Marcus Gomez unveils ehelp solution for Qtopia devices
Marcus Gomez & Partners today announced that it has successfully developed an on-board electronic help solution for devices based on the Qtopia platform.
Qtopia is a graphical environment for Embedded Linux devices. It is used with PDAs, mobile phones, web pads and other multimedia mobile computing gadgets. However, there is no common delivery standard for help documentation on this platform. Manufacturers typically provide user manuals in PDF or plain text format, requiring users to scroll through hundreds of pages to search for the help they need.
“The challenge was to develop an electronic help solution that could fit the small viewable areas inherent to Qtopia devices and yet be minimalist enough for embedded applications to support it,” says Marcus Gomez, founder and Principal Partner of Marcus Gomez & Partners. “The result of our work is Konq/eHelp: a new service that converts a static help document into an interactive help system that runs on the Konqueror Embedded web browser.”
Part of the writing consultancy’s business philosophy is to stay close to its customers and the market, and to create value wherever it can. When Anacise Testnology (www.anacise.com) wanted to develop a help system for their Qtopia-based device, the company turned to Marcus Gomez & Partners.
“We decided to give them something that would not only further enhance the product’s usability and greatly benefit their customers, but also be easy to maintain and update,” says Mr Gomez.
In collaboration with the customer’s engineers in Taiwan, the Konq/eHelp system was successfully installed onto the product and proved to be an instant hit among users.
“Users like the idea of knowing that if they need instructions, all they have to do is tap, tap, tap,” explains Mr Gomez, refering to the touch-screen interfaces used by some Qtopia-based devices.
Improving user experiences
“The key to improving the usability of any device is to make it easy to use,” explains Mr Gomez. “One of the best ways to do this is to build highly-accessible instructions for the product’s features and functionality into the device itself. That way, users don’t have to spend hours figuring out how to execute a certain function or be forced to carry print manuals around with them.”
By leveraging Qtopia’s open source platform and in collaboration with engineers in Taiwan, Marcus Gomez & Partners developed an electronic help solution that met all the technical design requirements. The Konq/eHelp system uses drop-down menus and navigation keys, an intuitive user interface and an easily visualised hierarchical structure. Marcus Gomez & Partners also plans to develop a search functionality that will make the system even more user-friendly.
“We are also looking at how we can incorporate some of our other products and services into the system,” says Mr Gomez. “VisualHelp, for example, provides Flash-based animated help documentation. This would be particularly useful for compound help instructions with complex inter-application relationships. Enterprise-wide knowledge management initiatives may also be augmented with the Konq/eHelp working as a foundation for feedback systems.”
About Marcus Gomez
Marcus Gomez & Partners provides world-class technical and business copywriting solutions to help global SMBs and multinationals enhance their sales, market share and corporate visibility in the international marketplace. Based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, the boutique communications agency counts some of the biggest brands in the world as its customers, including Hewlett-Packard, Microsoft, Cisco Systems and TÜV SÜD. It also serves major government agencies such as the Malaysian Investment Development Authority (MIDA), SIRIM Berhad, Iskandar Regional Development Authority (IRDA), InvestPerak and the Ministry of International Trade and Industry.