Request for Community Discussion about Documentation

Hey, I’m reviewing the Notenik documentation that’s out there, and looking for feedback on a few questions.

First, how useful have you found the following sorts of documentation?

  1. Notenik Tips
  2. Notenik 101 Video
  3. Notenik Intro

Second, I’m thinking about breaking up the Notenik Knowledge Base a bit, primarily to get all the “how to use” stuff in its own document, to make it easier to search and find stuff.

Third, I’m wondering how useful people find the following types of documents:

  1. Straight text.
  2. Text with screenshots.
  3. Videos

Any thoughts on these topics?

1. Notenik Tips
Useful. Though I didn’t follow the good advice to make it auto-open. I have read them several times and continue to learn from them. My observation about TIPS is that it is a catch-22 for the beginner. At the outset, having tips presented in the format of the thing which you are wanting to learn is an obstacle. For the intermediate user that obstacle has disappeared but the need for tips has not, so they seem well suited for that audience (me).

2. Notenik 101 Video
Excellent. This was perfectly pitched for someone with no prior knowledge. I was hoping that there were more but it seems as though there is only one.

3. Notenik Intro
Excellent. As a completely new user, I found the web site was a much more comfortable learning environment. The other thing that I noticed was that the organisational structure of Notenik had a strong influence on the website. For consuming information, I found that the level of organisation helpful.

Having a compendium resource like the knowledge base is invaluable. However, the sheer size of it then makes it unwieldy, especially as search is linear, from the front.

Recently I was unable to locate the information about using #PATH#. I knew I had seen something about it but I didn’t find it. After you provided the information I looked again. Searching for the keyword “path”, it took a long time to get to the section on scripting that contained the information I needed. I imagine that a splitting the information up into sections would alleviate this to some extent.

I think you’ve placed them in exactly the right order. Text is a great way to transmit information. Screenshots illustrating the text improves the communication enormously. Videos are even better, as they reduce the cognitive load of the learner. They are easily the richest source of information and the easiest to consume when learning. Having said that, when reviewing a topic, or wanting documentation on a topic, text/image based materials are usually easier to access than video.

I know how much effort is required to produce good training content, especially videos! I’m very grateful, and impressed by the amount of content that you are able to provide.

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I mainly use the Notenik Knowledge Base which is an excellent compendium of information about the software. I am not a great fan of multiple levels of indentation. Take for example Derived Variables (‘slugs’)—see screenshot. I know nothing about slugs but the left-hand pane in the knowledge Base is not so easy to navigate because of the multiple levels compared to the right-hand pane where I can easily see that there are 11 types of slugs. But this is a minor quibble. I also wonder whether it is necessary to have the complete version history in Section 19 and whether it would be better to be moved to a separate listing.

But none of these comments detract from the quality of Herb’s software and its documentation.

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Thanks for the feedback!

See the latest beta for an option to limit the scope of your search!

In case feedback is still relevant here: The Notenik 101 Video was what enabled me to commit using the app and feeling like it would be a good use of my time. I wish there were more videos, and I can provide details and record samples to share if that’d be useful. Tableau has a whole suite of silent videos and that’s what I mean.

The Tips are helpful. I think the search tips could be all one note, instead of three, but that’s small potatoes! The Notenik intro is concise and perfectly relevant.

I think the Knowledge Base is useful as-is, but it’s big, so there’s probably more elegant designs around how to organize that whole Collection.

Lastly, I opened up the SoftDevBigIdeas repo in Notenik and that was the first time I saw images in any of the notes, and I hadn’t explored putting images or video into my notes, but it’s helpful to know that’s possible. But I think if I do that, I’d keep it simple - an example would be if I’m writing notes on Photography Basics, some charts that are very basic images, could live in the note and add value.