Do you intend to create your product or service documentation in English, or are you already doing so? This is an approach that can bring many benefits to your company, especially in terms of cost savings!
Depending on your industry sector or activity, a significant proportion of your clients and their employees – and your own staff – can work with English-language products and documentation, especially if Global English is used.
And when you must provide high-quality information in other languages – whether for internal or external use – this approach will ensure that you keep your translation costs to a minimum. It will also ensure that if you wish to make use of automated translation (for example DeepL) the resulting texts will be fit for their purpose, though they will normally require proof-reading to achieve the required level of quality, depending on their purpose.
Key aspects of content creation
When creating any document, the two main drivers are purpose and audience. And the two most critical aspects of any document are the content (text) and its presentation. For your document to achieve its objective, it’s essential that these be of high quality!
In addition, an effective dialogue with the client is vital in obtaining the best possible results. Although much of the work can be performed remotely, it’s important to meet – or organise a videoconference with – the client at different stages of the project.
When it comes to creating user assistance products, technical experts are rarely the best people to perform such tasks. Most of these employees can’t empathize with typical end-users, and often don’t have the right level of linguistic or authoring skill to produce high-quality content.
Alphadoc has the know-how, experience and insights to support you in creating a wide variety of documents in the English language, whether marketing and communications, user information, or policies and procedures. Whatever challenge you’re facing, we have the solution to your specific requirements!
Reference documents are essential tools for writing and editing. Our award-winning Corporate Publishing Style Guide was commissioned by the corporate communications department of a major Swiss pharmaceutical company. We can help you to create a style guide for your company.
For business documents, Microsoft Word and PowerPoint are often the default options for the client and are normally delivered as PDF files. Depending on the preferred delivery platform(s), we can write your documents in the most appropriate file format.
For user and technical documentation, we use specialist authoring tools.
We can also take care of the typography and layout of your document.
Alphadoc ensures that you get your message across in the most effective way! Whether you’re planning a new marketing brochure, an advertising campaign, or a new web site, we can help you to take a fresh look at your products and services. We can also support you in developing social media content.
To achieve the desired impact in terms of the image of your company and its products and services, your marketing and communications texts must be compelling and persuasive. They must also comply with your communications strategy and corporate style rules.
As with any business document, it’s imperative to define its purpose and the intended audience. We can help you to define user personas to ensure that the text is tailored for the user. If you’re targeting international markets, your texts must be accessible to non-native English speakers, and we can ensure that this is the case, without sacrificing elegance or flow.
If you need ad hoc support in your department – during employee absences or for special projects – we can of course work with your internal communications team.
For Roche Diagnostics, we developed the content for a web site featuring a new range of equipment. This involved interviewing subject-matter experts, as well as referring to product specifications. The content – covering both hardware and software components – was created using a modular technique, enabling re-use of information where appropriate.
Recent participation in a workshop on Using Storytelling to Drive Change complemented our 20-plus years of copywriting experience. This approach enables you to communicate with your clients using the most effective form – the narrative. It’s related to the concept of the customer journey, and results in compelling content that persuades and convinces your customers, while strengthening your brand.
The other principles we use in creating effective online content are included in our Copywriting for the Web course.
If you’re intending to create a new web site, it’s vital that you think about all the information it will need to contain before contacting a web-design agency. This is because your web-site structure needs to be able to accommodate all the kinds of information you may want to publish.
Are you completely satisfied with the content of your web site?
Our experience in journalism includes both professional and corporate assignments, mainly in the life science and medical technology areas, but also in ICT. This has involved organising interviews with CEOs, managers, and subject-matter experts, as well as using multiple channels to gather information.
Alphadoc can help you to create high-quality annual reports, newsletters and media releases, as well as supporting you in writing magazine articles and blogs. We have also undertaken ghost-writing assignments for executives and managers.
To complement our 20-plus years of experience in journalism, we recently attended a workshop in London on Journalism in the Digital Age. This contained a wealth of information on how journalism has been affected by digital media, and the best practices that should be followed to achieve excellence.
We have recently been commissioned to write a series of articles for Presence Suisse, part of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, on a variety of topics. The information-gathering phases included in-depth research as well as interviews with subject-matter experts using Microsoft Teams.
