Embracing the Video Revolution in Technical Communication

In planning the launch of the Technical Communication Suite last year, we really had no idea the impact our tools were going to have in today’s Web 2.0 and eLearning 2.0 world, where consumer experiences have become richer than ever with access to dynamic and interactive information and it’s unlikely people will ever be satisfied with anything else and that includes technical information and learning experiences.

Since then, I have delivered presentation after presentations on the Suite, and every time I do, I learn something new about how our customers are using FrameMaker, RoboHelp, Captivate and Acrobat 9 Pro Extended together, and sometimes I am even lucky enough to have viewers like Rene Stephenson from Hitachi, who after seeing first hand what’s possible when you integrate 3D models, video, software demos and interactive simulations into technical and training documents wrote the following:

“I must say, you have inspired me to think about the future of what we can give our customers in the way of truly useful advanced technical content, as training materials, documentation, and online help. The 3D graphics and movie support have me hooked!”

Inspired myself by all of this, I have given two presentations already on the topic of “Embracing the Video Revolution,” one at Doctrain West and also at the 2008 STC Conference and both times, the topic resonated quite well with attendees.

I’m a big fan of using statistics in my presentations and none is more irresistible than ComScore, Inc. – a Global Internet Information Provider reporting that in the month of July ’08 alone, Americans viewed more than 11.4 Billion videos online for a total of 558 Million hours.  YouTube alone accounted for 5 Billion videos and it’s also worth pointing out that YouTube relies entirely on our Adobe Flash Video technology to deliver video, as does MySpaceTV, Google Video, Yahoo Video and others like Break.com. 

Incidentally, if you want to see Adobe’s broadcast video technologies in action, check out Adobe TV, which is a free online video resource for expert instruction and inspiration about our Creative products, and hopefully soon we can add a channel for our TCS and eLearning products, too.

Clearly, we live in a highly visual world and I strongly believe that we need to exploit any opportunity we get as technical communicators and eLearning professionals to begin saying it visually!

Too see just how our Technical Communication Suite is enabling this video revolution, check out this recording I just finished on what’s new in the Technical Communication Suite version 1.3.

How are YOU building richer and more engaging technical and instructional documents?  Leave a comment below and tell us your story!


  • Hi RJ:Thanks for the post. I have been using Adobe Presenter 7 and Captivate 3 and find them to be great for bringing ideas and concepts together. Your readers can see what one of my recent projects at:http://tinyurl.com/5wbj4qRegardsBrian

  • Simon

    Hi, I watched the 3rd video in your presentation and it was full of great advice and helped me understand the (fairly unfriendly) dialogs that enable FrameMaker and RoboHelp to communicate. I’m keen to see more. Many thanks, Simon (London, UK)

  • RJ:You are spot on as usual. Video is the future and the future is now (at least in some parts of the technical communication world). Increasingly, customers are demanding video documentation and training, which means that we — as technical communicators — need to get our act together and develop the skills needed to meet this demand. New techniques, combined with new tools, should also bring excitement to this industry, which has for far too long been overly focused on grammar and punctuation (and the dreaded misuse of semi-colons … gasp!).Thanks for continuing to help my peers understand the impact that video is having today. Don’t get me wrong, the written word is still just as important as it ever was, but now, thank to web-based technologies and Flash-enabled devices, we can also provide great visual value to our customers.

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