Hi forum members,
Sorry for the question not being very specific and open to discussion, but I'm pretty new to Adobe software for creating documents.
Let me first introduce our department:
Currently, we have a team of about 12 engineers who maintain ~120 MS Word documents of 20-100 pages with 'service' instructions / settings tables, 'fault finding help' etc. for machines in our factory. This includes tables, instruction lists, and lots of "picture-arrow-text". We're mostly on Windows 7 / Word 2007, though some of us are still on XP / Word 2003.
Of course, MS Word has some limitations. For example, the layout of pictures / arrows / notes relating to those pictures is always a problem. Also, it's hard for users (mechanics) to quickly find the right page / paragraph. It's hard to add 'navigational buttons' in Word, link from the text to pitures, do the layout of lists etc.
Of course, in these days, training funds are limited. I have suggested FrameMaker 11 for content editors and 'PDF viewer' for users, though an old colleague of mine who worked with both Fm and Id said Id is easier to learn, and if our engineers want to make minor changes, they could work without much training with Id while Fm would be harder.
Trend is to use more pictures and less text, and that's where my ex-colleague told Id is 'easier'. The content should be 'easy to find' for users, so we're thinking about HTML-like menu's: a kind of 'hierarchy' of files who can be 'interlinked'. So, a TOC linking to different chapters, and those chapters containing multiple paragraphs. Some paragraphs might contain multiple 'pages', for example multiple 'error explanation'.
My bosses stressed, they are longing for some 'app-like' documentation system which also works on tablets, in which mechanics can find the right paragraph in the total of 12000+ pages (growing in the future) "with a few clicks".
HTML doesn't always display the same though, because of screen sizes / word wrap / browser differences, so PDF may be our best option. The question is: Can one in InDesign make such 'hierarchies', or is it better to put everything in one big file?
Those PDF-files have to be loaded over the WiFi network though, so they cannot be too big.
Does anyone have experience with a dozen or so of engineers having to work with InDesign (or Fm for that part) without / with only limited training? Of course I'm worried they will not like it when they have to ask somebody else to make minor changes to 'their' documents.
Does anybody have experiences with 'creating file hierarchies / menu's" with PDF to enable fast searching and keep file sizes limited?
Is InDesign CS6 the right tool for the job, or might Framemaker 11 be better?
Are there more people who switched from MS Word to Id (or Fm?) for maintenance documentation, and was it worth the hassle / cost?
I've done lots of reading about Id / Fm the past few days, and I also understood that Fm is no 'primary' product of Adobe anymore (2nd class citizen?), while Id in the past was mainly for 'artists' and flyers / posters / brochures and the like, but Id changed in recent version to support 'documentation' as well. is my feeling right that Adobe is slowly merging all Fm features into Id? Is Id more 'aimed at the future'?
Thanks in advance for your replies / thoughts.