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Motion Infographics Part 1: How to Create Effective, Engaging Visual Content

Aug 14, 2018   //   by Barry Saiff   //   Blog  //  No Comments

Design 4 (1)

How do you turn content into a visual masterpiece that can provide people with an easy, enjoyable, and effective learning experience? Could motion infographics be the answer?

Motion infographics combine the best elements of minimalism, instructional design, and information architecture to produce content that enables people to learn quickly and painlessly. Motion infographics don’t merely make learning fun and easy. They have the potential to revolutionize technical documentation by simplifying complex topics and fully engaging users.

Producing effective, engaging visual content requires technical skills and design knowledge. Don’t worry, our top multimedia artists collected their top links for best practices and how-to guides on creating motion infographics. Take a look at our list of some of the best resources that can help you.

  • Animated Infographics: How Do They Work and What Makes Them Effective?
    From The Content Wrangler
    This article provides a basic tutorial and overview on how to create simple motion infographics. Read it here.
  • The Best Animation and Motion Graphics Software to Learn
    From School of Motion
    This article compiles an extensive list of applications that you need to learn to create motion infographics. Read it here.
  • Animagraffs: Education Animated by Jacob O’Neal
    From Adobe Blogs
    This article contains the fundamentals and best practices for creating motion infographics. Read it here.
  • Pro-Tips for Creating Interactive Infographics
    From Creative Bloq
    This article shares must-know tips to guide you in creating effective visual content applicable to motion infographics. Read it here.

Do you want to know more about motion infographics and other technical communication trends? Let us know! We’d love to hear from you. If you haven’t already, subscribe to our newsletter (form above), and receive updates on our latest blog posts, webinars, and other educational events.

Visual Learning Ecosystems (VLEs) Part 2: Are VLEs Really Something New?

Mar 13, 2018   //   by Barry Saiff   //   Blog  //  No Comments

Visual Learning Ecosystems (VLEs) combine media elements such as animations, videos, graphics, and text to create large sets of educational information, presented to consumers based on their choices and their learning experiences.

VLEs can be incorporated within products, or interface with those products, to provide real-world, practical educational experiences, addressing the short attention spans and visual and auditory preferences of modern consumers. VLEs can facilitate customers through pre-sale or post-sale content, and make possible immersive, interactive, experiential learning journeys, customized based on the consumer’s wants and needs.

But are VLEs really new? Haven’t we seen all this before? Are VLEs just hype?

Let’s compare VLEs to three other types of content collections: Elearning Modules, Multi-media Presentations, and Knowledge Bases.

Elearning modules and VLEs both make use of multiple forms of media such as animations, videos, graphics, and text to facilitate a learning process.

Elearning modules are delivered through a pre-designed syllabus or curriculum. You can go through all of the materials, or just pick the parts that you want to use. However, you are confined to the pre-designed scope of that specific course. Not all of the materials may fit your learning style.

On the other hand, using VLEs, you design your own journey through a set of educational materials that matches your learning preferences and needs. If you want to learn more about a topic, VLEs can help you branch out and find more relevant information, presented in media that suit your learning style.

Elearning modules provide an interactive and practical method to educate and learn, but don’t necessarily cater to each user’s learning preferences and needs. VLEs further explore the potential of digital educational media by turning learning experiences into personalized journeys.

What about multi-media presentations? These pre-designed collections of content have been around for many decades. While they allow for a varied conglomeration of relevant information, presented in a variety of media, they are even less user-directed than elearning modules.

How about knowledge bases? Knowledge bases are often focused on post-sales content that helps consumers use products and services effectively. They can provide information in a wide variety of media. And they sometimes allow users to choose from a variety of learning options at different stages of their journey through the material.

In fact, some of the most advanced knowledge bases in use today can be accurately described as VLEs. While both knowledge bases and VLEs can focus on either post-sales help information or other types of content, knowledge bases are strongly associated with product support. The term VLE may be more appropriate to describe the wide variety of interactive, customizable content collections that enable unique user journeys through educational, marketing, pre-sales, post-sales, and even entertainment content.

Are you ready to achieve a level of success that leads the world? Contact Saiff Solutions today.

VLEs are the cutting edge of information design, interactive learning, customer service, and marketing. Have you experienced using a VLE, or something close to it? We’d love to hear your thoughts.

This is the second entry in an educational series exploring the power of VLEs. If you haven’t already, subscribe to our newsletter (form above), and receive updates on our latest blog posts, webinars, and other educational events.

Visual Learning Ecosystems (VLEs) Part 1: The Future of Technical and Marketing Communication

Feb 12, 2018   //   by Barry Saiff   //   Blog  //  2 Comments

We live in an age of rapid technological development. Information is becoming more and more essential and valuable. Content is everywhere, delivered rapidly, via every form of media.

