Online Help and Quick Reference Guides

Online Help and Quick Reference Guide Sample 1 of 2

Tools used: MadCap Flare, Adobe Dreamweaver, Adobe InDesign, RoboHelp, Microsoft SharePoint Designer, Microsoft Office, Temenos T24

Sometimes a confidentiality agreement with a client prevents me from showing samples of the work I did for that client. So I have created some samples that showcase the application of three software tools that I use as a technical writer: Adobe Dreamweaver, MadCap Flare, and Adobe InDesign.  These samples serve to demonstrate my experience with the latest documentation development tools. I created these samples using trial versions of the software. Thank you, Adobe and MadCap!

Expert-Level World-Leading T24 Documentation ExperienceTechnical writing & help design example - web-based T24 Help - Adobe RoboHelp 9

The documentation samples show a generic T24 online help project and a T24 quick reference guide. I have expert-level experience in writing documentation for Temenos T24 banking software and in helping companies design custom T24 user interfaces. I was the first technical writer in the world to design customized context-sensitive online help for the T24 software, and I am the most experienced writer in Canada for documenting T24.

Adobe Dreamweaver CS6

I evaluated Adobe Dreamweaver along with a host of other web development tools for a recent Temenos T24 online help project. I found that Dreamweaver was preferable to RoboHelp 9 for ease of use in developing the .html pages for web-based online help. On the other hand, RoboHelp was more robust in terms of managing the hundreds of related files that make up a complete online help system. My recommendation to technical writers would be to use both tools for different aspects of the help development project! Here are two of the T24 help files I created in Dreamweaver. I embedded the cascading style sheet to present the formatting correctly in stand-alone .html pages. The Contents links and the Searching for Members link are active in these T24 help samples.

T24 Help Contents     T24 Member Search

After I created the initial T24 online help prototype in Dreamweaver, as demonstrated in the two previous files, I created the final version in RoboHelp, as shown in the graphic at the top of this page. Right-click the T24 Help graphic, and then click “Open link in new window” to see a larger version of the graphic. The RoboHelp project has a navigation pane with Contents and Search tabs and a built-in Search tool that would have been very time-consuming to create in Dreamweaver.

MadCap Flare 8

[Note: I am currently using Flare 2016 r2] I then converted the RoboHelp project into a MadCap Flare online help project. There are some really cool features in the WebHelp project that Flare outputs:

  • A Quick Search box at the top that allows you to search for a term on the page. Instances of the term are highlighted in yellow. Then you can click a button to remove the highlights.
  • Contol of the window size and position, just like in the good old WinHelp days, but now in WebHelp format!
  • Really slick graphic elements, in keeping with Windows Vista and later versions of Windows. I like the accordion-style method for toggling between Contents (TOC) and Search in the navigation pane at the left.

T24 Help – MadCap Flare – Active topics: Welcome, Signing In and Changing Your Password, Searching for Members, Personal Profiles

If you look at all three versions, I think you will agree that the MadCap Flare version of the T24 online help looks the best. (Though I feel disloyal to my old friend RoboHelp for saying so.) But this MadCap Flare experience has made a convert of me! Plus the folks at MadCap Flare provide awesome friendly telephone support, and helpful, detailed MadCap Flare webinars. I think they really believe in and stand behind their product. I have been talking them up so much that my friends’ new nickname for me is Ms. MadCap Flare! It has a nice ring to it. ?

Adobe InDesign CS6

Adobe InDesign is the next generation of Adobe PageMaker, which I cut my teeth on back in the early ’90s. So it was like visiting an old friend to generate this sample from a T24 Quick Reference Guide I prepared for an earlier T24 documentation project. I enjoyed using some of the InDesign features that offer an improvement over PageMaker, such as almost unlimited Undo (very handy!) and the ability to export directly to PDF format without using Acrobat Distiller.

I wrote the original text as T24 online help topics using Microsoft SharePoint Designer. From there, I converted the T24 online help text to a Word document for the T24 Quick Reference Guide for my client. Now I have anonymized the text in the Word document and converted it to an InDesign doc. Talk about single sourcing!

T24 Quick Reference Guide – InDesign 

You might wonder why anyone would bother converting a Word document to InDesign. InDesign has more robust capabilities for creating book-length documents (like running headers that change to display the chapter name). Also, the output of the text and graphics is crisper, especially in print form. See for yourself by printing the two T24 Quick Reference Guide files. Or I can show you when we meet.

T24 Quick Reference Guide – Word

Online Help and Quick Reference Guide Sample 2 of 2

Tools used: Microsoft SharePoint Designer, Microsoft Office, Corel Paint Shop Pro Photo, Temenos T24Context-sensitive help for Temenos T24 banking software

This project involved writing end user documentation for the Coast Capital Savings implementation of the Temenos T24 banking system. It was an exciting project. As documentation lead, I worked with the developers to create a Coast-specific context-sensitive online help system that no other Temenos T24 client in the world had ever developed. The help is delivered using an innovative web-based methodology, which is possibly also the first of its kind. I was the first technical writer in Vancouver and in Canada with experience with the Temenos T24 banking system. I trained another writer, and she has trained a third! And so it goes. The diagram above shows how staff can click a T24 Help icon in the T24 software to open help for that screen. The T24 Help topic has links to related information on the company intranet.

Quick Reference Card - Getting HelpIn addition to developing context-sensitive online help for the T24 software, I also created attractive quick reference materials to help banking staff on Go Live day. I designed a T24 Quick Reference Guide and a business card-sized T24 Quick Reference Card. The personalized T24 Quick Reference Card can be distributed to staff during training, used while they practice in the software, and carried with them to remind staff of what to do on Go Live day. The front of the card has instructions for signing in to T24, and is personalized with the staff member’s log in ID. The back of the card, displayed here, shows staff how to get help on using T24 if they need it. All of the quick reference topics in the printed guide are also accessible online from a folder in their Favorites list in Internet Explorer. They are also available in the T24 online help, and from the Start Menu.