At some point or another, we all need to read documentation on the go. Whether you’re a technician reading technical reports out in the field, an electrician accessing an instruction manual on site, or an office-worker looking to read a report on the way to a meeting, the point is that lot of us need access to documentation away from the computer.
How should a professional publishing system be designed to deliver documentation on the go?
Here are 5 key factors affecting the setup of remote documentation.
Documentation must be easily accessible both whenever and wherever you need it.
Documentation should be easily accessed through one portal, your publishing portal. It means one entry point to access information, with one login and password. Documentation should be created in web-format, like HTML, and presented with reader-friendly formatting. Any digital notes and bookmarks should be easily retrievable, anytime and anywhere you need them.
Search and filtering
When reading documentation outside your office, you will need a good search and filter feature to help you easily locate and access the specific information you’re looking for. Searches should be fast and accurate across all documents in the documentation portal. Highlighted search hits, with a snippet of the content displayed, makes it much easier to navigate within the document. Readin makes this possible.
Using metadata for filtering is effective when you are on the go. Filter out information you don’t need and get right into the information that’s actually relevant. Role-based filtering is also an efficient way to access the right information. An electrician will need different information to a office-worker. With role-based filtering, different colleagues can easily navigate to the information that is relevant to them within a single document.
Read on any device
Documentation should be designed for a responsive mobile user experience.
Desktop PCs, laptops, tablets and smartphones are all devices on which users should be able to access and read documentation. With responsive design, you can ensure a great user experience across all devices.
PDFs and Word documents are not designed to be flexible in their layout. They require a lot of zooming in and out and scrolling both vertically and horizontally. This is especially troublesome with long documents and on small devices, like smartphones.
Your responsive documentation needs to be in HTML format to be responsive. Documentation should also support image lightbox and horizontal scrolling across tables, so your content achieves maximum readability, even on small devices like smartphones.
Content authors should not be thinking about formatting documents for different media or formats. This is a job for the publishing system, like Readin.
Ensure latest version
One of the worst things that could happen is that a user does not have the latest version of a document. Unfortunately, there are just too many examples of accidents and mistakes that occur because of outdated information.
So, how can you ensure that users have only the latest version? The simplest answer is that the documentation should only be accessible from one place. More sophisticated technology ensures new versions are ‘pushed’ out to the reader as soon as they are published. Readin’s Notice of Changes feature does just that. Users can subscribe to a specific document and as soon as the document is updated, users are notified.
We are not fan of offline versions of documents, but if you do not have an internet access you will need offline access. It is important that a publishing system checks for updates when a user gets back online.
Readin is a publishing platform that transforms your Word and XML documents into professional HTML web documents, for access on any device. Here are some of Readin’s coolest features