Browsing articles in "How-To"

How to Create Motion Infographics Part 2

Sep 27, 2018   //   by Barry Saiff   //   Blog, Content Strategy, How-To  //  No Comments

How to Create Motion Infographics part 2

Tweaking a static infographic to include animated elements can help you stand out. If you’re not sure where to begin, let us help!

Visual content is one of the best ways to keep your reader engaged on your blog or website. In today’s digital age, readers often suffer from text overload. A colorful image or two can sustain readers’ interest. Animating your images keeps readers’ eyes from wandering away from your page.

When it comes to creating infographics, you have lots of great tools at your disposal. Applications like Adobe After Effects or Illustrator can help you design powerful, effective images. 

Our multimedia team uses GIF formatting to create motion infographics. Among a variety of formatting options, GIF is the most effective and cost-efficient. GIFs contain micro-animations – continuously moving images that catch the attention of your audience.

If you want to know more about how our multimedia team creates motion infographics, here is a quick primer:

  1. We use Adobe Illustrator to create images based on a client’s needs.
  2. We use Autodesk Maya to create a 3D model of the image to be animated. The movement is drawn frame-by-frame, and is called an image sequence.
  3. We then import the image sequence into Adobe Media Encoder CC.
  4. In Adobe Media Encoder CC, we render the moving image as an .Mp4 file to reduce the file size without compromising quality.
  5. Lastly, we use Adobe After Effects CC to add text and graphics that support the infographic.

If you want to deepen your knowledge on motion infographics, our multimedia team has shared some useful tips:

  • 4 Must-Have Motion Graphic Design Applications
    From Adorama Learning Center

    This article provides a list of four must-have applications for aspiring video editors, videographers, and motion graphic designers. Read it here.
  • 7 Motion Design Lessons Learned the Hard Way
    From Pond5 Blog

    This article shares seven key lessons that you need to learn to succeed in motion design. Read it here.
  • Layout Cheat Sheet: Making the Best Out of Visual Arrangement
    From Piktochart

    This article teaches the importance of using white space and layout arrangement to take your infographics to the next level. Read it here.
  • Motion Graphics Software You Should Know
    From RocketStock

    This article compiles a list of motion graphics software perfect for bringing your ideas to life. Read it here.

Missed our September 13 webinar? View the recording here, and the slide deck here. Discover the future of microcontent with host Scott Abel of The Content Wrangler, and special guests Rob Hanna of Precision Content Authoring Solutions and Barry Saiff of Saiff Solutions.

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Events: Virtual Summit on Advanced Practices in Technical Communication 2016

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December 6-8, 2016

The Content Wrangler is sponsoring The Virtual Summit on Advanced Practices in Technical Communication, a free, three-day event designed especially for technical communication professionals. The event features 12 free one-hour sessions from some of the industry’s best and brightest talents — experts in agile outsourcing, XML authoring, content strategy, content management, translation and localization, intelligent content, plain language, customer experience, and more. Learn more.

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As part of The Virtual Summit, Saiff Solutions, yours truly, is sharing its knowledge on Managing Technical Writing Outsourcing in an Agile Environment on December 8, 2016 at 6pm EST. Register below, it’s free!

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Webinar: Content Wrangler Sponsored, Managing Technical Writing Outsourcing in an Agile Environment

Oct 26, 2016   //   by Barry Saiff   //   Blog, Content Strategy, How-To, Outsourcing, Webinars  //  No Comments

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December 8, 2016, 3:00 PM PST
Hosted by Scott Abel, The Content Wrangler
Presented by Barry Saiff, CEO of Saiff Solutions/Expert in Tech Writing Outsourcing and Fred Williams, CEO of Williams Technical/Agile Advocate

Value of Agile

Agile development offers advantages. Short cycles, cross-disciplinary teams, frequent short meetings, and input from users can lead to satisfied customers and faster product delivery. Technical writing outsourcing is often late to the game–with other teams already globally distributed. Even when technical writers are co-located with developers, process issues can pose obstacles. For example, without a mechanism for notifying writers of user interface changes, accuracy suffers.

Synopsis

Can technical writing outsourcing work in an Agile environment, even if writers are off-shore and developers are not? Join Scott Abel, The Content Wrangler, Barry Saiff, CEO of Saiff Solutions, and Fred Williams, CEO of Williams Technical, for this free one-hour webinar. Our presenters will discuss how innovative organizations are successfully merging technical writing outsourcing with Agile development.

What You’ll Learn

You’ll learn the key steps to success in technical writing outsourcing, how outsourced writers integrate into Agile teams, and how to manage these approaches to improve quality, save time, and reduce costs.

Reserve My Seat bunny

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Technical Communications Leaders

Oct 5, 2016   //   by Christian Cahapin   //   Blog, Evaluating Technical Writers, How-To, Managing Technical Writers  //  No Comments

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You can be an effective leader, regardless of your position. These 7 habits go beyond the basics of developing good content, to answer this question:

As a technical communications leader, at any level, how do you influence the work environment, improve the processes, and educate the people to make continuous improvement possible?

1. Be a Customer Advocate

be-a-customer-advocateWhile you may have less product knowledge than an engineer, you can view the product from a user’s perspective. Share your input and advocate for product and process improvements. Support similar efforts initiated by others. Focus on quality.

2. Advocate for Process Improvementsadvocate-for-process-improvements

Process improvements can benefit everyone on the team, and improve product quality. Can the quality assurance team test the documentation? Can technical writers edit the user interface text and error messages? Can written documentation reviews become a factor in the performance evaluations of all product team members? Would documentation review meetings improve quality?

