Technical Authors - Documentation Consultants

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Examples of Work

Over the past 25 years we have written over 40,000 pages of text and drawings in a wide range of mechanical, electronic and electrical technology as well as a variety of software systems. We have written, drawn, published, printed or researched the following projects:

Technical Writing

  • A User Manual and an Installation Manual for the Platinum Curve - a new critically acclaimed stairlift. Gathered information about the stairlift, how it was installed, shot photographs, designed a new layout, and produced the manual in Microsoft Word and Acrobat PDF formats. The manual was published on a secure internet server for access by authorised staff.
  • Prepared a series of Hardware Driver Interface (HDI) manuals for digital TV documentation. This was written to allow NDS, Direct TV and third-party developers to program TVs, set-top boxes, remote controls, on-screen displays, networks and digital recording devices. The 460-page User Guide allowed set-top box manufacturers to produce driver software for their own boxes. The 700-page Reference Manual provided developers with technical API documentation for functions, events and types used in the HDI.
  • Created a documentation set for NCC Education and their Automated Testing Software. This software tested a candidate’s ability to use a PC, and operate common office-type software such as Microsoft Word, Excel, Access and PowerPoint. ECDL Software
  • Created a documentation set for NCC Education and their European Computer Driving Licence (ECDL) software.
  • Worked on a major project for www.if.com - the online bank. The project was to develop on-line help systems for use with their banking simulator. The work involved setting up Access databases, and using them as repositories for the help text for each web page of their on-line banking simulator.
  • Worked with NCR (the cashpoint/ATM manufacturer) to produce their Branch Aid software documentation. This involved producing updated context-sensitive HTML Help files of technical software documentation. The three main products were the Branch Aid Engine, the Branch Procedures Tool and the Branch Aid Software Developers Kit.
  • Helped develop NCRs Help Maker Blue single-source documentation tool. We used this to extract information from software specifications (in Microsoft Word) and into the Windows HTML Help format. We could convert 500 pages of Word documents into 1,000 Help topics in less than one day. We also wrote the user documentation, gave a training course in how to use the tool; and supplied a training guide.
  • Originated NCRs Status Code Notebook help system. Each major component in an ATM/cashpoint issues large numbers of status codes. Using RoboHelp, I converted a huge paper-based system of status codes into an HTML Help application, so that the help desk could provide a quicker service and prevent service engineers being sent out unnecessarily.
  • Electrical and electronic equipment, call centres, billing systems, telecoms, radio signalling, door entry systems, CCTV, PC networks and software. I wrote training, quick reference, user and installation manuals and graphic design work.
  • PNC3 User Reference Manual: a 600-page multi-volume system reference manual for a software network product. Also created a related PNC3 Installation Manual and a PNC3 Training Manual.
  • Piper Lifeline 1000/2000/3000 User Manuals: 20-page manuals to explain how to use a series of specialised emergency telephones.
  • Piper Lifeline 1000/2000/3000 Technical Manual: 50-page manuals to explain how to install, service and program these specialised telephones.

Training - Paper-based and Computer-based

  • Roughly 500 documents and presentations to be used to train staff how to use a new ADP Kerridge K8 computer system for an international Supply Chain business.
  • Prepared a Documentation Standards Guide for the production and design of training documentation. Developed a Word Template to improve the speed of documentation production; and created a macro to accelerate the editing process to make roughly 250 third-party documents more consistent.
  • Planned the logistics of creating unique sets of training exercises for 300 training locations across the UK. Produced localised training documentation and workbooks, suitable for various subsidiaries, distribution centres and several hundred branches.
  • Prepared a User Guide for the LEADS staff training software. The User Guide was designed to explain how to use the LEADS software, and the business procedures surrounding staff training courses. This major project was for the Scottish Government in Edinburgh.
  • Created a new web site to showcase the Microsoft FrontPage product. This included showing how to plan a new web site, how to create and maintain it, how to create style sheets and how to use them across multiple web sites.
  • Worked on a Visual Basic 6 Programming course, This meant that we had to define the training modules to train people to use VB6 and work as database developers or in programming roles. The course content included controls, properties, events, methods, and MSDN. The course also covered timers, loops, variables, databases, data access objects, lists, combos and reporting.
  • We also created a series of highly regarded Training Modules on Word, Excel and Access. We also created self-study modules to help people learn and use Word, Excel and Access to an Intermediate level; and Word and Excel to an Advanced level. These were available as slides, with an associated workbook and several test exercises.

Translations

  • Most of our manuals have been in English (i.e. British or American English), but we have also arranged translations and prepared documents in French, Spanish, Dutch, Danish, Swedish and Norwegian. We can also write in American English, Plain English and Simplified English! What was it about being divided by common languages ?
  • As our native language is English, we do not undertake translations into other languages ourselves. Whilst the use of machine-assisted translation systems (such as Trados) is increasing; we strongly believe that documentation needs to be finalised by a native language speaker. We do arrange for suitably skilled translators to do the work; and we can re-publish their work if necessary.

Military and Defence related work

  • Several Design Definition Substantiation Reports - these formed part of the overall safety case for the control and instrumentation for the Rolls-Royce Astute-class submarine fleet. These reports contained information about the concept, design, manufacture, performance and testing of high-integrity instrumentation and control systems, coolant systems, circuit boards and other components.
  • Several training modules used within the Defence Information Infrastructure project for the ATLAS Consortium / General Dynamics and the MoD. The modules covered the installation, maintenance and management of high-tech IT systems, for use by the armed forces/diplomats in the UK and abroad. The work involved understanding the military background of the trainees, researching the subjects, put together storyboards for the training, shooting photos, creating other images and placing the modules in a web-based interface. The training followed the British Army EDIP (Explain, Demonstrate, Imitate, Practice) training method.
  • Documented the Fixed Ground Entry Terminal (a radar defence system). Created O & M Manuals and an Illustrated Parts Breakdown. Edited third-party manuals for use in the BAe document management system.

General IT Work

  • Working with a small charity, we helped them bring in a new IT system which included the use of Word and Word Templates, educational PowerPoint presentations, produced a members-only library of documents and photographs, computerised their membership records, produced a quarterly newsletter, developed a computer-based wildlife recording mapping database system.
  • Writing macros/code using WordBasic, JavaScript, VBScript and Visual Basic.
Red House Consultancy Services Ltd
The Old Post Office, 10 Badger Lane, Blackshawhead, Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire HX7 7JX.
Phone 01422 846 846
Email contact@red-house-consultancy.co.uk
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