View Flexible Interaction Language Scheme for multi-device publishing via RoboHelp 10

00 Welinske opener
Our November 9th blog on “3 Key Webinar Recordings to Help set your strategy for 2013” made reference to our recording of a November webinar with Joe Welinske, which focused on how to use on placeholder (UDV) for multiple device gestures when single-source publishing to multiple screens. Specifically, you may have documentation for an app, SW or procedure that requires one set of hand gestures on a tablet and a completely different set of mouse clicks on a web page to accomplish the same thing.

Joe Welinske has created a very sensible strategy for approaching this challenge. When you couple Joe’s matrix of “verbs” or “actions” with User Defined Variables (UDVs) in RoboHelp, you have an extremely potent solution for having a single set of source files publish to profiles which will automatically substitute the appropriate action for the tablet or device at hand. This blog covers highlights of the recorded November 15 webinar, “_Employing a Flexible Interaction Language Scheme with User Defined Variables (UDVs)”. _You may view the recording by clicking here. Note: as with all AdobeTCS recorded webinars, you will need an I.D. and password from a free account. The landing page will appear to be an “event registration” page, but once you have logged in, the recording will launch.

Emergence of multi-screen output for single-source publishing

Early on in this webinar Welinske makes it clear that our world has changed radically in the last few years due to the staggering growth of tablets, smart phones, home entertainment systems and other devices. He makes it clear that many of us are still used to writing and authoring techniques that were better suited for conditions over 20 years ago when virtually all SW commands were executed via keyboard or mouse.

Two of the slides pulled from Joe’s presentation below contrast the world of 1989 (on the left) to the current plethora of devices and navigation methods which must be documented today (on the right.)

01 1989 mouse tech

02 increased gestures devices

Welinske’s RoboHelp UDV Interaction Scheme

Joe summarized a formula for an Interaction Scheme in RoboHelp using UDVs:

User-defined variables + Screen profiles + Multi-screen output …

Can be used together. The basic steps covered in the webinar are:

  1. Define your UDVs
  2. Add UDVs to your topics in RoboHelp
  3. Assign UDV sets to screen profiles (to ensure that correct gestures appear when documentation is published to a particular device.)

View the webinar to see all steps used in RoboHelp 10 solution

You really will have to watch the webinar recording to see the solution steps in detail. Fortunately, Joe Welinske found an illustrative and engaging way to share technical tips, and it will quickly be obvious that anyone on your team could grasp the concepts necessary to achieve this goal of single-sourcing out to multiscreen deliverables.

The screen below shows UDVs being defined:

05 robohelp UDV sshot

The slide below summarizes a key step of assigning UDV “sets” to screen profiles so the right actions will appear when information is delivered or published to a particular device:

06 Assign UDV sets to profiles

Key take-aways from Flexible Interaction Language UDV webinar

If you follow Welinske’s scheme for defining key, device-specific actions ahead of time, and then carefully define UDV sets, associated with screen profiles, you can potentially cut hundreds of hours from a project that is republished or updated dozens of times throughout the year.

Seeking a solution? Give RoboHelp 10 a test drive

Many of the requirements and recommendations that Welinske makes in his thesis closely intersect with basic RoboHelp 10 functionality. You may wish to review the RoboHelp product page, which has a variety of resources, from links to videos, blogs, other White Papers and more. You may also test drive Tech Comm Suite 4 and RoboHelp 10 without download or installation by clicking here, and completing a simple on-line form. Also, be aware that Adobe Technical Communication Suite 4 (which contains RoboHelp 10) is now available on a subscription basis.

Information about Joe Welinske

author photo

Joe Welinske specializes in helping your software development effort through crafted communication. The best user experience features quality words and images in the user interface. The UX of a robust product is also enhanced through comprehensive user assistance. This includes Help, wizards, FAQs, videos and much more. For over twenty-five years, Joe has been providing training, contracting, and consulting services for the software industry.

Joe recently published the book, Developing User Assistance for Mobile Apps. He also teaches courses for Bellevue College, the University of California, and the University of Washington. Check out the Events page for upcoming classes and industry presentations