Tools for producing a Tutorial

Subject: Tools for producing a Tutorial
From: Chris Gooch <chris -dot- gooch -at- rocketmail -dot- com>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Wed, 9 Jun 2010 09:11:50 +0000 (GMT)


I'm currently working on a short technical writing contract for a
start-up company. We've already got some very brief 'quick start'
pages done just in Word, plus some context help, and tooltips
done as XML as part of the software itself. The client thinks that
some tutorials on using certain aspects of the software would be
a useful thing to provide next, but wer're not sure exactly how to
produce these. Options range from a simple document, or a
presentation style, to a video showing a task being done with the
software (with or without voice over).

My question is, do people have any recommendations for tools
to use to produce such a thing?

We have a free tool called CamStudio to record the software in action
which allows you to add a voice over but we're not sure we want to go
down the route of just providing videos on the web site. We also have
SnagIt for annotated screen captures to add to a more traditional type
document, but we thought something more dynamic than that would
be best.

Adobe Captivate (which used to be called RoboDemo back in the day
I think) looks like it might be useful, but it's not cheap. So we thought
another option might be to use Powerpoint to produce an animated
presentation, but perhaps this would be second best and I should
recommend them to invest in Captivate (although I have no experience
of it myself).

Any suggestions? As I say the client is a start up and they don't want
to spend a lot of money on software if it's not going to be used much;
on the other hand my contract is pretty short so it will be worth them
paying for tools that enable a good job to be done in a short time (they
will need to be able to update whatever I produce themselves after my
contract finishes too).


Christopher Gooch
Technical Author and Software Developer
Sheffield, UK.


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