multimedia. Members include technical communication professionals, educators, and researchers, as well as system designers, developers, usability specialists, and managers responsible for producing or supervising the creation of documentation, online help systems, and end user interfaces. SIGDOC offers conferences, a high-quality Web site, and The Journal of Computer Documentation, a respected quarterly publication.

ACM SIGDOC. Organizations>Documentation>Multimedia

2.
#35268

Adobe Captivate 4: Backup, Backup, Backup

As simple as the concept of backing up your work might be, I am constantly surprised when I hear from even veteran Captivate developers that a project has become corrupt (the project, which was fine yesterday, won't open today). The fix? If the project won't open, there's a good chance that the only thing anyone can do is copy a backup project to the local disk and then open the backup. Oh, you don't have a backup? Ouch!

Siegel, Kevin A. Blogs.com (2009). Articles>Documentation>Multimedia>Adobe Captivate

3.
#30404

Adobe Creative Suite 3 Video Workshop

You can use the Adobe Creative Suite 3 Video Workshop to start learning about any application you're interested in, whether you own it or not. The Video Workshop shares expertise from across Adobe and the Adobe community--you'll learn tasks, tips, and tricks from leading designers, developers, and Adobe experts. There are introductory videos for new users, and more experienced users can find videos on new features and key techniques.

Adobe (2007). Resources>Documentation>Multimedia>Video

4.
#31845

Adventures in Screencasting  (link broken)   (PDF)   (members only)

How do you best assist users whose learning styles are more visual than verbal? Tietjen discusses the benefits and the how-to of screencasting, a mixture of visuals, audio, and complementary text.

Tietjen, Phil. Intercom (2008). Articles>Documentation>Multimedia>Screencasting

5.
#14416

Balancing Act: Keeping Your Screen Movies Small and Beautiful

Screen recordings are a valuable tool for enhancing training, tutorials, manuals and websites. Companies use this technique to produce streaming and downloadable content. The recording tools are readily available and affordable. In this article, we explore some techniques, tips and tricks for recording sound, mouse movement and happenings from your screen to an AVI file. We will talk in both general terms and use specific examples. The examples pertain to HyperCam, a downloadable screen recording application from Hyperionics Technology. Like most screen recording applications, HyperCam captures the action from your Windows screen -- including cursor movements and sound -- and saves it to an AVI movie file.

Rice, William H. IV. WilliamRice.com (2002). Design>Documentation>Multimedia>Screencasting

6.
#26975

Behringer Multitrack Audio Mixer

Introduces how to perform multimedia audio mixing and editing using a Behringer multitrack mixer.

Pratt, Andrew and Dave Long. Studio for New Media (2004). Articles>Documentation>Multimedia>Audio

7.
#30778

Bring on Rich Media   (PDF)   (members only)

Technical communicators must adapt to the changing dynamics presented by the addition of rich media in the technical documentation space. Discover some suggestions for how to do so.

Ortega, Dan. Intercom (2008). Articles>Documentation>Multimedia>Flash

8.
#26991

Canon Elura 50

Information about how to use the Canon Elura 50 camcorders for technical communication multimedia.

Arnold, Jenni and Christina Kitson. Studio for New Media (2004). Presentations>Multimedia>Documentation>Video

9.
#26364

Captions and Audio Descriptions for PC Multimedia

This article discusses the various types of captions, when to use captions, as well as the various types of audio descriptions.

Microsoft (2002). Articles>Multimedia>Documentation

10.
#24787

Converting Documentation to Multimedia   (PDF)

Multimedia has proven its ability to sell products and educate users. But can it also perform tasks traditionally done with conventional paper documents? Yes. This demonstration shows how several hardware and software documents were converted to multimedia and provides a plan for converting your documents. You learn whether to display, speak, or just eliminate existing text. You see how to replace action words, descriptions of motion, and arrows with animation. YOU see how sound can guide rather than distract the user. You also learn to use interactivity to give control to the user. Along the way you see the compromises needed to keep the project on schedule, within budget, and down to size.

