Lead Reviewers through your Document*

by Kim Lindsey NEO STC Webmaster, STC Associate Fellow. KimLindsey2016 (1)

Some documents are simple for SMEs and reviewers to edit; other documents can present a challenge. This is especially true with storyboards for custom e-learning courses—my main deliverable.

Recently I designed my most gamified course ever (gamification: it’s what’s happening now!), and I knew that its non-linear nature would make the review process difficult. How could I help my SMEs to understand my vision for the course while it’s still just a storyboard? I knew there had to be a way.

And there was! First, I created very (as in, extremely) rough drawings that showed what the main screens of the course would look like.

Rough Storyboard

Then I inserted them into my draft storyboard where they fit.

 Fit in a storyboard We scheduled a conference call with our client reviewers, and I sent them the storyboard document about an hour before the call so they’d have copies to follow along. We used join.me to share my screen with the reviewers during the call. (Thanks Denise Kadillac for tipping us off to this handy web app!) Join Me

And—this is the terrific part!—I used Camtasia to record the meeting. Camtasia captures both the screen and the audio; in my case, the audio was me speaking to the reviewers and also them asking me questions via speakerphone.

CamtasiaLogo (1)

As I walked my SMEs through the storyboard, I explained what was going on, how the e-learning interface worked, how learners would navigate, and anything else they wanted to know.

When the meeting was over, I compiled the screen recording in Camtasia to create an MP4 video, then provided that recording to my client reviewers. They could easily play back the whole meeting on their PCs or skip to any part they didn’t understand. LindseyMeetingMP4

The video turned out to be even more valuable because an important reviewer couldn’t be on the call. The recording enabled her to have the same understanding as the rest of her team.

The review on this complex storyboard went quickly and smoothly. I didn’t receive any questions from the client on the course layout and navigation; they turned to the video of the meeting to refresh their memory on the course. Soon the storyboard was approved and development could begin (yeah!). Will I use the MP4 to help my developers understand how to program the course? You better believe it!

In conclusion, I highly recommend using simple mock-up drawings, screen-sharing, and a video tool like Camtasia to ease the process for reviewers if a document is complex or non-linear or if you need to show how two or more documents work together.

*This article originally appeared in Lines & Letters (October 2016)published by Northeast Ohio Society for Technical Communication (NOE)

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