Are you planning to post an article on LinkedIn or other platforms?
If you don’t have expertise in journalism within your communications department, we can support you in writing articles to a professional standard.
Whether learning to use a new product or service, or looking for help within a software application, high-quality user information increases customer satisfaction, reduces calls to the help desk, and enhances your brand.
User Assistance can take many forms – including more traditional user guides published as PDFs – and we can advise you on the most appropriate format. For example, online help or embedded help are ideal for software applications. We can also help in the development of your user-interface texts.
Alphadoc has created several online help systems: our Corporate Style Guide for a life sciences multinational won an award for our innovative use of this technology.
We can also develop training materials in partnership with your in-house staff. This can sometimes be created from the user documentation.
If your skilled and highly paid developers or engineers are currently creating user or technical information in English, think about whether they would be better employed by concentrating on using their core skills (what they were hired for).
You may well be surprised by the total costs of this approach, the impact on the productivity of your employees, and the level of quality of the documentation.
If you’re happy with your in-house authoring processes, we can of course provide ad hoc support during employee absences or for special projects.
Our Developmental Editing service is ideal where it makes sense for the subject-matter expert (SME) to draft the basic content. We support the SME throughout the process, and he or she can also benefit from our coaching and mentoring services.
Developing modular content
We develop all user-assistance content – whether user guides or online help – as self-contained modules of text using the Information Mapping method. This approach has many advantages, including the possibility to re-use content in other documents.
For Roche Diabetes Care, we implemented a “storyboard”-based layout for a remote-controlled insulin pump. The text was integrated with the graphics to produce an easy-to-use document for diabetes patients.
Authoring and publishing tools
For user or technical documentation, we can import your approved Microsoft Word content into professional desktop-publishing applications such as Adobe FrameMaker, Adobe InDesign, Adobe RoboHelp or MadCap Flare. We can of course author your content directly in these applications.
When creating user or technical information, it’s essential to deploy a single-sourcing “omnichannel” solution that can be published on multiple platforms, including tablets and smartphones. We can advise you on the best tools for your project.
Software User Guide
This project required both printed and online output from a single file. It was presented at the European Online Help Conference in London.
The documentation was developed using Adobe FrameMaker and RoboHelp.
Most user and technical content – especially large or complex documentation – is developed by our technical authors based in the UK. This ensures both high-quality and cost-effective solutions. The client has direct contact with the technical author, while our core team in Switzerland oversees the project.
We have experience on projects involving DevOps and Agile approaches to software development. The technical author works closely with the developers, and the draft content can be stored with the software source code.
If you need to hire authoring or editing staff, talk to us first. We can help you to identify and select the most suitable candidates. We have supported many companies in the filtering, interviewing and selection of personnel.
Learning and development techniques have evolved enormously over the last two decades, with e-Learning becoming increasingly popular. This trend has been accentuated by the huge numbers of people now working from home. Employees want to learn at their own pace whenever possible.
Our core competencies are in Instructional Design and developing content for online courses. We can also advise you on the most appropriate strategy, whether your objective is to create awareness among your employees, to introduce change, or for the employees to learn a new software application.
Your objective influences the method of delivery. We can help you to choose from the wide range of available tools, and to decide on the most appropriate solution. These can range from an enhanced PowerPoint presentation, through online help, to e-Learning applications – and even printed job aids!
MadCap Flare 2021 Release 2 now offers new features for Learning & Development Programs and e-Learning Content.
An increasingly popular approach is microlearning. This is a concise, effective, stand-alone learning activity that is focused on acquiring knowledge, developing a skill, or completing a given task. It can be delivered using a wide variety of tools and offers many possibilities for innovation in learning and development.
Scripts and storyboards
Using Global English to develop your text will ensure high-quality scripts that are also accessible to non-native English speakers and cost-effective to translate. The content is structured in self-contained modules that are then sequenced in a logical way.
We created training materials using an innovative storyboarding technique for Roche Diabetes Care.
For learning and development projects requiring specific industry-sector and/or technical expertise, Alphadoc can provide solutions using our extensive network of expert freelancers in Switzerland and the UK. Our core team in Neuchâtel has proven project-management experience that ensures the quality of the result.
So if you need to develop content for a course in English, or translate the source text, we can help!