ADP is a great company that I once used to work for as a technical writer. That’s another reason why I was very glad to see that it won the STC (Society for Technical Communication) Washington DC Chapter’s BEST OF SHOW Award this year in the 2008-2009 Online Communications Competition.
ADP was rewarded with the honor for its entry “Web-Based Tutorial Storyboard Template” developed by Richard Hughes, Jongbum Lee, and Helene Jeiven.
Helene Jeiven, on behalf of the ADP team, received this prestigious award in person from Lina Scorza, First Vice President and Competitions Manager, STC-DC. The well-attended ceremony banquet was held on February 7, 2009 in Washington DC, at the gorgeous DACOR Bacon House, just two blocks away from the White House.
The ADP team tackled a well-known problem faced by those teams that develop online training modules: changes to the coded HTML module is very difficult once the development and review phases are over.
The usual development sequence is as follows: 1) Design, 2) Program, 3) SME (Subject Matter Experts), and 4) Edit.
The problem with this work-flow is that, if the SMEs do not like what they see, the whole tutorial module has to go back to the programmers and the whole interface and all the backend connections need to be recoded.
ADP team came up with an ingenious solution to this problem.
Yes, the SMEs want to see a “finished prototype” before giving a green-light. But who said this had to be an HTML prototype? What if the whole module could be simulated in MS Word, as a Word document with FORMS that looked exactly like the finished product?
Such a solution changed the sequencing of the 4 steps in the work-flow. The same steps were re-arranged as 1) Design, 2) SME, 3) Edit, and 4) Program.
SMEs had no trouble making their corrections directly on the Word document itself and passing it on to the other members of the review team.
The tricky part of the project was to translate the finished Word document into the final HTML module, Jeiven explained. But thanks to the crackerjack programmer of the team, that step was eventually handled satisfactorily as well.
I am very impressed by the creativity of the ADP documentation team. I’m sure the implementation of this idea is harder than it sounds due to the difficulty of emulating the HTML interface inside a Word document by using the quirky “forms” functionality. But since all developers are more familiar with MS Word than any other text editor out there, I think it is a solution that deserves the attention of all team developing similar tutorials.
Over all, a great idea, executed well. Congrats again to the ADP team.
STC-DC 2008-2009 Competition Winners
Full list of all STC-DC Competition Staff and Managers