There are a host of desktop authoring tools on the market that are specialized for technical, product and help content including Adobe FrameMaker, Adobe RoboHelp, Madcap Flare and XMetal. These tools support a variety of output formats, but one of the more interesting is Compiled HTML Help (CHM). This is the compiled help system that were once in pretty much every desktop application you’ve ever used. I’m sure you remember this help system, it’s the window that opened when you clicked help or pressed the F1 key on your keyboard.
In-product contextual help systems were once the primary medium for delivering help content. Then we moved to the web. The first generation of web applications were pretty simple and thus didn’t require contextual help. Now web apps have grown up and MindTouch has moved into the ever widening gap between sophisticated products and their sophisticated users.
Today we announced that with MindTouch you can now extend desktop authoring tools with all the features and benefits afforded by our unique Social Help Center: dynamically organizing content, social sharing, Behavioral Analytics, Adaptive Search, user feedback, search engine optimization, and branded user experiences, just to name a few.
In just a few clicks, content authors can publish to MindTouch from their existing desktop tools. Hierarchies, cross-link references, image and page formats are maintained. Content is automatically and dynamically organized by tags and the site hierarchy. All content is indexed by a powerful search tool.
“Content becomes exponentially more valuable when authors are able to understand users’ behavior and receive end users’ feedback” said Robert J. Glushko, School of Information, University of California, Berkeley regarding our latest announcement. “Analytics and feedback provide authors with the knowledge they need to deliver users with fresh, relevant information, organized in ways that help them find the information they need quickly.”
Kelly Abbott, MindTouch VP of Product, wrote about this announcement at the MindTouch blog, “Hey, Pal! Who You Callin’ CHM?”, highlighting the fact that this feature has been in private beta for some time now. The customers that have been using it are ecstatic. I’ve personally witnessed customers publish from Adobe RoboHelp or Madcap Flare in a few minutes and add a contextual help system to their web apps in an afternoon.
“The first tenet of communications is to ‘know your audience’. It’s not enough to guess what they need. Decisions on what content to create and how to organize it need to be based on actionable intelligence. By providing your customers with socially-enabled content, you can be a part of the conversation; you can act upon the suggestions they make, the reactions they have, and actions they take.” stated Charles Cooper, Experience Analyst, The Rockley Group. He continued to say: “You can learn if there’s content they need that you’re not providing, and discover what motivates and excites them. In today’s socially-enabled world, it’s not enough to provide static tri-pane online help. You have to provide a meaningful and relevant content experience.”
We’re very excited about this new capability. The implications for web apps and mobile apps are profound. Send us an email if you want a demo or just pick up the phone and give us a call +1 (619) 795-8459 we’d love to hear from you.