Almost any business or any line of work can be better optimized with the use of help authoring tools. Today, a lot of small, medium and large corporations rely on help authoring tools to aid their customer service processes, project management, staff training, project collaboration, etc. After all, with more flexible working hours, better access to information, and with better organization, every job on the plant is a lot easier.
The problem lies in the high number of existing help authoring tools. Since there was a high demand for such software solutions, many business focused on creating better and improved tools, whereas others simply wanted to use the existing hype and sell a more or less unreliable product.
This article is here to help you ascertain which tools you should use, and be on the safe side when it comes how competent they are.
Is it cloud-based, open source, or a piece of software you need to install?
There is nothing wrong with any of these solutions. It all boils down to what you prefer, or rather, what is the best solution for your line of work.
Cloud based solutions are great in terms of security, and you can all work online. Plus, the information can be easily accessed.
Open source solutions are great for collaborative projects that include a lot of people, where anyone from the community can contribute. The accessibility of this caliber might seem unsafe, but it is not unprotected or unmanageable as people claim, since Wikipedia is still around, and apart from a few pranks in and a few fake entries, everything seems to be functioning fine.
Installed solutions do not offer the same level of flexibility, but they are better solutions in case you need a custom made piece of software for something more particular. As mentioned, it all comes down to what is the best fit for your type of work.
Does it have integration features?
Since there are numerous solutions, you might be required to use more than one tool, in case your job is very complex. It would be best to pick tools that can be integrated with other tools, so that all the information you have can be easily accessed or influenced by other software.
For example, if you have a time tracking tool that works separately from your help authoring tool, pick two that are compatible with one another, because you basically get an upgrade for the software you are using, rather than getting another separate piece of software.
If you are not from an English-speaking country, or if you outsource your work and collaborate with people who are not fluent in English, it would be good to have tool that has other languages available. This way, you ensure that everyone working on the project is up to date, and that they are all capable of using the software.
Complexity of navigation
Another really important thing to be on the lookout for is user-friendliness. A tool that offers a vast number of options and features can easily persuade you into purchasing it. Now, even though they did not lie about its features, it will all come crumbling because your team lacks the proficiency to use those tools. So, make sure to try out something before the purchase and see if there is a free trial period.
Mobile device compatibility
A truly great software has its app version and can be accessed via smartphone. You might not be able to complete your tasks while on the phone, but any latest updates can be noticed, and that’s good enough. You can respond and update your colleagues as well, so with this kind of ability to communicate, projects will be completed a lot more smoothly.
Another thing you need to worry about are costs. There are no high quality solutions that come free of charge. Any tool, especially those designed to help in specific lines of work, will charge you on a monthly basis. Some of them can offer a free trial period that lasts long, which gives you time to check out all of its specifications and learn how to use it, but eventually, you will become a subscriber.
See that the tool is worth its price, and also remember to check if there are any other fees involved regarding maintenance. There are also solutions that you simply pay for and they are yours; these are usually the installed version. If you truly like a tool, and intend to use it for a long time, check if they have an annual package, since theses come at a lot cheaper price.
Lastly, you need to go through user feedback before making a purchase, because no one can give you a more honest opinion of the software than your fellow peers. They can say if it was too complex or if they experienced a malfunction, etc. All things considered, you should know that no tool is perfect. If some of them have only 5 star reviews, these are probably fake. 4,5 is a safe bet.
Well, once you go through these 7 items, you should be able to find a help authoring tool that is perfect for your business, and that your staff will be able to use. There is no rush to do it, just make sure that, when you are purchasing something, you are making the right choice.