I use unstructured Framemaker to create user manuals which I convert to pdf.
What is the best way to convert the manual for use on a touchscreen?
Would I be best converting the pdf, or is this something that may be better suited to RoboHelp?
Hi, I don't know what touchscreen means? First of all you have to think about the format/application. Which format is supported by your machine? Are there any specific requirements? How should content be presented on a touch screen manual? How do users navigate through your manual? How do they find content? etc. If you know the format, you are able to analyse which tool fits all requirements the best way? Depending on the requirements perhaps switching to structured content could be a good way? Using webworks epublisher instead of RoboHelp may be an alternative? There are PDF conversion tools and much more? Without knowing anything about your concept, there a lot of possibilities, a lot of tools and technologies.Markus
If you're just looking at people being able to read the document on a touchscrenn phone or tablet, then a PDF isn't too bad (although graphics may be a bit of an issue on the smaller phones). RoboHelp can output to touchscreen friendly HTML 5 output with various out screen sizes, but may be expensive if you won't use it that often.
An alternative may be to convert the PDF to an ePub or Kindle (.mobi) document using Calibre (open source - http://calibre-ebook.com/) see http://manual.calibre-ebook.com/faq.html#what-formats-does-app-support -conversion-to-from for full list. Again if you have a lot of complicated graphics in the source, these may not come out too pretty.
Perhaps I should explain myself better.
The end product will be used by technicians when either operating or assembling one of our products. It will be on a viewing area of roughly 5.5" probably at a resolution of 640 x 480.
It will be presented as a simple 'touch here for installation... touch here for removal...' etc with a search facility. If you could imagine an interactive Haynes manual, you would be half-way there.
Calibre looks impressive, but it would be interesting to see how it displays graphics. I would certainly be looking at adding animations and interactive CAD.
If yo are looking at animations and interactive CAD, you can forget any of the epub formats. I would get a trial of RoboHelp or ePublisher and and play about with the output you can get with those. You still might struggle with interactive CAD.
The Reverb format that WebWorks ePublisher creates works well on mobile devices. It adapts to screen size and should allow touch activation of links. Just out of curiousity, I got one of my co-workers to load one of my help projects onto his Blackberry and it worked fine.