Product documentation has many authors. To maximize efficiency and ensure the highest quality output, your organization needs to foster close collaboration between product development and your documentation, training and localization teams.Feedback between your internal stakeholders and your customers will improve the quality of your documentation and increase customer satisfaction, an important driver of revenue.
Choosing the right tools
For many organizations, making an upfront investment in authoring software and a component content management system (CCMS) pays immediate dividends by enabling more effective collaboration. However, it is important to choose the right system for your needs.
If you want to enable a large number of non-technical content creators to collaborate from many diverse operating environments, here are some things to consider:
Is the solution user-friendly? If your authoring CCMS is too complex, your content contributors will resist giving up their familiar desktop publishing tools, putting your implementation at risk.
Is it Windows-only? If any of your internal and external customers are using Mac or Linux, be careful not to limit their ability to collaborate.
How long will it take to implement? Systems that need to be integrated into your IT environment take longer to get up and running and add hidden costs.
How much will it really cost? Many systems charge by the user, and come with extensive additional charges for implementation and customization.
How easyDITA does it
easyDITA is a Software-as-a-Service CCMS that centrally locates your documents in a secure repository where they can be accessed by anyone you choose. The only system requirements to use the software are a browser and an internet connection. With no per seat charge, there is no limit to the number of people you can assign for content creation, discussion, review and approval.
easyDITA was designed to be used by nontechnical users. Our word processing-style interface is familiar and comfortable to use, so your writers and editors will be up and running quickly, with little or no training. Click edit and easyDITA’s WYSIWYG editor opens right in your browser. All your familiar editing commands and text formatting tools are available. Keyboard shortcuts like Tab and Enter work just the way you expect them to; you can insert tables and bulleted lists with the click of a mouse.
Unlike many editors, easyDITA’s interface is not full of tags and angle brackets; the software manages the content’s structure “under the hood”, ensuring that all the tags are in the proper place and all the content is pre-validated DITA XML. Placeholders show you where you are in the structure are without getting in your way. Power users get the information they need without interrupting the writing experience of a Subject Matter Expert.
To collaborate, an author simply invites other people to a document they’re working on. Those designated as Reviewers can login into the document at any time and suggest additions or deletions and add comments. Collaboration simple and fun – and productive.
When Documentation or Knowledge Managers log in to easyDITA, they see a dashboard view of all current projects. They can monitor progress on all the work they have assigned, see the status of translation jobs, accept or reject suggested edits and approve documents for publication.
The bottom line
In the end, only after product documentation is released will it undergo its final and most important test. Your customers will determine the success or failure of all your efforts. It is critical to capture feedback from end users that you can use to make your product better.
easyDITA enables feedback loops that allow developers to see customer comments and suggestions right in the authoring environment. It’s the ultimate in collaboration!
Sign up for a Free Trial of easyDITA and see for yourself how easy it can be get your entire team working together to create state-of-the-art product documentation.