Are you getting exactly the content that you need? How can you tell? Much of the content we consume is curated for us, for example, our Facebook feeds.

Let’s say you want to master a new field of knowledge. Of course, you can use the internet. But, how do you go about it? If you are unfamiliar with the field, you may not be able to distinguish credible information from inaccurate or misleading information. Also, maybe you don’t like reading long passages. Perhaps you prefer to watch short videos, or view content that has graphics and text. The presentation of information greatly affects the quality of the content, and the experience of the user.

What is the answer?

One way to address the needs of learners is something we call a VLE, a Visual Learning Ecosystem. VLEs combine media elements such as animations, videos, graphics, and text to create large sets of educational information, presented to consumers based on their choices and their learning experiences.

VLEs can be incorporated within products, or interface with those products, to provide real-world, practical educational experiences, addressing the short attention spans and visual and auditory preferences of modern consumers. VLEs can facilitate customers through pre-sale or post-sale content, and make possible immersive, interactive, experiential learning journeys, customized based on the consumer’s wants and needs.

Creating VLEs requires a mixture of skills and talents. Experience creating graphics, videos, animation, and films alone is not adequate. VLE teams also need textual content experts such as technical writers, instructional designers, marketing professionals, and various creative, content, and technical professionals. Unique among technical content development companies, Saiff Solutions actually employs all of these types of professionals.

Our reputation for excellent content quality, and our commitment to integrity and outstanding customer service, will allow us to deliver on your vision of interactive educational journeys, and your commitment to creating an exceptional customer experience throughout the sales cycle.

Are you ready to achieve a level of success that leads the world? Contact Saiff Solutions today.

VLEs are the cutting edge of information design, interactive learning, customer service, and marketing. Have you experienced using a VLE, or something close to it? We’d love to hear your thoughts.

This is the first entry in an educational series exploring the power of VLEs. If you haven’t already, subscribe to our newsletter (form above), and receive updates on our latest blog posts, webinars, and other educational events.

Welcome to the Saiff Solutions Blog!

Jan 10, 2018   //   by Mike Ronquillo   //   Blog  //  No Comments

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Below you will find our latest and greatest blog posts.

Click here for the complete list of blog posts sorted by title

Happy New Year!

Jan 10, 2018   //   by Silka Jade De Guzman   //   Blog  //  No Comments

Saiff Solutions, Inc. wishes all of our followers and supporters a Happy New Year and a prosperous and joyous 2018!

Once again, we are sharing with you our year-end/year-start questions. We use these questions every year to support our growth and development. Use them as you see fit, to empower yourself, your organizations, and your loved ones.

Give me my 2018 action plan for success!

 

 

2017 Recap: Saiff Solutions’ Best Year Yet!

Jan 9, 2018   //   by Barry Saiff   //   Blog  //  No Comments

FINAL-BANNER

2017 was an amazing year for Saiff Solutions – our best year yet! Here’s how our year went:

Quality Still Matters

The year started with the biggest project in the six-year history of Saiff Solutions. We provided text and graphics for a vehicle diagnostic and repair software company. To meet the needs of this client, we grew from 11 full-time employees at our office in Tagaytay City, Philippines, to 51 employees in a period of only six weeks. We were able to manage this rapid growth while maintaining excellent quality. This client was not the first that has effusively praised our quality.

By the end of the year, we started projects with three more clients, expanding our scope to marketing content creation and motion graphics – animations, videos, and e-learning modules, while also adding technical writing and technical illustration work.

This growth was only possible because there are companies that still care about content quality. We have found that to many companies, but not all, quality matters. We have our best successes working with clients who care deeply about the quality of their content, and understand that their customers also care.

Our Growing Presence

We were Platinum Sponsors of the largest LavaCon to date. LavaCon, the leading global conference on content strategy and technical communications management, had over 350 participants at their November 5-8 Conference in Portland, Oregon. On November 5, Barry Saiff and Dave Wilks led a 4-hour workshop, Achieving the Extraordinary: Content Development Management Success, with 29 active participants. Later that evening, Saiff Solutions hosted the Speaker Reception for 80 LavaCon speakers, and the Participant Reception for several hundred participants, both at Kells Irish Bar in Portland. These were the best LavaCon parties ever! All week people thanked us for hosting the receptions. The attendees had so much fun that Saiff Solutions has decided to host the LavaCon opening night receptions every year!

On Monday, November 6, Barry led a one-hour session, Content Development Estimates and Proposals: The Groundwork for Success, with over 40 participants. This was a very illuminating discussion. To find out more about our LavaCon experience, read our blog post here.

