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Old 08-11-2018, 09:42 PM   #1
Hitch
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Weird issue, not really technical, ideas, anyone?

Hi, gang:

Okay, I know, this is for technical stuff, and this isn't, but honestly, I can't think of any other place to get ideas/feedback. I can post this in the V&R, but that's not likely to result in solid ideas to address it. Sympathy, yes, but ideas...not so much. I need the feedback of my fellow bookmakers, who deal with similar issues.

Some of you see me kvetching about this or that vis-a-vis my clients. So, sorry for this, but...here's my issue.

To address a series of questions that I get, all the time, I invested some hours in creating a set of PDFs, comprised of screenshots that walk clients through various things, like, for example, how to upload their MOBI file at the KDP. These are very detailed--I call them our "ClickByClick" guides, because they are just that--I take a screenshot of each and every click required, put an arrow by it, or a box around it, and then below the screenshot, I put any additional instructions, like "In this field, type your author name" or whatever. One screenshot per 8.5" x 11" page, with a line or two of additional instructions, below the picture. (Truthfully, I resented having to do it, as there are millions of blogs and the like out there, on "how to," but, I bit the bullet, did it, and thought, "alrighty, this is IT! Clients will see this, use it, and not need to ask us for help with this or that." I put in a lot of time and effort on these and my other instruction sets like it.)

So, you'd think, "problem solved,' right? Hand the PDF to the clients, wish they well, and bob's-yer-uncle.

But, , Not so much. Here's the thing--I have clients that literally don't understand what they are looking at. They get the PDF, and try to log in, all right--to the PDF. They sit there and click and click--the PDF, not the login page. I end up on the phone with them, and even that doesn't help. I did a GoToMeeting with one guy, and then it was WORSE--he couldn't understand that he was seeing MY screen, not his, and that he couldn't type on MY screen!

I don't quite know what the hell to do. I don't understand that they don't "get" what they are looking at. It's as though they're like cats who see a mirror and think that they're looking at another cat. Nothing I say seems to trigger a lightbulb moment.

Obviously, I'm too close to it to be able to be dispassionate, and to figure out HOW I can explain this. I've tried everything that I've thought of: "It's pictures of what you'll see on your screen," or the like. I guess I never considered that people don't know what "screenshots" are. They simply "don't get it," to use an overused phrase. I mean...WTH?

The first time this happened, I thought she was a one-off, y'know...but now it's happening more and more, as the used-to-be-with-Createspace-Crowd seeks help elsewhere. Elsewhere = us. And it's getting worse by the day.

I'm seeking any sort of input. Help to explain what they ARE. Help coming up with analogies, to help me explain it. I keep feeling like whosiewhatsits in TPB..."Inconceivable!"

And before you think it--these aren't 90-y.o. clients. It's NOT that. It's something else, but...IDK, I just seriously don't know what the hell to do, how to explain it...I got nothin'. Anybody?

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Old 08-12-2018, 12:57 AM   #2
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print the pdf - hand them a paper copy - see if they click that
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Old 08-12-2018, 01:38 AM   #3
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print the pdf - hand them a paper copy - see if they click that
Ha-ha-ha. Well, if they were in my office, I might do that.

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Old 08-12-2018, 04:10 AM   #4
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Wow, this is fascinating!

Could you tell them to print it out, delete it from their screen, and then follow the printed instruction?
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Old 08-12-2018, 08:22 AM   #5
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Hi Hitch;

Maybe you could try with a video instead of a .pdf. Right now I don't remember their names but there are programs that record the screen of your PC while you are working in it. And you can add voice to that video so your clients will know what they need to do. Come on Hitch, all of us sometime we've seen a tutorial in youtube about how to do something Do one of those videos.

Regards
Rubén

EDIT: You could use OBS; it's free.

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Old 08-12-2018, 12:20 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by RobertDDL View Post
Wow, this is fascinating!

Could you tell them to print it out, delete it from their screen, and then follow the printed instruction?
Honestly, it may well get to that point. I guess I'm just so gobsmacked by the idea that folks can't grasp the concept of a "picture of the screen" that I'm a bit stymied. I mean, who hasn't installed software, and looked at a manual? No matter how non-tecchie, everyone has looked at a software manual, somewhere in time, no???

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Hi Hitch;

Maybe you could try with a video instead of a .pdf. Right now I don't remember their names but there are programs that record the screen of your PC while you are working in it. And you can add voice to that video so your clients will know what they need to do. Come on Hitch, all of us sometime we've seen a tutorial in youtube about how to do something Do one of those videos.

Regards
Rubén

EDIT: You could use OBS; it's free.
Hey, Rube:

I've got videos. This is what is slaying me. They don't watch those, either. There seems to be some disconnect about the idea of opening the PDF, and then matching what they do on the screen with what they do in the upload (or other task).

