TCANZ 2010 day 1 – Author-it Corporation presentation
I’m attending the TCANZ Conference 2010 in Wellington, New Zealand. Matt Armstrong from Author-it gave a good, simple demo of Author-it Assist and an introduction to Author-it Aspect. These are the notes I took during the session. All credit goes to Matt. Any mistakes are mine.
Author-it Assist sounds very interesting. It can contextually link any application to any content. It works on Windows desktop applications as well as web applications.
It is performance support software (from Sarah: similar to guided help, from my understanding). It works with all enterprise IT applications, and lets you push multiple topics to the user’s desktop.
As a the help author, you select the relevant bit of the application (such as a frame or other UI element) then drag and drop the URL onto the application, to indicate that it constitutes the help for that specific screen or UI element. Your content can be delivered from any source: HTML, Word, PDF, etc. Anything that you can display in a browser.
The user sees an “Assist me” tab. When they click it and select a topic, Assist shows a side panel displaying the relevant content. This is the content that the author has marked as relevant.
Assist hooks into the UI elements of the page. It has a fuzzy logic to protect it from UI changes as much as possible.
It’s also available as a set of SDKs. You can download a free copy of the API.
Author-it Aspect is the tool that knows who you are. Based on who you are, it will dynamically filter the information sent to you, including the search information. For example, it can choose the content in the correct language for a particular user. I didn’t get as good an idea of what this one can do, but it’s worth going to the Author-it website to read up on it.
Thank you Matt for a great insight into two tools in the Author-it suite.