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Get ahold of JoAnn Hackos's and Ginny Redish's book User and Task
Analysis for Interface Design. It takes you step-by-step through
a process for field studies that can be applied to documentation with
a little work.
The biggest change I would recommend from their procedure is to
go into the customer site with some planned tasks. They recommend
watching the customer do regular work, but you may never see the
customer consult documentation that way. Think of some things they
could do that they may not know how to do (if they are experienced with
your product already) or ask them questions about how they would find
information about something they don't know about.
Under my direction, my last company had just begun usability testing
in the form of field studies and had done one pilot project before I left.
> Have you done usability testing on documentation? Care to make some
> suggestions? The budget is limited, which means no consultant or even an
> extra person. We'll have to make it work with our already busy staff.
> Thanks in advance!
> Cindy Hudson
> Technical Communicator
> Enterprise Computer Systems, Inc.