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When Readers Attack 3

I had a little fun with the title; it’s making fun of the old Fox shows usually named something like “When Animals Attack 6.”  I’m finishing a project with a team recreating the content for an online textbook.  It was all there before, but it hadn’t been very well suited to the audience, college students.  We did a couple of things to change it:

1.  Up the Interactivity

2.  Use a Balanced Tone

We shoved Captivate projects down the textbook’s throat, and it worked great.  The reason Captivate was so wonderful is it allowed us to create two-sided content that gave the students activities to do while they’re reading.  Instead of just reading, they could watch a Captivate demo or experiment with a program, themselves.

The balanced tone really means three things: it was brief (efficient and effective word use), it was professional, it was personal.  The professional-personal tone, as far as I’ve been able to gather, means disclosing professional information in a way sometimes casual.  The result is the audience feels like it’s being addressed by a person rather than a professor.

What does any of this mean for you?  Make your work interactive.  Adobe Captivate really is only one way to achieve that end–I’m certain you can achieve it with Mediawiki, Confluence, or the like.  So from now on, use your open-source authoring tools to make creative, interactive content.

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