ScreenSteps is based in McLean, Virginia, with team members—including talented artists and programmers—located throughout the world. The ScreenSteps documentation tools were born of their founders' focus on e-learning. At a time when they consulted for major medical-device manufacturers, they noticed that doctors and technicians weren't reading the documentation that explained how to use the equipment. Instead, they left sticky notes with step-by-step instructions explaining each device's operation process.
These sticky notes were the prompt that got the founders thinking: When it came to e-learning, there had to be a way to create support documentation that users actually wanted to read. Further, this documentation had to be versatile enough to be placed directly into PDFs, customer emails, help-desk forums and web applications. Taking the idea of the step-by-step lists from the notes, they developed a process that inserted demonstrative screenshots into targeted articles.
The last step was to find a way to accomplish this task with as few headaches as possible. Normally, authoring a single article with screenshots required a separate screen-capture application, image editor, text-authoring tool and FTP client. With this in mind, the ScreenSteps documentation tools were developed so all required steps—including publishing—can take place within one application.