What is everyone else putting in their help files for HTML templates. I have a template prepared but whats there to explain, other than the code is ready to use?
You have to write stuff like how to change the colour scheme, the logo and all that kinda stuff. You must pretend as if someone who hasn’t a clue about html has bought it.
It’s kinda lame, i know but it’s worth it.
The site manager has said that he will provide a template to help provide the correct information. We should be able to look for that shortly.
Yes it is worth it…because over time you will be adding to your main help file, and when you make a new file you can just pull out excerpts from that, that apply to the template your working on…so building your help file should only really be a pain the first time. Plus if you get really detailed it should prevent a lot of support related questions from buyers.
I don’t mean to be rude, but if you start explaining how to change the colorscheme or the menu (if it’s graphical for ex.) might take much longer than actually coding the bloody thing. And most of all, this would need to be done on each template you make that’s not 80% similar to another. That might result in a lot of basic templates on the site just for the fear of the help file.
What I’m saying is that help can be provided about how to install a WP template or how to change data in a xml for a flash file, but for god’s sake, writing 20 pages of help for a template is crazy.
A buyer that is clueless about css and photoshop should not (and probably wouldn’t) buy a css template he plans to customize himself.
People are buying the templates because they dont have the knowledge or time to learn how to do it themselves…people buy files that contain no help, are not happy because they wasted money on something they cant use and then they dont come back…that to me makes no sense. Oxy, please be aware that every template up here has a help file and most of them are short of one page…additionally if you are consistent with your code…you will always name elements of the page the same thing so next time you can use the same help file, take out what is not needed, or add any additional elements that are new in this theme and your good to go…
I think you are thinking the file needs to be bigger than it actually is. Jeff is working on a template and when its released, I’m sure it will be a big help.
Mark, let me first say I really don’t agree with you, I’m afraid you might have the wrong idea about your buyers. If a buyer is totally clueless about coding and photoshop, a one page help file will not be of any use to him. We’ve been in this business for almost 10 years now and I think we have a good feel about the industry. Do you want to know who generally buys the templates ?
1. Coders that don’t have the gfx skills/talent to pull off a really good design. 2. Web agencies/Freelancers that work on a budget and want to save money. 3. Beginner Designers that can’t code a template from scratch but are able to modify it’s parameters. 4. Beginner Coders/Designers that want to learn by example. 5. Buyers that have a clue about design and coding and think they would be better off modifying a template themselves as oposed to learning the advaced skills for creating one from scratch.
I might have missed some, but this should be the vast majority. I don’t deny that there might be quite a few buyers out there that are clueless about both css and design, but personally I would advise them to stay away of templates and invest their time in something more productive. I would also advise them to work with a specialist that can attend to their needs.
On another note, for ex. the first template you rejected has a graphical menu that is editable in the menu.psd file (pretty obvious). Do you really consider it help if I include that in the help file ? “Edit the menu.psd file if you want to change the menu”. That is useless for a person that knows nothing about Photohsop. I would need to write a 3-4 page tutorial min. explaining the tools he’ll use, how to export, copy the files, how to change the colors, gradients, text styles, what everything does and so on. And that’s just to change the menu.
What I’m saying is that you either do it properly or you don’t do it at all. Yes, you are right assuming I’m probably overestimating the size of the help file, but that is because I based my assumptions on flawed information. If the templates we make are more complex, following your instructions of regarding the buyer as having no knowledge of coding or photoshop whatsoever would result in writing a short book. Period.
I didn’t imagine you would have to spend so much time on help, it’s simply not worth the trouble. I am a bit upset since we alocated quite a bit of time to get our first 5 templates up and if that time increases by 40% just because of the help files then it’s a waste and will not turn up a decent profit even in the long term.
I wrote in the help file you rejected that if you can’t locate the style on a certain element, to use firebug to inspect that element and find the location you need to customise in the css files. Short of that, you would need to basicaly paste all your css files and explain each line, property and what it does. and we’re talking 23k of clean css code on the first template alone.
Tell me how I can make a 1-2 page help for a beginner for this template or provide some sample help files if you want to make it easier on the authors, otherwise it’s like shooting against the wind.
Still I think you are over thinking it…not asking you to spell everything out, nor am I asking you to say “to change the menu…change the menu” that doesnt make any sense either…I am saying explain where in the code the items can be found…explain where the links are, and how they can modify them to add or change a link…things like that…I would side with you if it was a site wide issue, but at the moment every file that gets approved contains a valid help file that is usually 1 – 2 pages at the most, and it seems to be working very well.
You sell on Flashden, and documentation is required there as well…I’m assuming you make documentation there, so I dont understand why its such an issue here.
Your probably right in assuming that some users are familiar with CSS and HTML , but there is a large chunk of people that arent. I know you have a lot of experience in the biz, but templates are around to make it easier for people…its a large selling point, and while I’m sure a bunch of buyers are looking for a fast method to create a great site, I’m sure a lot of users are not experienced enough to make it themselves, so they turn to templates, and do not have the knowledge needed to make basic changes. This is why a help file is required.
Mark, For Flash it’s simple and logical how to make the documentation file. You have certain settings and you list them and explain what they do. Those settings are specific to the file you have developed.
However in css the settings “are” the language itself. I don’t want to drag this on more than it needs to, I’m sure in time things will get better and more resources will become available. I’m also sure that once I take a look at a sample help file things will become more clear, but from where I’m standing it’s still quite foggy.