November 14, 2008

AE Help clarification & survey

Todd Kopriva, the After Effects documentation lead, has a lot to say in a little more explanation about Community Help. The Community Help "search index includes our own Help documents, Technical Support documents, and tutorials, as well as content created by the larger community..."

Whether or not you think Help is great or blows chunks because of shortcomings in local HTML help or the use of the F1 key, Todd requests that specific feedback be submitted to this survey. You can also submit feedback to Community Help (then click Give us feedback). If you do give feedback it would be good to distinguish between the Help content, the search utility, the "Help and Support" portal page design, etc.

I'd like to see more information design to help people find the easy answers. Lists and forums offer answers and recurring problems are easily solved, but the answer are often hard to find. There’s a massive amount of help already out there, so it would be cool if there was a database with task-based keywords that better matched groups of solutions to problems. Results could include solutions that use built-in tools and others that provide better and/or faster solutions provided by 3rd party plug-ins and by various tutorials. The current Help is a step in this direction, but the search results are sometimes unwieldy.

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