I have several video-making and screencap programs. I'm not sure, to be honest, how to convey "look here in the PDF, then look here on your screen," given that THIS is exactly what they are not understanding. I mean, if you think about it--because I have--what will they see? "Here's the PDF page, that looks exactly like your screen, and here's your screen, which looks exactly like the PDF page we just looked at." It's not like making a movie, Rube, showing me looking at my monitor, checking the PDF and then typing on another monitor, or whatever. See what I mean?

I mean, I'm not kidding--I had one that kept trying to click the login page, on MY screen, during the GoToMeeting. He couldn't understand that it was MY screen. I have clients that tell me that they don't know what "screenshots" are. Even when I explain it, they still don't seem to understand.

I know, I know, you guys think I'm just mountain-out-of-molehill-ing here. But you haven't been on the phone with someone who can't "get it." When people don't understand that they're looking at pictures of a screen, that they are supposed to follow, I kinda run out of ideas.

We are ever-increasingly busy, and I have less and less time to walk through this stuff with them; I need to find a way to make it clear, and I'm just grasping at straws here.


Hitch
(Who is frustrated as hell).
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Old 08-12-2018, 01:30 PM   #7
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I mean, I'm not kidding--I had one that kept trying to click the login page, on MY screen, during the GoToMeeting. He couldn't understand that it was MY screen. I have clients that tell me that they don't know what "screenshots" are. Even when I explain it, they still don't seem to understand.
Hitch, I know you are going to be angry but I must tell it to you; while I was reading what you wrote above, I couldn't avoid a laugh.

Quote:
... I kinda run out of ideas.
It's seems the problem is in your clients, not in what you are doing. For what you are saying, they seem to lack the elementary knowledge about how to handle a computer and, how can you solve that? If they don't understand with written instructions or even with a video, what else can you do? The only solution (?) I can see is the RobertDDL's. Maybe you can make a .pdf with javascript commands to force the printing.
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Old 08-12-2018, 01:53 PM   #8
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Hitch, I know you are going to be angry but I must tell it to you; while I was reading what you wrote above, I couldn't avoid a laugh.
Nope, not angry at all. Hell, dude, if I heard this from someone else, I'd be laughing, too. (You ever read ClientsFromHell? If you don't, you're missing out. While it is intended to be for creatives, it's so so true, for the rest of us.)


Quote:
It's seems the problem is in your clients, not in what you are doing. For what you are saying, they seem to lack the elementary knowledge about how to handle a computer and, how can you solve that? If they don't understand with written instructions or even with a video, what else can you do? The only solution (?) I can see is the RobertDDL's. Maybe you can make a .pdf with javascript commands to force the printing.
Hmmmmphhhh. I've already considered making self-extracting, self-installing packages of ADE and Kindle Previewer, but I haven't considered forcing a PDF to print. Man....(shakes head).

What kinda boggles me, I guess, is that in 2010, I thought, "oh, well, it's baddish now, it'll get better," but it's NOT. It's getting worse.

I know that there's an answer, or at least, some type of analogy I can say that will make them "get" it, that it's an example, not a live webpage. I swear, it's not deceptive, it's really not.

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Old 08-12-2018, 02:31 PM   #9
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It sounds as if, were you to tell them to print the PDF, then you'd have to show them how to do that, too. I'm actually surprised that they're able to open the PDF. Maybe it opens automatically. Did these people use a word processor to create in the first place?

Never mind. I have a friend who called his USB stick a JPEG. I guess it kind of resembles a peg, and you do push it in. Even in person it was really hard to explain it to him, and I was able to hold up a USB stick as a visual aid.

I do think that printing will be the best bet.
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Old 08-12-2018, 02:41 PM   #10
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OK....sorry hitch...this doesn't relate to your problem but it's in line with showing how un-edumacated people can be.

Unfortunately at my place of employment we are still stuck using 3.5" floppy discs (ikr!). When we showed one to a student their comment was...and this still kills me... "Oh, look, you 3-D printed the 'save' icon! "
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Old 08-12-2018, 02:56 PM   #11
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It sounds as if, were you to tell them to print the PDF, then you'd have to show them how to do that, too. I'm actually surprised that they're able to open the PDF. Maybe it opens automatically. Did these people use a word processor to create in the first place?

Never mind. I have a friend who called his USB stick a JPEG. I guess it kind of resembles a peg, and you do push it in. Even in person it was really hard to explain it to him, and I was able to hold up a USB stick as a visual aid.

I do think that printing will be the best bet.
I wish I could recall all the stuff we've heard, over the last decade. I kinda like your JPEG, though. I should have kept a list of everything.

Honestly, I now hold my breath, when I tell them to download a PDF from our Hightail Cloud storage. It used to be that I worried that they couldn't open an ePUB, or MOBI, b/c they didn't know to install a reader first, and then open it, yadda. NOW? Now I have to worry about PDFs? What bizarro-world universe have I fallen into?

