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VII.3 May 2000
Page: 7
Digital Citation

What’s happening


Authors:
Marisa Campbell

Sevensteps 2.0 is a new Online Help tool dedicated to the production of task-based Online Help. In the top-layer of the user interface, the Project Guide gives entrance to documents for planning, preparation and information gathering, as well as to the authoring environment. Every participant finds his tasks outlined, which makes things manageable.

This system can be integrated with business applications that run on Windows or in a browser environment. Through the Help Assistant, application users always have direct access to the Online Help. This gives you a list of topics that are relevant to a specific part of the business application and cuts down on time spent searching for relevant information.

Users are guided through the tasks they perform with the new business application, which reduces support requests and the need for user training. Companies can even develop high-quality Online Help linked to their own applications.

Projects that can be time-consuming and produce unpredictable outcomes can be overcome with the integration of publication design and authoring environment. Authors work in a WYSIWYG-environment that is based on topic types, which have a distinctive-ready-made-content structure and visual design. Technical details—like publication formats—can be hidden for the authors. Topics are stored in XML in a database. Choosing a publication format and publishing Online Help takes two mouse clicks. Creating hyperlinks, Index, and Table of Contents is performed by dragging and dropping.

Sidebar: PFIR: "People for Internet Responsibility"

http://www.pfir.org

PFIR is a resource for the international community to help impact crucial Internet issues, such as current and future operations, development management and regulation of the Internet in responsible manners. Founded in 1999 by Lauren Weinstein of Vortex Technology and Peter G. Neumann of SRI International, both of California, this site was created to deal with issues that arose from the commercialization of the Internet and the World Wide Web in the 1990s.

Specifically, it was intended to address concerns about individuals and their interests—especially when facing the influence of powerful, vested interests (in commercial, political, and other categories), whose goals are not always the same as the people at large. Some areas that have been targeted are domain name policy, spam, security, encryption and freedom of speech issues.

Sidebar: Call for Entries

Saatchi & Saatchi is offering a $100,000 prize for the winner of the Saatchi & Saatchi Innovation in Communication Award. This international competition recognizes inventors whose creations have the potential to revolutionize communications among individuals, groups, businesses and other organizations, artists and audiences, or even nations.

The first award given by Saatchi & Saatchi was in 1998; it was awarded to KASPA, a first vision substitute for the blind that enabled them to see with sound. It was developed by Sonic Vision’s New Zealand inventor Leslie Kay.

"Turning inspiration into reality to benefit the greater good is the goal of the Innovation in Communication Award," says Bob Isherwood, Worldwide Creative Director of Saatchi & Saatchi. "Ideas are the currency of the future. The greatest challenge we face today is maintaining the creative edginess that helped fuel innovation in the past. With the prosperity of the last decade comes the responsibility to provide an environment where the best ideas have a chance of becoming part of our lives."

The judges for the award includes Paul Davies, groundbreaking astrophysicist and natural philosopher on the connections between science and religion; Edward de Bono, creative thinker who coined the term "lateral thinking;" Brian Eno, multimedia artist and innovator; Kevin Kelly, co-founder and executive editor of WIRED Magazine; Pattie Maes, associate professor at MIT’s Media Laboratory; and Kjell Nordestrom, international economist and author of Funky Business.

The competition is open to innovators who work in a wide range of disciplines, including but not limited to science and technology, the arts, mass communication and education.

Entries may be submitted by May 31, 2000 to www.saatchi-saatchi.com or by mailing to Saatchi & Saatchi Innovation in Communication Award, Saatchi & Saatchi, 80 Charlotte Street, London, W1A IAQ, England. The winner will be announced in September 2000. For more info about entry requirements, go to www.saatchi-saatchi.com

©2000 ACM  1072-5220/00/0500  $5.00

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