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Old 08-13-2018, 10:18 AM   #16
Hitch
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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.
With all due respect, Red--and I mean this, from the bottom of my heart--this kind of makes me want to kill you, or myself. Y'know WHY I have these? Because my clients do not and will not read written instructions. For YEARS I have battled with this irony; that authors, apparently, won't read. I have tons of written instructions. TONS. None of which they'll read. They won't read emails; they won't read instructions IN emails; given the choice, they will neither download nor read instructions.

When I had my forms and instructions in Hightail, I found out, factually, that for every 100 forms downloaded, only 1-3 of the instruction sheets that goes with the form would be downloaded. Yes, that's right--one to three, total, for every 100 downloads of the forms. And then I'd be besieged with email..."Hitch, what do I put in this field?" "Hitch, what's this for?" "Hitch, why do I need to complete this?"

IME, authors and publishers want everything to "just work" like most Mac users. They want it to intuitive, and when it's not, it's a nightmare.


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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.
Yup...feeling suicidal right now.

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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.
They don't watch them anyway. You want to take a wild guess how many times a week I say "and did you download/do X, like we discuss in the "Watch me first" video?????"

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

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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.
Uh....one of us is deranged. Put the instructions on their phones or tablets? Dude...these guys literally don't know what "download from a browser" MEANS. Sideload to a phone or tablet? OMG...


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Old 08-13-2018, 11:11 AM   #17
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Send one of the eight-year-old hackers from DEFCON round to see them.
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Old 08-13-2018, 11:20 AM   #18
stumped
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maybe the pdf redone as a "graphic novel" aka a comic may be more appealing
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Old 08-13-2018, 12:09 PM   #19
Hitch
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maybe the pdf redone as a "graphic novel" aka a comic may be more appealing
I feel like dying just a little bit, when I say this, but...I have actually made two comics, for instructions. See attached--two different comics that I've made. That doesn't work, either. (I attach these solely so you know I'm not making it up....)

Hitch
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	Comic1.jpg
Views:	63
Size:	221.4 KB
ID:	165548   Click image for larger version

Name:	Comic2.jpg
Views:	50
Size:	221.4 KB
ID:	165549  
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Old 08-13-2018, 12:32 PM   #20
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With all due respect, Red--and I mean this, from the bottom of my heart--this kind of makes me want to kill you, or myself.


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Originally Posted by Hitch
Quote:
Originally Posted by BetterRed
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.
Yup...feeling suicidal right now.
Sorry, I know this comment can't help, but I can't avoid to laugh for the situation, and a lot. You should write a book Hitch with all these "anecdotes"; it would be a boom.
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Old 08-13-2018, 12:33 PM   #21
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audiobook version ???
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Old 08-13-2018, 01:25 PM   #22
Hitch
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Sorry, I know this comment can't help, but I can't avoid to laugh for the situation, and a lot. You should write a book Hitch with all these "anecdotes"; it would be a boom.
I think it's a small niche, Rube, that would "get it." Y'know?

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audiobook version ???
NOW you guys are starting to realize WHY I posted here. I am just out of ideas. Text. Comics. Pictures. Videos. I am simply at wit's end.

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Old 08-13-2018, 02:25 PM   #23
DaleDe
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I think it's a small niche, Rube, that would "get it." Y'know?



NOW you guys are starting to realize WHY I posted here. I am just out of ideas. Text. Comics. Pictures. Videos. I am simply at wit's end.

Hitch
You have pretty much exhausted the gamut. Perhaps a FAQ section on the web site with short videos for short attention spans and text description (answers). I feel your pain. Or you could use my answer for everything, a wiki page (tada!)

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Old 08-13-2018, 02:32 PM   #24
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I think I know why Hitch has that avatar now.
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Old 08-13-2018, 02:38 PM   #25
Hitch
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You have pretty much exhausted the gamut. Perhaps a FAQ section on the web site with short videos for short attention spans and text description (answers). I feel your pain. Or you could use my answer for everything, a wiki page (tada!)

Dale
Dale:

I've actually acquired Help & Manual 7, and I'm nearly done with a brand-new, wiki-ish Help section that I will a) add to our website and b) print out in PDF. (sigh).

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I think I know why Hitch has that avatar now.
Yes, you have that exactly right. It always frustrated me, but now, it's been nearly a decade, and it just seems to really be getting WORSE, which I never would have believed.

I had another "typety-type-type-type-ENTER-ENTER-typety-type=type-typeENTERENTER" manuscript today, all 75K words of it. (sigh). The submitter was NOT 100 years old, either. Who doesn't know that word processors word-wrap, in 2018???????

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Old 08-13-2018, 07:23 PM   #26
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I think it's a small niche, Rube, that would "get it." Y'know?



NOW you guys are starting to realize WHY I posted here. I am just out of ideas. Text. Comics. Pictures. Videos. I am simply at wit's end.

Hitch
Send a copy by Guido's delivery service. We will wait until you read these

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Old 08-13-2018, 07:43 PM   #27
Hitch
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Send a copy by Guido's delivery service. We will wait until you read these

Don't think I haven't been tempted!

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Old 08-13-2018, 07:55 PM   #28
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Speaking of someone who learned to type in 1975, "enter enter" is a hard habit to break.

But as someone who has helped others learn computer skills, I somewhat feel you pain.

Years ago, in the late 80's early 90's, I was a part of a local food co-op. For a time, I received orders from users, many via fax. One gal's order always came through with half the page nothing but smears/static. Finally got it figured out...she was turning off her fax machine before it was done slurping the paper all the way through. She thought that was ok.

Then there was the insurance agent who had a template Word File he used, and he wanted to print out 25 or so each Monday. Went to his office to help straighten out what he said wasn't working right. He would open Word, print 1 copy, then fire up his scanner and make 24 copies, which were fuzzy and not clear. I was speechless.
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Old 08-13-2018, 08:13 PM   #29
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How about a video game or virtual reality. Or maybe an injection of AI
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Old 08-13-2018, 09:00 PM   #30
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I sometimes put together screenshots for folks I work with, using the "Snipping Tool" that comes with Windows 7. It always open the screenshot directly in front of the application. After copy > pasting the screenshot into Word or email, I have occasionally caught myself clicking on the Snipping Tool screenshot instead of the application...although I am able to figure out what's wrong PDQ!

I'd suggest you tell the user to open the PDF beside the browser/application window...but I suspect that's too technical for this crowd. Assuming they'd even read that instruction.

I feel for ya, Hitch.
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