Horton, Katherine W. and William K. Horton III. STC Proceedings (1995). Articles>Documentation>Multimedia

11.
#20550

Creating Online Tutorials and Demos   (PDF)

An online tutorial or demo is a powerful way to pique interest and get users started on a new software program. Join a workshop that covers the how-to’s of creating your first project. (1) Make a plan. (2) Analyze audience needs and technical issues. (3) Form a team. (4) Write the script. (5) Design the interface. (6) Build it. (7) Test it.

Beren, Wendy G. STC Proceedings (1996). Articles>Multimedia>Documentation>Online

12.
#38654

Creating Video Tutorials for Android and iPhone Mobile Apps

Although you can position a camera above the phone and record actions on any screen, that kind of recording process limits you considerably. I think it’s more difficult to edit raw video than to edit a screen recording, since a screen recording allows you to more easily manipulate, hide, or add screen elements as needed. I also recommend using emulators or screen recording apps whenever possible because they usually result in clearer recordings.

Johnson, Tom H. I'd Rather Be Writing (2012). Articles>Documentation>Multimedia>Mobile

13.
#27645

Determining When to Use Show-Me Helps and Demos

The availability of powerful yet easy-to-use multimedia tools enables technical writers to consider a powerful new form of embedded user assistance: show-me help. This paper provides an overview of who is currently using show-me help--some current research, some history, and some definitions. It offers some guidance in choosing tools, designing show-me help, and deciding when to include then, concentrating on consideration of your users, potential topics, subsequent releases, and translation. It also suggests how show-me helps can be reused as part of product education and single-sourced into user assistance from the Web.

Bradford, Annette Norris. WritersUA (2005). Articles>Documentation>Multimedia>Video

14.
#13961

Editing Computer Hardware Procedures for Multimedia Presentation  (link broken)   (members only)

Traditionally, technical editors have ensured consistency in the voice, grammar, and terminology of print documentation. As publications departments have moved to delivering online documentation, the role of the editor has varied and expanded. Editing multimedia documentation requires an even wider scope of skills than editing online documentation.

Jackson, Sue. ACM SIGDOC (2001). Presentations>Documentation>Editing>Multimedia

15.
#21523

Effects of Documentation Errors On User Perception of Interactive Programs: Background For a Study   (PDF)

Typographical errors and grammatical blunders affect the aesthetic appeal of documentation, and common belief is that they affect usability too. Many readers, however, seem not to notice such errors unless they are very frequent or flagrant. We thought it would be interesting, and perhaps useful, to test experimentally the effect of such errors on users’ perception of the information and on their performance with the product that the information supports the product.

Grice, Roger A. STC Proceedings (1994). Articles>Documentation>Interactive>Multimedia

16.
#21650

Enhancing Documentation with Video  (link broken)   (PDF)

Presents guidelines for developing videos from technical material and discusses the process of video production.

Steiner, Leonard T. Intercom (2004). Articles>Documentation>Multimedia>Video

17.
#37366

The Evolving Role Technical Communicator as Video Tutorial Producer   (members only)

Although videos have been traditionally used for technical training, traditional technical communications take the form of user manuals, help documentation, and instructional guides. Technology has arguably blurred the lines between “traditional” technical communications materials and “traditional” technical training materials. Technical writing has begun to morph with technical training. The once-clear difference between documentation and training now lends itself to the ever-growing trend of super hybrids. Just do a search for “technical writer” or “instructional designer” on any popular job search engine; you’ll find that the title “Technical Writer” today requires us to understand and create job aids, e-learning content, and learning management systems along with all the traditional user manuals, audience analysis, and usability testing.