Saiff Solutions hosted four webinars in the second half of 2017, with hundreds of registrants each month – over 1,500 in all. We’ve covered different aspects of technical documentation, ranging from leadership and management to intrapreneurship and project tracking. Find out more about the webinars here.

Here is a direct quote from someone who took us up on the free phone consultation we offer at the end of each webinar: “Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Your advice is much appreciated! Thank You!!!”

Would you like some assistance with your content strategy or team challenges? Would you like some ideas on how best to navigate bureaucratic hurdles? Let us know.

6TH Anniversary - version 4-01A Happy Community

Saiff Solutions grew in many ways in 2017. Our community engaged in various activities that enhanced professional development, team effectiveness, and personal well-being.

We conducted a variety of skills trainings with local and international partners. As part of one training, writers created ebook drafts that delved into interviewing SMEs and working in an Agile environment. Weekly grammar trainings helped writers and illustrators brush up on their English skills.

 

In addition to regular trainings in client products and services and the tools and technology of our trade, our training program for 2018 will focus on five areas:

  1. Mathematics, logic, and critical thinking
  2. Graphics: technical illustration, graphic design, animation, and film
  3. English: speaking and listening effectively
  4. English: writing – basics, grammar, and technical writing methodology
  5. Transformation/Change: how to adopt new habits and gain freedom from past limitations to achieve greater effectiveness

Saiff Solutions treasures the bonds between our staff. On May 29, we had an all-day company outing focused on fun, to help us unwind from work and get to know each other in new ways. Then on October 28, we went to Gratchi’s Farm Getaway for a day of team-building activities, to improve our teamwork and discover strengths we didn’t know we had. On December 22, we celebrated our hard work and success in a 70’s-themed year-end party. These activities didn’t just spice up our busy work lives with fun and excitement, they also gave each member of the Saiff Solutions community a sense of growth, fulfillment, and belonging.

Thank you for supporting and believing in us over the last 6 years.

Here’s to an awesome 2018! Happy New Year!


 

We are sharing with you our year-end/year-start questions. We use these questions every year to support our growth and development. Use them as you see fit to empower yourself, your organizations, and your loved ones. Click the link here.

 

Saiff Solutions Conquers LavaCon 2017!

Nov 16, 2017   //   by Barry Saiff   //   Blog  //  No Comments

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LavaCon 2017 in Portland, Oregon, USA, November 5-8 was the largest LavaCon yet, with 350 participants. And Saiff Solutions was everywhere!

On Sunday, November 5, Barry Saiff and Dave Wilks led a 4-hour workshop, Achieving the Extraordinary: Content Development Management Success. 29 people attended, and everyone participated fully. It was a lively, dynamic afternoon, including paired exercises, group discussions, and excellent questions. Several people shared about their struggles with offshore technical writing.

Sunday evening, Saiff Solutions, a Platinum Sponsor of LavaCon, sponsored two receptions, both at Kells Irish Bar. From 6 to 7:30 pm, we hosted the Speaker Reception, for the 80 LavaCon speakers. At 7:30 the LavaCon participants arrived for the opening reception. We had fabulous food, great drinks, live music, two brief speeches, and lots of fun. All week, people thanked us for sponsoring the reception.

In his two talks Sunday night, Barry Saiff explained that the tremendous success of Saiff Solutions has a particular meaning for everyone in the tech comm industry. Saiff Solutions has grown from 11 full-time staff at the start of 2017 to 53 full-time staff in the Philippines today, plus a dozen others around the world. What this means is that quality still matters. There are many, many companies who care deeply about content quality. Our success would not be possible without them.

Our Saiff Solutions notebooks were a big hit! Everybody wanted one. Also popular were our 3 different 7 habits infographics.

Our Saiff Solutions notebooks were a big hit! Everybody wanted one. Also popular were our 3 different 7 habits infographics.  Click here, here, and here to view them all.

 

On Monday Barry Saiff led a one-hour session, Content Development Estimates and Proposals: The Groundwork for Success. Over 40 people attended, and many asked great questions or shared their project estimation techniques with us.

Clearly, those of us managing and leading content development efforts are hungry for community, discussion, learning, advice, and mentoring. Would you like a free consultation with Barry Saiff? Let us know.

Thanks to all of you for your support over the last 6 years. We have only just begun!

 

 

 

 

The 7 Habits for Success in Crafting Global Content

Oct 26, 2017   //   by Barry Saiff   //   Blog  //  No Comments

Check this out:  7 Habits for Success in Crafting Global Content. Learn how delivering customer satisfaction across languages and cultures helps in creating world-class content.
7 Habits for Success in Crafting Global Content

Tech Comm Intrapreneurship: 5 Key Approaches Infographic

Oct 6, 2017   //   by Barry Saiff   //   Blog  //  No Comments

Discover how adapting an “intrapreneurial” mindset can help you sell the value of innovative ideas, new approaches, and improvements in technology.

