Re: Requesting feedback for a user guide - good or bad idea?

Subject: Re: Requesting feedback for a user guide - good or bad idea?
From: Doc <doc -at- vertext -dot- org>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 21 May 2003 13:36:01 -0400

On Wed, 21 May 2003 17:42:47 +0100, "Yeomans, Claire"
<claire -dot- yeomans -at- tso -dot- co -dot- uk> wrote:
>My feeling is that I should provide people with an e-mail address for any
>comments or suggestions, but I'm not sure if this is the norm, or whether it
>is generally felt to be a good / bad idea.
>Also, if this is something that other writers have included in
>documentation, where have you placed it? Proudly at the front? Or tucked
>away at the back in the hope that nobody actually finds it?!

I have done this on occasion. No matter where you place it you will
get little response. The only person who will ever see it is the
apocryphal "I read the book cover-to-cover" user, who will have been
fired for productivity issues before they can respond. ;->

OTOH If you have some petty cash and can steal a case of good logo
chatchkes (coffee mugs, pens, t-shirts, ball-caps, toys, etc.) from
Marketing to give out as incentives, you could try a more effective

1. Get a list of local users from Sales. Better yet, check with Tech
Support to find out if there are any local users who have complained
about the manual.

2. Call them up, find out who is the hands-on user.

3. Invite the user to participate in a critics lunch.

4. If you get some interest, ask each to concentrate on one chapter or
section of the doc.

5. Reserve a conference room and order pizza.

6. Send reminders.

7. Make sure there is someone there to take notes.

8. Give them chatchkes and certificates of appreciation. Give them
letters of appreciation that they can give to their supervisor.

Using this strategy I was able to get a small core of intelligent and
vocal reviewers. We actually ended up meeting every six months for a
number of years. YMMV

Good luck,

A man must have a certain amount of intelligent
ignorance to get anywhere.
--Charles Franklin Kettering (1876-1958)
Engineer and Inventor.


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