We now have an exciting new interactive media that can be used to better document and interface products and designs. The highly portable, internationally accepted media, Hyper Text Markup Language (HTML), is constantly growing and improving because it is the language of the Internet and Intranet. In fact, the concept of PC based HTML files forming an environment is simply an extremely small Intranet.
The new “Bend â€˜m Shape’m” generation of HTML browsers with close desktop operating system integration, allows simple assembly of easy to use, highly functional PC based, paperless multimedia HTML environments.
These environments, or enviromations as we call them, can be quickly assembled using any one of the many powerful HTML editors. The ability of the new 4.0 generation of browsers to launch applications and files with their respective applications, allows the simple custom generation of easy to use highly functional enviromations. Some browser users may not be aware of the amount of interaction and functionality that exists between the new generation browsers and their desktop. All of this power is available off line as well as on line. The off line application of this power is what this article is about.
Project or user specific information can be viewed, linked and served by your browser from a group of PC based HTML files and user applications. This highly controllable custom environment allows the expertise of the designer to be extended with the power of hypertext. The launching of applications allows close integration of project information and application. The resources required to generate this enviromation can be reused on each project as core information can be remixed to quicken assembly.
The simplest application of this power is the multimedia point and click HTML menu interface between all of your related files and applications for your project. The multimedia approach is an excellent method of documenting complex application specific subject matter. Traditional paper documentation can be included in your enviromation, by scanning and Optical Character Recognition (OCR) software. The simple task of scanning traditional paper manuals into the enviromation allows increased functionality by using the browser word search capabilities. Intermixing portions of actual screen captures from your custom application with custom explanations adds a personal touch that will encourage your application users to explore the PC based resource.
The operating enviromation need not be limited to the power of the host PC. If an Internet connection is part of your project operating system, links to anywhere on the web can be included. The enviromation is designed by you and control of the related linked data and how it is accessed is yours.
This approach provides an soft transition for project application software users who may not be completely aware of the new browsers and the power of the Internet. The soft transition allows a controlled environment in which to lead your users to all the related files and applications on their desktops, as well as on the client Intranet, or even the world Internet.
This media is an excellent format to provide training modules and to answer frequently asked questions (FAQ) thereby significantly reducing support time.
HTML is no longer complicated to generate. Most newer word processing and spreadsheet programs are able to generate HTML. The ease of generation, the wide acceptance of HTML as a communication media, and the low cost of powerful browsers makes this language an obvious choice for generating custom PC based enviromation.
Once this enviromation is complete it is extremely easy to transfer to another PC, an Intranet, the Internet or even other computer platforms. The fun to use multimedia enviromation allows a new approach that is well received by users.