This guest blog post was written by Judith Ellison Shenouda, owner of Shenouda Associates Inc., a business that researches, writes, and edits the many professional publications that streamline processes, launch products, and promote each client’s brand. Her team used Flare to revamp the company website and uses Flare to support clients' documentation needs.

At Shenouda Associates Inc., we do so much more than writing grammatically correct content and fixing typos. We do major editing and reorganizing, website and template design, conversion from one application to another, project management, knowledgebase management, and publishing in a variety of formats and languages.

In working with clients, who generally are technical publication teams at large companies, we seek to understand their needs and propose solutions to best meet those needs. In some cases, this includes migrating to a different product, such as MadCap Flare. When we have succeeded, MadCap Flare has often become the product of choice.

As the supplier, we are responsible for purchasing the product, which means that this business must be able to justify the cost of the purchase. In the case of MadCap Flare, we have done this by using the product on internal projects that will benefit our business. Here is an example.

Shenouda Associates Inc. Website Redo

To keep pace with new technology and taste, our website needed some updates to adapt it for use on the small screens of mobile devices as well as the large screens of computers, with less need to zoom in on or scroll through dense text, and with more visual appeal.

Since our previous website update, we had become experts in Flare and considered it an easy choice, the right choice. Its well-designed interface eliminates or minimizes the need to know any of the standard languages used in website development. It includes easily modifiable templates and all the tools needed to create a modern, easy-to-use, visually pleasing website, including:

  • Responsive layouts that can be viewed and navigated with ease on any device.
  • Expandable text that gives the reader the choice of what to read and when.
  • Graphic components—such as those found on our Home page and on the Our Services page.

On the Home page, we freshened the look by replacing text boxes with panels that introduce, both with words and graphics, the content on the website.

On the Our Work page, we added a showcase with links to infographics that we created. Content that was primarily words morphed into content that combines words and pictures to better enhance the user experience. Infographics are now an offering on Our Deliverables.

Today, our streamlined website is more inviting to new users. It’s easier to navigate, with new features that allow content to be expanded or condensed. Links provide more detail, graphics add interest, and we’re better able to show and tell what our team can accomplish for clients.

Using the product for internal use has been a way to justify the purchase. It has also enabled us to be better advocates for the product.

The Write Angle’s Experience

Our colleague and collaborator on client projects, Gretchen Stahlman, owner of The Write Angle, is a MadCap Flare user advocate who considered it the right choice for a client’s needs. In this specific customer story, the right choice was not adopted⎯at least, not yet.

As Stahlman explains, “Our client is using a page layout app to create 100+ page PDFs that its users read online. This was quite an ordeal to create years ago, so now the client is leery that converting to Flare would be just as big a hassle. There are several fallacies in this thinking:

  1. At the time our client created the original doc, no one involved had expertise in the page-layout app that was selected. The current template and update procedures are ineffective because they were clumsily done. Since we’re experts in Flare, this could be made much more efficient and easy to update.
  2. When created, the guides were printed and distributed. Now they are still generated as PDFs but viewed online and only partially printed when needed. Flare would offer both an easy online version to view and also a PDF to print.
  3. Most of the content is the same and shared across different versions of the guide. This could be easily handled using conditional text.
  4. Currently, our client manually generates a Table of Contents for each book. To make matters worse, the page numbers are not linked to the content. Using Flare to create either online or PDF outputs would automatically generate links and search results, making the content much easier to use.

We’ve tried to explain that the product that writers are currently using is not designed to produce the modern outputs they need, but the pain and expense of their last conversion five years ago is still too fresh. They are trying to bake an apple pie using oranges. Sure, it’s a passable pie, but it could be so much better. I’ll keep working gently on convincing them there is a better way. Until then, we’ll clean up the current content as best we can to make the conversion easier when the time comes.

User Adoption Strategy

Working with clients who have adopted MadCap Flare when we consider it the right choice and to not give up on those clients who have not considered this product adoption, here is the user adoption strategies we follow:

  1. Understand the client’s needs and propose that the product usage can best meet those needs.
  2. Understand the client’s reluctance to use the proposed product.
  3. Address the client’s concerns. This may or may not lead to user adoption strategies of the product.
  4. If adopted, help the client achieve maximum value from the product adoption.
  5. If not adopted, stay in touch. Perhaps a sweet deal is just down the road.

Of course, as suppliers, we will use the proposed product, in this case, MadCap Flare, to deliver quality work and leads to customer success. We want our work to shine, our clients to shine, and the product to shine. That’s a win, win, win for all.

For more information, please contact:

  • Judith Ellison Shenouda,,
  • Gretchen Stahlman,,