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helpstuff blog - October 2007

helpstuff blog

Helping end-users since 1981

Archives for: October 2007

10/25/07

Permalink 09:43:49 pm, Categories: Announcements, Help Authoring Tools, 158 words   English (US)

Adobe releases RoboHelp 7/Technical Communication Suite

The Adobe website has been updated, and you can now download trial versions and purchase RoboHelp 7 and the new Technical Communication Suite (which includes RoboHelp 7, FrameMaker 8, Captivate 3, and Acrobat 3D).

While the two versions of RoboHelp are slightly different, they both include UNICODE and translation workflow support, customizable workspaces, support for FrameMaker 8, a true code HTML editor with no Kadov tags (clean HTML in RoboHelp...whoda thunk it? ;-) ), enhanced single sourcing, snippets (which can be imported and exported for use with other projects), user-defined variables, support for Microsoft Word 2007 and Microsoft Windows Vista support, and Captivate integration.

While I wasn't able to spend as much time as I would have liked with the beta, I was quite impressed with many of the changes. The only thing I wish was different (or at least changeable...I need to play with topic templates to see if I can finagle them) was the DOCTYPE of the individual topics.

Hat tip: HATT.

10/24/07

Permalink 09:16:26 am, Categories: Announcements, User Assistance, 177 words   English (US)

Call for manuscripts: Human Technology

While I was checking out the latest news from the various groups I belong to on Facebook yesterday, I came across wall entries at User Centred Design and User experience design (FaceBook members only) by Katherine Blashki. Ms. Blashki is the guest editor of The Interface: Mediator between Human and Technology, a special issue of the Journal of Human Technology.

From the call for manuscripts: "This special issue of Human Technology will focus on the important role of the interface as the mediator between the human user and the object of interaction, the technology. Particular emphasis will be on the affective aspects of design, development and implementation of interfaces and the generational implications for design of human and technology interaction. Of particular interest to the editor is the emergence of innovative ideas and research that concentrate on the way in which the interface functions as the “translator” between the bits and bytes of technologies and the human body."

I hope to see an article or two from those highly qualified folks that I know read my blog!

10/22/07

Permalink 02:19:34 pm, Categories: Announcements, 43 words   English (US)

Adobe announces update to patch Reader vulnerabilities

Earlier today, Adobe released a security update that applies to Adobe Reader 8.1 and earlier; Adobe Reader 7.0.9 and earlier; Adobe Acrobat Professional, 3D and Standard 8.1 and earlier versions; and Adobe Acrobat Professional, Standard, 3D and Elements 7.0.9 and earlier.

The Security Bulletin provides more information.

10/21/07

Permalink 09:26:05 am, Categories: Announcements, User Assistance, Speaking Engagements, 251 words   English (US)

Judge issued landmark decisions in Target accessibility case...

And the silence was deafening ;-)

On October 2, 2007, federal district Judge Marilyn Hall Patel granted class-action status to the National Federation of the Blind vs. Target lawsuit, filed in February 2006. This means that blind people throughout the country who have tried to access Target.com can become plaintiffs.

In addition, she ruled that websites like Target's are required by California law to be accessible. (The orginal lawsuit was brought by northern California resident Bruce Sexton.)

This news is HUGE, and could have long-reaching implications in website design for accessibility. So many sites are not W3C-compliant nor accessible, in part because these items are not official requirements. Some designers think it's too hard to make a compliant site. Others just don't know how and think that a second accessible site is required. (Ask anyone using a screen reader about trying to shop at Amazon.com, which runs a not-quite-parallel site.)

What amazes me is how much money Target is probably spending to defend their practices and their website, when in reality, all they needed to do was add alt attributes to images, properly label form controls, and make sure that a mouse wasn't required for navigation.

Next week, I'll be presenting "Accessibility: An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure!" at LavaCon. This session will demonstrate some accessibility issues, show some good and bad sites, discuss how you can make your websites more accessible, and provide a list of applications that can help you gauge the accessibility of your site.

10/20/07

Permalink 06:25:58 am, Categories: Conferences, 121 words   English (US)

Last week to register for LavaCon!

This year, LavaCon is partnering with Project Management Institute's Greater New Orleans Chapter, and Jack Molisani has planned a fantastic conference program. Come learn innovative techniques, proven best practices, leadership skills, and more. I'll be speaking on accessibility (an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!), made all the more timely by the recent announcement in the Target lawsuit.

If you get there on Saturday, help out at the Community Service Day by working with Habitat for Humanity, and then attend the Welcome Reception/Networking Mixer.

At least two vendors are offering special discounts...Adobe is giving 10% off, and MadCap is offering a special price for the MadPak and will donate $100 to the New Orleans Habitat for Humanity effort.

10/01/07

Permalink 08:06:47 pm, Categories: Announcements, Help Authoring Tools, 43 words   English (US)

Participate in the MadCap survey!

MadCap Software is doing a survey (and they'll be giving away T-shirts to five entrants who leave their contact information. They're asking about Frame and Word usage, and are trying to collect as much data as possible before the survey closes on October 6.

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