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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.

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

FB art

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.

Be an Effective Tech Comm Professional with this 2017 Technical Communications Calendar

Jan 3, 2017   //   by Barry Saiff   //   Blog, Concepts and Definitions, Evaluating Technical Writers, Reference Articles  //  No Comments

Featuring the 14 Habits of Highly Effective Technical Writers &  Technical Communications Leaders

You’ve read the blog post and seen the STC-sponsored webinar. Now you can have the 14 Habits of Highly Effective Technical Writers and Technical Communications Leaders guide you through 2017 with this desk-stand calendar.

2017 Technical Communications Calendar - Desk Stand

Download the PDF and get your favorite print shop to print it on 6.5″ x 4.5″ card paper and bind it. Then display it on your desk and be reminded to Ask, Rewrite, Get Feedback, and Be a Customer Advocate to maximize your effectiveness as a tech comm professional.

If you’d rather be inspired whenever you look at your office wall, then print this wall-hanging version on 8″ x 11″ paper.

2017 Technical Communications Calendar - Wall Hanging

And if you’d like to know further how we can help your customer experience and process improvement advocacy by scaling up your technical documentation, send us a message at barrysaiff@saiffsolutions.com.

Tech Comm Goal Setting 2017

Dec 18, 2016   //   by Barry Saiff   //   Blog, Content Strategy, Evaluating Technical Writers, Managing Technical Writers  //  No Comments

Saiff Solutions, Inc. wishes all of our followers and supporters a Happy New Year and a prosperous and joyous 2017!

Once again, we are sharing with you our year end/year start questions. Use them as you see fit, to empower yourself, your organizations, and your loved ones.

Give me my 2017 action plan for success!

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Saiff Solutions In The Media

- TechWhirl
- Nominated for 2015 Rice Bowl Asean Start Up

Click image to enlarge

Testimonials

“Barry [Saiff] truly is a force of nature – he is a consummate professional with deep technical expertise when it comes to technical writing which lets him just “get it” right out of the box. Barry pairs very strong writing skills with the ability to easily speak both “business analyst” and “software engineer” in the same meeting. Barry was the lead information developer for my product at Symantec, and I had the utmost confidence in his abilities and work ethic. On top of all that, Barry has a wonderful sense of humor and an infectious laugh that can transform the work environment in an instance. I strongly endorse Barry’s many talents and would welcome working with him again in the future.”

Angelos Kottas
Principal Product Manager, Symantec
December 17, 2010

Read more testimonials here.