Do the right thing, not the easy thing.
At ITRS, one of our key company values – do the right thing, not the easy thing – reinforces the old cliché that there are some things you just can’t rush.
One project here that epitomises this is a comprehensive modernisation of the Geneos user documentation. As we move from summer to autumn, we’re tremendously excited that after more than six months of planning, we’re approaching the point where we can start delivering change.
So, what can you expect through late 2017 and early 2018? Everything from small but significant improvements such as newly-written, downloadable PDF user guides for our most commonly asked about plugins (FKM, FTM, Toolkit and SQL Toolkit to start); to a completely new information architecture (IA) that will organise the Geneos online help into How To, User Guide and Technical Reference content.
This ‘site-level IA’ piece is key because, for the first time, you’ll be able to find and consume content based not only on what something is (noun-based Tech Ref), but also on how you can use it (verb-based procedures). The new IA will be delivered iteratively, but over time you’ll see it gradually improve your experience of ITRS.
Our ‘topic-level IA’, which is to say the structure of content within a topic, will be improved to sequence information more helpfully and to be clear and concise. We’ll also introduce search engine improvements. Both of these initiatives are aimed at making it easier for you to find the knowledge you’re looking for.
While we work through these two colossal IA tasks, we’re also going to deliver an interim PDF version of all the Geneos 4.3 help. This version won’t include our wide-ranging IA changes, but it’s something our customers desperately want, and I therefore consider it a key goal for our teams to work towards. Expect it this year.
Behind the scenes, there are too many other changes to mention, but two big ones are to integrate our professional technical writers into our agile development process, ensuring that we deliver the best user experience in the documentation in the future; and to begin a systematic review of every Geneos help topic for accuracy, currency and literary standards.
In time, we’d like to introduce video and rich media to the help, too. But we’re not biting off more than we can chew right now, so stay tuned next year for more about that.
As we incrementally and iteratively deliver these changes, we hope you’ll bear with us: it won’t come as a surprise that this is a huge undertaking.
We can’t and shouldn’t rush this process, but never doubt that we’re always listening to you and making the right decisions, not the easy ones, to make sure you can get the most from our online help.