What do you think about using video (or audio only) for documentation topics? Would it be useful? Are there places in the docs where you would like to see it? Hardware, software, other? What level of quality do you expect? Join the discussion.
I think video for hardware would be a very useful addition to the documentation in terms of cards/modules/connectors, how to insert them into the chassis etc. I know there are documents that show this in diagrams but sometimes it is much easier to appreciate when you see it visually.
Also a good example would be to show how to set up a console connection to a router/switch. Very helpful for troubleshooting for both TAC and NetPro etc. ie. you can just direct someone to the video and then tell them to get back after they have set it up.
The level of quality would have to be detailed enough so you could replicate what is being shown you.
We appreciate your adding to this discussion topic. Using video to document hardware installation and setup is an interesting exploratory subject for us. Thank you for your console connection example here. We wanted to ask - how would you use video: as a replacement to the written documentation or as a companion to them?
I see them as a companion rather than a replacement and different people prefer different approaches.
Personally i am happy to read a doc but i have worked with quite a few people who learn a lot quicker if they are shown how to do something rather than just being given a manual to read.
I wouldn't want to see any documentation to disappear, rather for video to supplement it. And i'm not sure how far video could help with configuration of devices altho i'd be interested to hear any ideas :-). As I said before i think hardware installation, cabling etc. are the areas where video could make a huge difference.
Very interesting subject here for sure! I agree with my friend Jon (+5 points Jon :) that Video should be used as a companion or value-add to the existing documentation. I have seen some good videos here @ CCO that could really be expanded to enhance the user experience here.
One idea that I think would work is a Video introduction for things like CUCM Licensing, product release notes, Upgrade Paths etc. etc. The other tools that I have seen that really "ROCK" are the user Tutorials for things like Unity VM and IP Phone useage. I think many people (like Jon nicely noted) are very visual by nature and these type of changes can add a great deal to the "learning" of both Admins and "Users" alike!
Keep up the great work! Happy Holidays!
You are spot on ( a +5 from NYC) about how Video could be of assistance for procedures like licensing and IP Phone usage.
It's safe to say that nobody wants video to replace written documentation. As you point out it should be created and refined for people who are visual by nature, and for those looking to learn something they might have missed in the written notes.
I also gave Jon (+5) for the suggestion that Video be used by support personnel wanting a console connection set up to a router and for inserting a card into a chassis.
Perhaps a demonstration video of someone who was trying to incorrectly take a card out of a chassis, the Wireless Controller blade in a 6500 comes to mind, could also be produced and the subsequent malfunctioning of the card could then be visually documented.
This is a great topic and I'm so glad Cisco has added this forum. I've been spending quite a bit of time lately writing documentation for clients, and can see the day when they will be asking me to produce Video to supplement my notes.
Happy Holidays from Calgary my friend! I thought your additions here were very worthy of my +5 vote for sure! I think that this clip;
"and for those looking to learn something they might have missed in the written notes."
really encapsulates the value of this type of additional Technical resource. Tech docs by their very nature are sometimes hard to digest, and to miss a concept or idea is very easy to do. The sheer volume of documentation on CCO, although valid and well written in most cases, just compounds the problems we all encounter when trying to work our way through to find answers to our ongoing questions.
Sometimes, just seeing or hearing a Video/Audio presentation seems to tweak something in us where certain concepts become more understandable. Things that stick with us because of the way concepts or designs are explained that are very hard to infer from the "written" page.
I'm all for any additions or improvements that will help us all understand these most complicated problems ;-)
Thanks again Paul!
Wish you all a happy new year!
This is really an interesting topic and I am also in for this, supporting the above suggestions.
I would suggest, in addition to the videos concentrating on the troubleshooting and understanding various concepts, I feel there should be some low level video targeting Beginers and Sales people.
I have considered these two calls because most of the time they don't have the flexibility to practically take a look at the devices and play around with it.
I'll take a specific example, I have found it hard for the beginers to understand SFPs and GBICs, they'll always get confused between the Module and the slot. There are fiber line cards available with emply slots and few which comes with the fiber interface/module. I have seen people getting confused. When you tell a beginer that a router has 4 WIC/VIC/VWIC and 1 NM/NME slot it hard for them to imagine which will be very clear when demonstrated through video.
In case they have a video demonstrating about the device and various intefaces/modules available on the device with a very brief description it will be really helpful.
Sales guys (techno-commercial) at times don't even know what they have sold and how the device looks like.
I am not sure if this will fly or not, but this is what came to my mind.
Enjoy the new year party!!!
Happy New Year everyone!
Great discussion. With just a few postings, you have identified many specific applications for using video to convey information. We are collecting these ideas and we'd love to get more.
Video clips that marketing does, such as video data sheets, are short - usually 5 minutes or less. What are your thoughts about time limits for video?
First off, I think it's really great that Cisco is looking to improve the user experience with this type of add-on to the reams of Tech docs :) Good stuff! I'm guessing that most people wouldn't care too much about the length but more about the content. That being said, my vote would be for videos no longer than .5 hour. The are some great Unity Training vid's about this length that are very, very helpful!
some really good points are mentioned here regarding the benefits of video and I just want to add an ideas for the use of audio...
Like the podcasts that are available for some general topics I think it would be helpful if this would be expanded to cover more technical issues and methods. The different technologies evolves so fast that - if you want to read all the documents - it is hard to keep track on or at least to get an overview and the 'big picture'. Having part of this information availabel as an audio file, being caught up in a traffic jam or travelling to a customer could be really useful time :-)
You've brought up a very interesting idea of using Podcasts and audio files for certain types of documentation. It's very exciting from my perspective also - portable, audio documentation. We like your ideas and thoughts, and will try to raise awareness of them.
it is a while now that I mentioned the possible use of audio files for techincal issues and subjects. Now, I wonder if Cisco does provide anything in this direction as I cannot find anything on Ciscos' site or if they are working on something that goes in this direction.
Thanks so much for continuing to show interest in audio and video formats for Cisco docs. In our last reply, we said we would raise awareness in the tech docs community of customer interest in audio and video.
There is a lot going on across Cisco docs – some groups are just beginning to try things and others have published. Here are some examples. We have a podcast series in development with product marketing called “Hidden Gems in Cisco IOS.” We plan to post these podcasts in the NetPro forums and are working with NetPro on implementing that solution. When we have it working, we will post a notice to this thread to advertise it.
We also plan to post vodcasts to the NetPro forums, such as the videos in this list, which are currently published to doc product pages or on You Tube:
-Cisco Mobile Overview (YouTube, looking into publishing on Cisco.com)
Thanks again for your interest!
In the new 2900/3900 Hardware Installation guide it was felt that a video to demonstrate using the new PVDM adapter may be in order. So we did a short video to complement the text and illustrations: