We are good at those types of technical communication that focus on the factual content and which are intended to explain that content or to apply it in a qualified way. It may, for example, be directions for use for inexperienced users as well as instruction manuals for more experienced users, adaptations of computer support for specific uses, or training packages for your products. If you want your material to have a marketing function as well, we will call in our publicity agency.
We can work with products on paper, in the computer or on the net.
Simple operating instructions
In many cases it is still best to print simple directions or operating instructions on paper. But the static character of a printed text means that it is not always easy for the user to find the information that he or she needs at a particular time. It is essential that the text is logically structured and cognitively accessible—those who complain that it is hard to find the right information are many more than those who say that the information isn’t there.
Putting it on the computer
The first step when material is put on the computer is usually to imitate the printed version. A CD is often, initially, seen as a way of saving on printing costs rather than an opportunity to increase quality. But then a new problem appears—since you turn the pages slower on the screen than in a booklet, you will rely much more heavily on the logical structure if you are to find your information quickly and accurately.
Usually it is better to rebuild the system in a new way, starting with cognitive design and more efficient logic. The most important thing is to create a clear mental map of the information in the site and a method of navigation that appears natural or even inevitable.
Animation and interactivity
You can lift your material to yet another level through animation and interactivity, especially if the material is complex, if it is particularly expensive or dangerous to make mistakes, or if you need to build the material in several steps, for example if the users have greatly varying previous knowledge.
(Computer games — which are nothing but another form of animation and interactivity — can also be used commercially, but perhaps better in marketing than in technical communication.)
Training and educational material
There is only a small step from a well made manual to various kinds of training and educational material. It may be for internal use, like for further training of your employees, or external, like training of customer operators. Look for example on these figures which shows how to squat properly with a barbell.
Technical communication can also be about efficient work routines. Central information is stored in data bases, owned by you or by others, which are frequently consulted. Are search routines as quick and efficient as you would like? Do the routines fit with your employees’ mental pictures of their work? Other jobs mean that you add information to data bases—is it then the data bases that govern how you work, or the other way round? When it comes to designing a data base system and its underlying conceptual apparatus, cognitive design is all-important.
We can take complete responsibility or join a working group as consultants.
Contact Bengt at +46706-148863 or