by Mak Pandit

Mak Pandit

Created

27 March 2011

As businesses are witnessing the Web 2.0 revolution, technical information distribution is going through a change in paradigm.

Not long ago, it was sufficient to publish information and let the end users consume it. With the increase in cloud computing, availability of social networks, and blogs; users are capable of creating information repositories themselves. With their business knowledge and ability to experiment, advanced users are pushing products to the limits and are asking for new features. Though this part of business is not new, the speed at which it is happening has left many organizations far behind in the competition.

To stay ahead of the competition and to keep pace with the users, organizations need to devise a mechanism that can enable information collection and publication. RoboHelp Server is a fantastic tool designed to bridge this gap.

Lack of mechanism for taking systematic user feedback

Today’s Help authoring tools provide advanced options to create context-sensitive Help. However, these tools are inadequate for collecting real-time feedback from end users. Typically, the user feedback is received via comments and e-mail and is static. It may take days for publications department to incorporate the feedback and the changes.

Tech Pubs department needs to play a role

In present day scenario, the content updates are available only with version updates. Though the authors do audience analysis, there is rarely an opportunity to “beta-test” the content.

In many organizations, the role and contribution of technical publications may be restricted to information gathering and release. End user feedback does not always reach the authors of the content.

Technical Publications departments should become an integral part of the marketing arm and user support system of the organization. Technical Publications should be provided the necessary infrastructure to communicate with end users and should be given the responsibility or ownership of content updates.

How RoboHelp Server can help solve the problems

Implementing RoboHelp Server can enable collection and analysis of search patterns of end users. Based on this information, the author can update the content to help the end users. Thus, RoboHelp Server helps in optimizing the content.

Let us see how RoboHelp Server can help bridge the gap between end user and authors.

RoboHelp Server has powerful reporting capabilities that integrate seamlessly with RoboHelp HTML, the authoring tool. Besides, RoboHelp Server can interface with many popular web servers and databases (for developing simple applications, Microsoft Access is bundled in RoboHelp Server).  The integrated database stores information about user's search habits and other relevant information. The built-in reporting tool helps authors analyse and view user information.

In a RoboHelp client/server implementation, author and end user components are integrated so that Technical Publication gets the Help authoring tool and end users get a mechanism to access the content and provide feedback.

Note: For more information about the possible technical combinations, refer to RoboHelp Server Help.

Advantages of RoboHelp Server

RoboHelp Server offers following advantages:

  • Tracking and reporting

    The big advantage of RoboHelp Server is report generation. Reports can enhance the usability of published content. Reports contain information about usage statistics, search trends, frequently viewed topics, frequently searched terms, search terms with no results, and so on.

  • Automatic project merging

    RoboHelp Server provides efficient automatic project merging. It merges all the topics of the project during runtime. Thus, even if the authors are working on different parts of a project, the end user will see the content seamlessly integrated.

  • Efficient user management capabilities

    RoboHelp Server provides user authentication through both database and LDAP. You can define several sets of privilege groups and assign different rights to different users. These rights include view only, publish, admin rights, and viewing reports.

  • Support for other languages

    The advantage of runtime interface is that the content can be localized automatically by customizing the runtime interface. For example, authors can create the content in the language they want.

  • Support for Adobe AIR

    RoboHelp Server supports AIR Help publishing. This is the easiest way small organizations can implement external commenting on their content.

Conclusion

Technical Publications departments can use RoboHelp Server to be directly in touch with end users instead of going through the marketing layer. RoboHelp Server can help create a knowledgebase about your product or technology that can address end user needs and help the user to gain better understanding about the product.