This infographic features 5 key approaches tech comm intrapreneurs can use to bridge the gap between tech comm teams and upper management.

5 Key Approaches

 

Want to know more? Check out our webinar on this topic, here.

Highlights of FrameMaker 2017: Ease of Use, Dynamic Output, and Productivity Enhancements

Apr 7, 2017   //   by Jay Manahan   //   Blog  //  No Comments

by the Saiff Solutions Technical Writing Team

 

The virtual press conference for the 2017 release of the Adobe Technical Communication Suite introduced significant updates to its flagship authoring tool, Adobe FrameMaker. The 2017 release of Adobe FrameMaker includes big improvements in the user interface and a list of various productivity and publishing enhancements.

User Interface Improvements

The biggest changes since the last version are the improvements in the user interface. These changes include a more intuitive and user-friendly welcome screen, a command search feature, and a new project manager.

The new welcome screen makes commonly used tasks immediately available after launching FrameMaker. The welcome screen has a Recent Items section that makes it easier for users to access recent documents. The Browse field lets users search and access files quickly, navigate to a folder, connect to a CMS repository, and restore your last working session. Shortcuts to common document templates are prominently displayed on the new welcome screen, allowing users to easily create new documents. Helpful topics available in Adobe Resources are displayed as links in the resources area of the welcome screen. You can customize the appearance, organization, and contents of the welcome screen by updating the HTML and CSS files located in your user directory.

The new command search feature makes it easier for beginning and experienced users to find different features, commands, and shortcut keys in FrameMaker. From the command search icon, type part of the command name and a list of matching commands is displayed. Users can click the command from the search results to execute the command directly from the command search.

More command shortcuts are displayed with the menu options for easy recall of shortcut key sequences.

The new project manager allows users to manage and organize project files easier and faster. After creating a project from the File menu or from the welcome screen, you can add links to resources, such as documents and graphics, to your project. You can easily drag and drop images, links, and contents from the project manager to your documents. Users can create projects for a specific book or multiple books, and reference those books inside the project.

Dynamic Publishing Output

Adobe FrameMaker 2017 comes with the latest HTML and HTML5 publishing layouts that adopt the latest practices in responsive content.

The Ocean layout includes predictive search, dynamic content filtering by DITA attribute values, integrated TOCs on each page, and HD-optimized icons. Predictive search completes the search phrase as the user types in the search field. Matching search results are also displayed as the user types. The basic HTML layout lets users create output without the extra files for responsive content and other features. This results in a lightweight HTML output that is appropriate for organizations that use their own CSS and template files. Layouts are customizable. You can turn off unneeded widgets, configure content filtering, and change the icons.

For DITA users, the new HTML5 layouts supports dynamic content filtering that lets you filter content that is displayed in your output by DITA attribute value.

Productivity Enhancements

Adobe FrameMaker 2017 gives you more comprehensive search results with the ability to search for text within SVG graphic files.

The support for higher graphic resolution up to the 4K standard allows the user to use FrameMaker in higher resolution monitor settings without the UI elements and text rendering uncomfortably small.

Initial Impressions

“The 2017 release of Adobe FrameMaker is more intuitive and user-friendly. Creating technical content is easier and faster because the user interface is much more well organized. I’m amazed at how FrameMaker 2017 transformed my draft into an organized and well-structured document.”

“Adobe FrameMaker lets me work effortlessly, and improves my technical writing. Enhanced features and reorganized menus will save you time and effort when you work with FrameMaker 2017.”

– Barry Saiff


To learn more about FrameMaker 2017, visit http://www.adobe.com/products/framemaker.html or email customer support at tcssup@adobe.com.

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Saiff Solutions In The Media

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Testimonials

“After Symantec acquired Brightmail in 2004, Barry played key roles in integrating the information development team and their content into Symantec’s then-developing Unified Content Strategy. Barry [Saiff]’s experience, product and content knowledge, and leadership qualities helped the Brightmail team to become a trailblazer within the company. The processes, tools, and practices they helped to develop for content management are used throughout the company, thanks in large part to Barry’s participation in numerous cross-departmental teams. Barry is a natural leader who can effectively contribute to any endeavor. He has a passion for serving customers that drives him to create and evangelize process improvements and to collaborate effectively with diverse groups and individuals. I would be glad to work with Barry again.”

Alexia Idoura (nee Prendergast)
Senior Manager, Symantec
February 16, 2011

Read more testimonials here.