Back in 2007, I stopped maintaining my SeaMonkey Help website. Others took over maintaining the site, but it wasn’t long before they stopped maintaining it as well. That wouldn’t be a big deal if it weren’t for one thing: SeaMonkey 2. SeaMonkey 2 was a huge change, making most of the site incorrect.
I recently decided to revive the website, and at least bring it back up to date. In addition to correcting out of date content, I had learned a lot about technical writing from working on the SUMO project, and wanted to apply that to my SeaMonkey Help site. I also had the tools to make screenshots and screencasts and learned the enormous value they add to support.
As I started looking at all the things I need to do to update the site, it was clear that this was a huge task. For over 200 items, I had to:
- convert markup to HTML5 (to include screencasts)
- remove obsolete content
- test each help item to see if it still applied to the latest version of SeaMonkey
- fix the text content (and markup)
And all of that was before enhancing the content with screenshots and screencasts.
I was in the shower thinking about how to plan this massive update, when I thought “Why am I even bothering to provide text and images, when I can replace it all with screencasts?”
- Updating the markup is dead easy.
- The understandability goes way up.
- I have section indexes, and the page titles are searchable, so finding pages should not be a problem.
For some of the content, text is better, and any css that needs to be copied was added below the screencast, so there are some exceptions. But for the most part, it is a screencast-only help site.