The Smart Content Tool
Quark Author is a Web-based content creation software that, together with Quark Publishing Platform, enables business and IT leaders to streamline and automate high-value customer communications across every channel. The intuitive online authoring experience means subject matter experts – wherever they are – can rapidly create, preview, publish and reuse content. Lead your competitors, delight your customers. Quark Author – Smart Content for Smart Businesses.
Smart Content Creation
Once content is locked into a document with formatting, it’s very difficult and expensive to break it apart. This is the single biggest barrier for organizations to efficiently create and update high-value communications across channels. Quark Author was purposefully built for business users to create structured content (XML) within a familiar word processor-like environment. Authors can create and organize content components using standard content types such as sections, paragraphs, lists, tables, charts and figures. These content components can be dynamically assembled for any output. Quark Author is based on the Quark Smart Content Schema.
Guided Authoring Experience
‘Make it easy’ for subject matter experts is the mantra for Quark Author. The software uses a guided authoring approach based around sections. Different section types can be configured, each with their own unique properties. For example, a ‘Procedure’ section could have a title, description, steps and sub-steps. When the author adds a new section, these tags appear, preformatted in the editing canvas ready for the author to type over. In the same way, users can create Smart Documents, which are defined in terms of the sections they can contain.
On-demand Content Validation
Rather than enforcing rules during the authoring process, which can be cumbersome and slow down the learning and authoring process, users can validate the content they have created at any time or as it’s checked into the system. The validation rules are completely customizable and include things such as checking that terms used within the organization’s content guidelines or that a document contains all of the required sections, such as necessary legal disclosures. This removes all of the typical barriers to creating structured XML content that are present in XML authoring tools.
Content Components and Media Reuse
One of the most important benefits of authoring content components is being able to easily reuse content across documents and media channels. Authors can create new sections within their Smart Documents by directly inserting any section stored on the server. Inserted sections are locked by default but can also be edited inline and any changes made are then reflected back into other documents also utilizing this section. This same principal applies to rich media content, for example, the ability to insert video references that can be played inline.
Fine-grained Metadata Support
Metadata is information about information. For example, the ability to identify a specific audience – such as employees, partners or customers – for a specific run of content. This information is generally best captured when the content is authored. In Quark Author, rich metadata can be added at a very granular level, even down to an individual word level and with multiple values to ensure the content is truly smart.
Automated Multi-channel Publishing
The Smart Content Schema used by Quark Author was developed with two things in mind: ease of use for subject matter experts and multi-channel output. Quark Author generates semantically rich XML that can be used to drive Quark Publishing Platform’s automated, multi-channel publishing to reach employees, partners and customers. The content, formatting and branding can be customized for each channel, geography, division etc. in order to maximize the effectiveness of your high-value communications whether that be for print, PDF, the Web or mobile apps.
Versioning, Workflow and Component Content Management
When you create content at a component-level, a traditional DAM or CMS is not going to be adequate because you need to track, version, permission and workflow content components as opposed to files and documents. Quark Publishing Platform includes out-of-the-box versioning, granular access control, workflow and component content management and as it’s directly integrated, Quark Author benefits from an established, enterprise-class platform.
On-Demand Omni-channel Previews
One of the difficulties of creating content is not knowing how it will look in its final, published form. That’s even more challenging when the content could be published in a variety of different ways. Through tight integration with Quark Publishing Platform, authors are able to see previews of how the content will look directly within Quark Author. What’s more, they can even select from different media types and formats and thus radically cut down on review and approval cycles, creating content that’s appropriate for its final form.
Works in Any Modern Web Browser
Quark Author Web Edition has been built with the very latest in Web standards – HTML5. That means you can use any modern desktop Web browser with Quark Author without the need for annoying plugins. This makes for an easy and dynamic deployment for IT departments and local and remote authors can use the software via any HTML5-enabled, desktop browser.
Track Changes is an essential feature for an efficient review and approval process. By enabling all of the feedback to be collected and viewed directly with the content, the content owner can easily see the proposed edits to decide whether to accept or reject them. Additionally, the Comments Pane provides a convenient way for contributors to add comments and authors to combine these comments.
In a large organization, many business users will contribute to a document either directly or as part of the review and approval process. Quark Author was engineered for demanding, collaborative environments. Different authors can work on different sections of a document at the same time with permissions control deciding which authors can edit which sections. For example, only the legal team may have access to the legal sections of a document. This eliminates lengthy serial workflows where one author has to pass off a document to the next contributor, minimizes copy and paste rework and avoids the confusion over content and document versioning. Quark Author together with Quark Publishing Platform keeps track of it all.
Add Text, Images, Tables, Multi-Media and More
Quark Author was engineered for a multi-channel world so not only can you use it to create text, you can also insert images, video, audio and even specify interactivity, such as slideshows and animations. Ordered, unordered and nested lists are supported, as well as tables, including preconfigured table templates that define the shape and outline of a table. If your data resides in Excel or another data form, Quark Author – in combination with Quark Publishing Platform – can generate tables, charts and graphs automatically from relational or structured data. Note that tabular and chart data from Excel can be referenced so that any changes to that data in Excel can be dynamically updated at any time.
Semantic and Emphasis Tagging
For content to be truly smart it needs to know what it is and where it needs to go. Quark Author supports semantic tagging at a section, paragraph and character level to enable you to add meaning to content. For example, tagging a company name, to enable the company name to be handled differently on output to other text. Equally important is the ability to add emphasis to content. Bold, italic, underline, strikethrough, subscript and superscript are all available from the toolbar to enable authors to add emphasis without being too concerned with the application of that emphasis in each output channel.
Standard Word Processing Tools
There are certain essential tools that any business author needs and we built all of them right into Quark Author, including search (Find/Change), Undo/Redo, special character insertion and auto-saving of draft documents to the server. Quark Author can be configured to use either the native spell-checking capabilities provided by the browser, or a spell-checking web service. Out-of-the-box, it’s configured to use WebSpellChecker, but other options such as JSpell and jQuery Spellchecker may be integrated.
Component Usage Tracking
One of the major advantages of creating Smart Content is the ability to reuse content components across multiple documents and in multiple media. The flip side of this is ensuring you know which components are used within a document and conversely, which documents use each component. Quark Author provides this information directly within the authoring environment. So, if you change a specific set of terms and conditions, for example, the author can see every document using these terms that will be impacted by any updates.
While content components can be dynamically updated across every document that uses them, there are many instances where you would want to prevent this happening. For example, if you have included database content with fund performance on a specific date, you may want to pin that version of the data to not change in the document. The Pin feature enables authors to associate specific versions of a content component within a document.
By using standard and familiar Web technologies such as HTML, CSS, XML and Web Services, Quark Author and Quark Publishing Platform can easily integrate into existing IT infrastructure and business systems.