useful and not-so-useful user feedback

Subject: useful and not-so-useful user feedback
From: "Kimberly McClintock" <kimberly -dot- mcclintock -at- openlogic -dot- com>
To: <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 13 Feb 2007 10:05:46 -0700

Once again pinging all you smart, experienced folks for thoughts on a variation Iâve encountered everywhere but in my written material on being a Tech Writer!!

Looking for experiential anecdotes regarding capturing informal user feedback, and filtering it. Hereâs the situation: a Sales Engineer was supporting a customer as the customer installed our product. The customer is at another site, the SE is on-site here. They used our documentation and completed the install over the phone. Itâs a complicated and fragile process that involves getting several supporting applications installed and configured. The docs team wrote the documenation and tested it, itâs also been tested and tweaked several times by internal staff. Â

All documentation can be improved, I know this. This particular doc covers both Windows and Linux install instructions and folks find that a litle confuising. Itâs on my list to fix it. But, I could hear the SE on the phone with the guy at one point and knew, based on the problems he was having, that the customer had not read the critical âBefore you Startâ section of the documenation. The result was hours of frustration on the part of the SE after which there was a company partyâyou can guess what happened: weâre all standing around having a beer and the SE brings up the docs and the issues he had and suddenly the documentation is up for group critique.

He wrapped up by saying, by the way, âI even found a few typos!!â


So, all defensiveness aside â I want to put a process in place for capturing the information, and teach myself and my colleagues how to evaluate & filter useful from not-so-useful feedback.

I also welcome any suggestions for witty repartee I could use in future such situationsâ

Kimberly McClintockÂÂ|Â Lead Technical Writer
kimberly -dot- mcclintock -at- openlogic -dot- com
720 240 4523ÂÂ|Â phone
720 240 4556 Â|Â fax
1 888 OpenLogic Â|Â toll free
OpenLogic, Inc.
Headquarters, Broomfield, Colorado 80021


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