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OK....sorry hitch...this doesn't relate to your problem but it's in line with showing how un-edumacated people can be.

Unfortunately at my place of employment we are still stuck using 3.5" floppy discs (ikr!). When we showed one to a student their comment was...and this still kills me... "Oh, look, you 3-D printed the 'save' icon! "
You what? What? 3.5" floppies? What? From 1986? Are you kidding me? You have 30+ y.o. computers? But...WHY? Why on earth would they do that, Turt? Do you have to back those suckers up, or...? To other 3.5" floppies? (I mean..why not thumbdrives, if you need portability?)

Well, that boggles me more than my trivial issues, truly. (The 3D-printing comment is hilarious!). I mean...why? It's not like they're efficient, or in any way superior to the 9 bajillion other storage methods that came along in the three decades since...

Man, life is strange for those of us in this line of work, ain't it?

Back on the orig. topic, I'm actually considering an Explainer Video with cartoons. "You'll open this, and view it on your computer, while typing in the REAL interface..." I mean, how can it hurt, other than my wallet?

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Old 08-12-2018, 03:05 PM   #12
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...
You what? What? 3.5" floppies? What? From 1986? Are you kidding me? You have 30+ y.o. computers? But...WHY? Why on earth would they do that, Turt? Do you have to back those suckers up, or...? To other 3.5" floppies? (I mean..why not thumbdrives, if you need portability?)
Yeah...government contracting at its finest...by contract we can't upgrade even though it costs the gov't MUCH more $$ to buy those discs because they are so hard to procure. I offered to buy (out of MY pocket mind you) a CD-RW to at least bring them into the 21st Century...but the gov't said no....
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Old 08-12-2018, 05:13 PM   #13
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There seems to be some disconnect about the idea of opening the PDF, and then matching what they do on the screen with what they do in the upload (or other task).
I think part of this confusion might also be because, within the past few years, browsers open PDFs by default.

What happened back then was:
  • Click PDF
  • Download it
  • Open it in separate program (Adobe Reader, etc.)

What happens now is:
  • Click PDF
  • It opens in a browser tab
  • People get confused because it looks just like another browser tab.
    • And THIS is (partially) why they think "your pictures" look like "their computer/internet".
    • They probably also don't know anything about tabs. How to open them, how to change them, [...].

I personally am not a fan of this whole PDF-built-into-the-browser thing anyway, and it's always one of the first things I disable whenever I set up my own computers.

But I do wonder if these people visit any of these "How To" articles, and also click on the screenshots.

Maybe another thing that can be done is taking localized screenshots of zoomed in sections? Instead of larger screenshots of the entire screen/site/page? (Although then you'll get complaints about "Where is that? That's not what mine looks like!")

Or this could be where video comes into play... Or I wonder if they would be constantly pausing the video trying to click on "their screen"?
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Old 08-12-2018, 05:35 PM   #14
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Maybe find teenagers who are in the area of your clients, and contract them to do house calls.

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Old 08-12-2018, 07:55 PM   #15
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@Hitch - a recurrent problem I've struck with screenshot based instructions is that users are often unfamiliar with the target application/system. And your clients, being of a writerly bent rather than being painterly types, could be more comfortable with a bunch of words rather than a bunch of pictures.

I tend to use screenshots to illustrate/reinforce written instructions rather than the medium to convey the instructions. Maybe a web page with clickable thumbnails, a'la this would be a better approach. Or something like this from Dropbox.

I find the vast majority instruction videos useless, notable exceptions are those Kovid has done for calibre - where the visuals are used to reinforce his narrative.

Can I suggest you post one of the PDF's here.

Added : another idea I've often used is to suggest the instructions be viewed on a phone/tablet, and executed on a computer, or vice versa. That's what I did with Kovid's videos when I first installed calibre - watched a segment on a tablet, then put it into practice on my desktop, if I didn't 'get it' rewind and repeat, else watch next segment.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Turtle91 View Post
Unfortunately at my place of employment we are still stuck using 3.5" floppy discs (ikr!). When we showed one to a student their comment was...and this still kills me... "Oh, look, you 3-D printed the 'save' icon! "
- love it!

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Originally Posted by Turtle91 View Post
Yeah...government contracting at its finest...by contract we can't upgrade even though it costs the gov't MUCH more $$ to buy those discs because they are so hard to procure. I offered to buy (out of MY pocket mind you) a CD-RW to at least bring them into the 21st Century...but the gov't said no....
Maybe one of the states that uses Windows 'god knows what' (XP or earlier) on their voting machines and results tabulators. Heard a report yesterday that children were being coached to hack into US voting systems at the recent DEFCON event. In one case a candidate was credited with 8 billion votes - by an eight-year-old

BR

Last edited by BetterRed; 08-12-2018 at 08:11 PM.
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