Part III: The Evolution of Help Authoring Tools : Mobile and Single-Source Publishing
Mobile and Single-Source Publishing
The increase in output formats has also driven up the demand for single-source publishing tools. Technical communicators require the ability to easily publish content across multiple systems without a redoubling of effort. Many HATs have attempted to capture this feature, although in designing their solutions with a print or standard help format in mind, many have missed the coming mobile revolution.
Morgan Stanley Research estimates that based on current trends, Internet accessed on mobile devices will overtake desktop Internet access by the year 2014. The Internet has jumped the rails, as the typical experience for most users is in the palm of their hands.
Thus, HATs must enable technical communicators to display their information accurately with advanced user interface modifications on a variety of tablet and mobile devices like the iPad, iPhone, and Android.
Advanced user interfaces must take into consideration the need for improved touchscreen navigation for end users, as this is a major point of differentiation between mobile and desktop browsing. Help deployed via mobile phones or tablets requires improved handling of large tables of contents, including clear display of miniature tables of contents and superb navigation of topics in order to quickly get the user to the correct page and avoid frustration. Should they fall short, help documents will be increasingly inaccessible to a large portion of their intended audience.