Thursday Mar 28, 2013

Best Practices for Collecting Feedback on a document

One of AutoVue's great strengths is the wide range of markup/annotation tools that are available.   However, for the less technical user who is only being called upon to add feedback to a document, the wide range of types of markup entities can be a bit confusing.   I'd like to share some of our best practices around annotations documents - specifically focusing on collecting feedback.

 Step 1: identify a standard way to add textual comments - There are several ways users can add textual comments to a document with AutoVue's annotations - they could add a leader-line, a text entity or a note entity.  What I've found is generally most flexible is to use a Highlight or Cloud entity, grouped with a Note entity - the Highlight or Cloud identifies the area that the comment is associated with, and the Note contains the comment itself.   This has the advantage of making it clear what the context is, and allowing the entry of longer blocks of text without covering up parts of the drawing or document.    The following screenshot shows how this can look in AutoVue - and if the user hovers her mouse over the note, she can see a preview of the first part of the text of the comment.

screenshot of cloud entity with Note and Preview

 Step 2: Identify which other markup entities your 'non-technical' users are likely to need.   In some cases the cloud/note combination described above might be enough - but depending on what your users need to do, they might also need other entities - for instance, the 'Freehand' line entity could allow users to sketch what they really want to see, and the Measurement entity could allow them to indicate specific measurements on a drawing to add additional context.

Step 3: Train the users on just the markup entities you expect them to use - make it clear to them which entities should be used under which conditions and show them where to find the specific entities they need. 

Step 4: Optionally, to make it a lot easier for the users you could create a custom user interface (UI) that displays only the Markup Entities your non-technical users need, and configure your system to provide that UI for the appropriate users.   This could involve providing only a few key markup entities on the top toolbar, rather than adding new toolbars with all of the entities - something like this for example:

example toolbar with navigation and markup tools

This kind of customization can be done by creating a custom GUI file - this is documented in the AutoVue installation and configuration guide - and we'll be talking about it more in an upcoming blog post.

Let us know in the comments how your users are using annotations/markups and if this approach would help them!

Tuesday Mar 05, 2013

Tracking product-specific knowledge articles in the My Oracle Support portal

There have been a number of changes/improvements to the My Oracle Support (MOS) portal over the past year, and one that I find quite useful is the ability to easily add multiple products to the ‘Knowledge Articles’ widget in your dashboard. This allows you to keep an eye on recently created/updated articles for whichever Oracle products you’re interested in, as well as recent Alerts for those products. Here’s an outline of the steps to configure this in your MOS dashboard:

  1. Click the ‘Customize Page’ link near the top-right.
  2. Locate your ‘Knowledge Articles’ widget (if not already added, click on ‘Add Content’ to add it).
  3. In the ‘Knowledge Articles’ widget, click on the wrench icon at the top-right.
  4. Select any products for which you’d like to maintain a feed of recently created/updated articles. For example if you’d like to monitor articles for all flavors of AutoVue, type ‘autovue’ in the Products dropdown and the auto-complete will present all of the different AutoVue products to choose from.

Another nice feature is that you can have multiple ‘Knowledge Articles’ widgets in your dashboard, allowing you to track different product lines separately if preferred. Here’s a screenshot of my MOS dashboard, where I track AutoVue articles and Primavera articles in two separate widgets:

 For more tips & tricks on searching and browsing the knowledge base, click on the 'Webcasts and Recordings' link in your MOS dashboard, from which you'll find a video recording all about search and browse capabilities.



The authors of this blog are members of the AutoVue Enterprise Visualization team at Oracle. The views expressed on this blog reflect those of the members and do not necessarily reflect the views of Oracle.


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