Schrankler, Stephanie. Intercom (2010). Articles>Documentation>Tutorials>Multimedia

18.
#36125

Examples of Perfect Screencasts

Michael Pick’s screencasts on WordPress.tv are, in my opinion, perfect screencasts. They’re the best I’ve seen — and I’m not just saying this because the video quality is crisp and the audio is rich. Pick blends filmography techniques with screencasting. Instead of the typical screencast that focuses almost entirely on the screen, with a disembodied voice narrating at length around a cursor’s boring movement, Pick fills his screencasts with eye candy and motion, moving from visual to visual as he narrates, giving you a conceptual understanding more than a detailed nitty-gritty how-to.

Johnson, Tom H. I'd Rather Be Writing (2009). Articles>Documentation>Multimedia>Screencasting

19.
#38155

Familiarity Affects Preferences for Text or Video

This weekend I had to replace the solenoid in my Frigidaire Gallery refrigerator. The solenoid controls the flow of water into the ice maker, among other things. I’m not a technician, so when I received the new solenoid and looked at the instructions, I was a little hesitant to do what the text said. The text instructions took 30 seconds to read, whereas a YouTube video I found took 9 minutes to watch. But since I was unfamiliar with the process, I preferred the video to make sure I was doing the task right.

Johnson, Tom H. I'd Rather Be Writing (2011). Articles>Documentation>Multimedia>Video

20.
#25207

FlashHelp: The Ideal Online Help Format for Web Applications

As the web transitions from a relatively static, information-oriented environment to a highly interactive, task-oriented environment, web developers must provide on-demand user assistance to ensure the usability of their applications.

Sibley, Jake. Adobe (2004). Articles>Documentation>Multimedia>Flash

21.
#28786

Harry Miller on Multimedia Documentation

Miller, a technical editor at Microsoft interested in multimedia documentation, talks about why multimedia documentation is a growing trend and how writers can get started. He discusses Microsoft's Channel 9 and the human element with instructional screen demos.

Miller, Harry and Tom H. Johnson. Tech Writer Voices (2007). Articles>Interviews>Documentation>Multimedia

22.
#34681

How Google Does Help

Last week Google released Google Voice, a service that allows you to integrate all your phones into one number and includes a host of features, including voice mail, recording, conference calling, and other services. To help users get started, Google Voice has a list of 20 short videos. Only the overview video contains animation. It’s certainly the video they’ve put the most work into, and it also functions as marketing collateral.

Johnson, Tom H. I'd Rather Be Writing (2009). Articles>Documentation>Multimedia>Case Studies

23.
#32351

How I Create Video Tutorials

Creating video tutorials is no trivial task. When you sit down to create 20+ video tutorials for a project, you’re faced with dozens of questions. What screen size should the videos be, what recording tool should you use, what microphone is best, how long should the videos be, what file size is acceptable? Should you use voice or captions? Where will you create the recording? You can create video tutorials using dozens of different methods. There are no official steps to create videos, because situations and audiences vary so widely.

Johnson, Tom H. I'd Rather Be Writing (2008). Articles>Documentation>Multimedia>Video

24.
#34587

How to Avoid Extinction as a Technical Communicator

Although there will always be a need for people to explain technical material non-technical people, Ellis Pratt said, others may be doing it instead, through the formats users prefer. To survive, technical writers may need to morph into content strategists, managing the information in a systematic way rather than merely creating it.

Johnson, Tom H. I'd Rather Be Writing (2009). Articles>Documentation>Multimedia>User Centered Design

25.
#34254

How Video Can Turn Your Career Around

When I talk to most technical writers, video is a format they haven’t done much with. This surprises me, because I find that, as a user, video tutorials are often the most helpful type of material for me to learn software. Video most closely simulates the universal desire we have for a friend to show us how to do something in an application. Perhaps I’m a visual learner, but the majority of us (some say 60 to 65 percent) are visual learners. But video doesn’t appeal only to end users. Video can be an appealing format for technical writers as well. Creating videos can turn your career around, especially if you find technical writing a little dull.

Johnson, Tom H. I'd Rather Be Writing (2009). Articles>Documentation>Multimedia>Video

 
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