3. Care About All Customer-visible Content

If you’re only writing the customer documentation, there is a chance that no one with your skills is editing other user-visible content. Even if you cannot edit this content, you can educate others about key technical writing practices. For example – One concept, One term – each word should be used to mean only one thing. This avoids user confusion, and saves translation funds. Another key technical writing practice: short sentences.

4. Be an Effective Intrapreneurbe-an-effective-intrapreneur

Think about how to create change – look before you leap. Understand the who, what, and how of change. Who are the key stakeholders and decision-makers, and what motivates them? What do they care about? How can you best bring them on board? What are their backgrounds – cultural, professional, educational? Start with curiosity. Listen. Discuss. Ask questions.

5. Know Your Audience

know-your-audienceWhat do you know about the users – education levels, roles? How do they use the product and access the documentation? What percentage read the documentation in English? Collaborative efforts with other teams can aid your research. One way to learn more is to conduct a user survey. While gaining approval can be an uphill battle, the insights gained from a well-designed survey can make the effort worthwhile.

6. Promote Appropriate Technical Communications Methodologies Gentlypromote-appropriate-technical-communications-methodologies-gently

Not every organization needs to use the latest methodologies. What worked elsewhere may not work for your team. Bring others along with you – educate and involve engineers, quality assurance personnel, marketers, and product managers in assessing and exploring new methodologies. For example, some organizations can benefit from adopting topic-based authoring, without XML or DITA.

7. Keep Perspective, and De-stress

keep-perspective-and-destressMistakes provide tremendous opportunities for personal and organizational growth, including improved processes, communications, and skills. Accept these moments and make the most of them. Learn from successes and failures. Remember that what is truly irreplaceable is human life. Learn what you need, and what your coworkers need, to reduce and relieve stress.

Consistently practicing these 7 habits will support your development as an effective technical communications leader, continuous process improvement in your organization, harmonious work relationships, and improved content and product quality. Be the change you wish to see.

You may also like:

Webinars: Recording – How to Motivate and Empower Globally-Competitive Content Teams

Apr 19, 2016   //   by Barry Saiff   //   Blog, How-To, Managing Technical Writers, Outsourcing, Webinars  //  No Comments

Missed Out? Join Our Live, Interactive Encore of This Webinar

We’re offering a complimentary, second chance opportunity to learn from other technical writing, content managers and other professionals from many different industries across the globe. You can also take part in interactive discussions and ask questions around your needs.

Click here for details and registration.

Infographics: 7 Elements of Respect

Apr 18, 2016   //   by Barry Saiff   //   Blog, Concepts and Definitions, How-To, Managing Technical Writers, Outsourcing, Reference Articles  //  No Comments

We’ve condensed the 21 Dimensions of Respect into a more digestible 7 elements.

Check out these 4 infographics illustrating the 7 elements!

Click on each image to expand for downloading.

BALANCE Infographic 1 of 4

BALANCE Infographic 2 of 4

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A Motivating SLAP!

Apr 1, 2016   //   by Barry Saiff   //   Blog, Concepts and Definitions, How-To, Managing Technical Writers, Outsourcing, Reference Articles  //  No Comments

Here is an acronym that summarizes the key success factors for motivating professionals:

SLAP!


Success

SUCCESS: People need successes to feel good about themselves and their work. Make sure there are small things that even the worst performer has a chance to succeed at. And then “catch them doing something good” and praise them. Your primary responsibility is to support your staff to succeed.

Learn

LEARNING: If a person is not interested in and motivated by learning, and by opportunities to learn, then they were probably not a good hire. Give your staff chances to grow. If you are creative, you will see learning opportunities everywhere, in everything.

Accurate Feedback

ACCURATE FEEDBACK: You owe this to each person on your staff. Separate emotion from fact. Separate actions and behaviors from person/identity. When someone makes a mistake, tell them. When they do something well, tell them. Do not let anything go. Be fair, precise, frequent, and helpful in providing feedback.

 Praise

PRAISE: Everyone needs praise. A study found that people need 5 times as much positive feedback as criticism to achieve their best performance. Think about that. If you are not in the habit of praising people frequently, change. (Remember, only praise accurately!)

What do you think? Have you discovered other key success factors for motivation? I’d love to know your thoughts! Please post your comments.

Posters – 7 Habits of Highly Effective Technical Writers

Feb 18, 2016   //   by Barry Saiff   //   Blog, Concepts and Definitions, Evaluating Technical Writers, How-To, Outsourcing, Reference Articles  //  2 Comments

Click on the thumbnails below to open them in a new window where you can save them.

1 Page Poster

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2 Page Poster

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See our 7 habits of highly effective technical writers aritcle here.

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Saiff Solutions In The Media

- TechWhirl
- Nominated for 2015 Rice Bowl Asean Start Up

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Testimonials

“Barry [Saiff] has extensive experience both as a manager of technical writers and as a writer. As a manager, he is fair, encourages innovation, and is open to divergent points of view. As a writer, he can grasp very complex concepts and explain those concepts to end user through administrator audiences. Additionally, he has expert knowledge of all components of the documentation process, including corporate style guides, editing, writing, working with localization, and production. Barry is very much a people person and wherever he goes, he cultivates a large network of friendly yet professional relationships. He’s worked successfully with both on-site subject matter experts as well as those across the world. During my time working with Barry, he’s run a number of successful efforts to improve the usability of documentation. In one such case, he recruited a cross-functional team to overhaul the documentation based on the recommendations of this user-facing group of subject matter experts.”

Steve Anderson
Principal Technical Writer, Symantec
December 16, 2010

Read more testimonials here.