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Services: Writing
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A significant portion of the impression that you leave with your clients will be through your written words. Often, prospective customers make the decision to become actual customers or to look elsewhere within just a few seconds of reading your advertising copy or product literature. Content for company web sites, company literature, product literature, and advertising copy is often put into the hands of someone who knows the business and its products or services quite well, but not necessarily someone with honed writing skills. There may also be times that you simply need “another set of eyes” to look over your copy or text content, to act in an editorial role.

If your project includes a custom written software application, there are several type of specialized writing skills that are applicable to the project. First, the project needs a set of software specifications, in much the same way that a custom built home needs a set of specifications and drawings. Thorough specifications are also critical to the bid process. User's manuals, and possibly a technical manual, allow your users to quickly gain understanding of the software concept and flow. On-line help functionality will allow your users to explore features in-depth.

At 7th Sense Multimedia, we enjoy the challenge of helping you to deliver your message. We can help you to more effectively deliver your message, without losing your identity. We never lose sight of the fact that it is your message. Please feel free to contact us, to discuss your writing requirements, or to discuss modifications to your present documents.

Copy (Advertising, Product Literature)
Concepts, content, beliefs, ideas... In spite of the graphical revolution in computing and the power of imagery in advertising, the vast majority of communication takes place in written or spoken words. 7th Sense Multimedia can assist you in expressing your concepts powerfully, persuasively, and succinctly. We are available to write advertising copy, product literature, and on-line content. We will work closely with you to make sure that your message is delivered without losing or diluting your identity. We can take your concepts, and put them into words, or take your words and hone them into a terse, and powerful expression of your concepts.

Even if you have a gifted author or a staff of writers within your organization, you can benefit from outsourcing the task of proofreading and editing your text-based materials. A fresh perspective from someone outside your organization will often quickly identify fuzzy concepts, as well as over-explained or redundant passages.

Here is a sample of a tri-fold brochure, in Adobe PDF format: Brochure_Out  Brochure_In
(Note that the original PDF files were reduced by over 90%, and then compressed, to allow relatively quick web access.)

Here is a sample of a magazine advertisement, in Adobe PDF format: Brochure_Out
(Note that the original PDF file was reduced by over 90%, and then compressed, to allow relatively quick web access.)

Specifications
Each custom software application project begins with a set of Software Specifications. Without this concise road map, there is no way for the developer to properly estimate the time required for the project, and no way to know that the customer's expectations will be met. Without this documentation, software projects often flounder, and often go over budget. If there is animosity between the software developer and client, it can most frequently be traced to a lack of specifications or to poorly written specifications. The only way you can be assured from the outset that the developer knows exactly what you want, is to have your ideas clearly spelled-out and translated into a set of coherent specifications. Software specifications provide not only the foundation and framework for the application development, they provide the basis for the developer's time estimate. In addition to providing an accurate cost estimate, this is the basis for the developer to make accurate estimates of timeframes for project milestones, and ultimately the project completion date.

The smaller the custom software application project, the more likely that the cost of producing the specification documents will seem too high, and the more likely that there will be pressure to produce sketchy specifications or worse, none at all. We highly recommend that you consider a full set of thorough specifications as an essential part of every custom software project. We believe it is essential to include verbiage or sketches of each screen showing screen elements, thorough descriptions of the action that is supposed to be associated with each type of user input and each button click, as well as full mockups of every report. If there is going to be a database backend, then every field should be documented, as well as the data type of the field and field constraints. The client does not need to understand the database architecture in detail, but should be confident that the database fields and their attributes will handle the project requirements now and into the future.

When the project specification documentation is complete, you will feel confident that any bids you recieve on the custom software application project, from 7th Sense Multimedia or anyone else, will be based on a full and clear understanding of the scope of the project as well as the details. This document provides a solid foundation for a custom software development contract.

Technical Writing
Depending on the nature and complexity of a product or process, you may find it necessary to provide a Technical Manual or Technical Data Sheet. This document requires the intimate involvement of one or more technically oriented members of your staff that have a thorough and in-depth understanding of the entire product or process. Though it might seem logical to simply have those technically-oriented staffers write the technical document, this is rarely a good practice. This is another case where someone from outside the loop has the advantage of not initially understanding the product or process. They are forced to ask questions to gain an understanding, and can then add a level of clarity and comprehension to the overall document.

User's Manual Writing
On-line and printed User's Manuals provide a quick reference to the inner workings of a product or process. A User's Manual can be distinguished from a Technical Manual or Help file by its tone, scope, and degree of detail. A User's Manual is aimed at relatively less technical users, that need to have quick reference to the depth and bredth of the product or process. This is not exactly the same thing as a Training Manual, but generally performs many of the same functions.

In addition to a complete table of contents, each User's Manual needs to be carefully indexed to allow the user to quickly find a relevant reference. We have all had the frustrating experience of attempting to gain some insight from a User's Manual, but were forced to read through many paragraphs to find pertinent information, or were sent on a wild goose chase by irrelevant index entries.

A properly written User's Manual can mean the difference between wasted time and efficient use of an employee's time, and can often serve as a Taining Manual for employees new to the process or product. 7th Sense Multimedia will work closely with you to create a User's Manual that is a meaningful and valuable tool.

Help Authoring
When a user gets stuck in an application, good on-line Help can mean the difference between a simple bump-in-the-road, and a brick wall. Whereas a User's Manual outlines the overall process and flow in steps, on-line Help isolates each individual step for clarification. On-line Help can be set up to include context sensitivity, which allows the user to leave their cursor wherever they are stuck, and click a Help button (or hotkey) to automatically jump to the Help topic for that item. Besides context-sensitive Help functionality, on-line Help can provide instant access to any Help topic through a table of contents or through indexed Help entries.

Though there are tradeoffs in both WinHelp and HTML-based Help functionality, WinHelp technology has been abandoned. So, on PC-based platforms, HTML-based Help is now the norm, and will be into the forseeable future. 7th Sense Multimedia can provide expert assistance for all of your HTML-based Help authoring needs.

© 2001–2005 7th Sense Multimedia and Dennis T. Leahy. All rights reserved.
Retail Genius® is a registered trademark of 7th Sense Multimedia and Dennis T. Leahy
Retail Genius: Surfaces™, and Presentation Genius™ are in-use trademarks of 7th Sense Multimedia and Dennis T. Leahy
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