Creation of technical documentation, software documentation and online documentation
For many of my clients, I not only provide consulting but also create the required documents. Or I support my clients by taking on specific subtasks.
As a service provider and contractor for technical documentation, software documentation, and software user assistance, I write and create user manuals and online help (online documentationn help sites). I typically generate printed manuals and online help from a common text base (“single source publishing”).
Do you need a technical writer who creates a user manual or online help for your product? Or would you like to supply both printed documentation and online documentation for the price of one?
I can create all parts of your technical documentation in the required formats—either in English or in German. All texts will be written in plain, clear language, well-structured, and organized into small reusable modules.
With the help of special authoring tools, we can generate both printed user manuals and online help from the same, shared text base. If required, we can even produce different versions of the documents from this common source, such as documentation for a standard version and documentation for a pro version of the same software. This is known as “cross media publishing,” “multi-channel publishing,” “single source publishing,” or just “single sourcing.”
Savings multiply with each future release and with each translation. In addition to the cost savings, there’s also the saving of time.
Taking over existing or supplied material
Often, manuals and help have been written by developers, product managers, or sales professionals—typically facing tight deadlines. Sometime this workflow is to be followed also in the future, for example, due to its cost effectiveness or due to the fact that the subject needs some very specific knowledge that is hard to acquire.
In a case like this, I can revise, improve, and optimize the existing content and transform it into professional, high-quality documentation with as little effort as possible.
If you need to supply your documentation in multiple languages, I can find qualified translators, coordinate the translation work, and produce the final documents from the translated source files.
In addition or as an alternative to traditional software documentation, I can design and create software videos (screencasts, screen videos). Software videos can be used as an embedded part of an online help system or on your website.
A picture can say more than a thousand words. A video can say more than a thousand pictures. Do you want to enrich online help with software videos (so-called screencasts or screen videos)? Do you want to demonstrate your products on your website or on YouTube?
I can design and produce software videos (screencasts) of your products.
Software videos can both be used within online documentation and as a stand-alone element on a website. Often, software videos can give you a double benefit: First, the software videos support your users by showing them how to use your software. Second, the software videos support your sales by showing your program to potential buyers in a most convenient and direct way.
Using professional authoring tools ensures that:
▪the software videos can be translated with minimum cost if needed
▪the software videos can be updated easily when the software changes in the future
A simple software video or screen video can, for example, be uploaded to YouTube. As an option, it is also possible to add interactive elements to a screen video. This transforms the screen video into an interactive software demo or into an elearning program (tutorial). Quizzes can be added to monitor users’ progress.
Usability of software videos (screencasts)
A key factor often neglected with software videos is usability.
▪Individual software videos should be short. If this isn’t possible, a sufficient number of break points should ensure that even slow viewers can follow, such as viewers who don’t have any particular previous knowledge, or viewers who speak the language of the screencast only as a second language.
▪With long screencasts, viewers should be able to access and to repeat individual sections via an integrated table of contents or some other navigation control.
As an expert for software user assistance, I create clear and consistent texts for the user interface (UI / GUI) of your software. In addition, I can create internal and external help texts.
We shouldn’t fool ourselves. Users don’t like reading manuals. Most users read documentation only as a last resort when they are stuck. Users want to get their job done quickly. Moreover, many users don’t like the idea that they need help at all.
Therefore, the best form of user assistance is assistance that the user doesn’t even notice as “help.” It’s just around “incidentally” when needed (embedded help).
Do you want to make your products as self-explanatory as possible using embedded help texts?
I can develop an integrated performance support and information solution that goes well beyond standard documentation and basic online help. This solution includes:
▪identification of the information that can be directly embedded into the user interface (UI / GUI) of your software rather than into separate technical documentation (user manuals, online help)
▪concept on how and where this information is displayed
▪style guide for all texts
▪standardization and coordination of terminology among the user interface, user manuals, online help, and sales materials
▪writing of the texts
For more information on performance support embedded into the user interface, also see my website www.software-user-assistance.com.
Often, training materials can essentially be derived from documentation, for example, from a user manual or from online documentation (the single source publishing approach).
Do you not only need technical documentation but also training materials?
Although technical documentation and training materials aren’t the same, they have a lot in common: In both cases complex technical information needs to be described easily and effectively.
Often, training materials can essentially be derived from documentation. Depending on which authoring tools are used, both documentation and training materials may even be generated from the same source (single source publishing).
Being specialized in complex technological subjects, in addition to writing technical documentation I also write copy for websites and brochures as well as white papers and articles.
Do you need a copywriter for creating marketing copy in the fields of software and IT systems? Are you looking for a copywriter specialized on the software industry and on software controlled products?
In addition to writing technical documentation, I also design and write texts for:
▪brochures and other marketing documents and sales documents