Evaluating help files

Subject: Evaluating help files
From: "Carrie Baker" <carriebak -at- gmail -dot- com>
To: TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Sun, 24 Jun 2007 13:26:56 +0300

The company are trying to implement a process of measurements. For our
department our boss likes us to deliver surveys, get the answers, and
send the same survey out next year and get better results!

In the past I asked about questionnaires and got useful responses.
However, it seems that my non technical writer boss has been asked for
us to send out a survey on our help files
While I am aware of the limitations of surveys and questionnaires
(from information from Geoff Hart), I think that I will have to write
and distribute a survey about our help files.

(i.e. are the help files helpful:-) )

Do people have any suggestions of useful questions to ask, or can tell
me whether such a survey already exists?

Questions I thought of are

When you access the documentation using the application do you open
the PDF file or the help file?

Do the correct topics appear when you click F1?
Does the help provided solve the problem?

Do the instructions provided help you perform the task you were interested in?

How do you generally access items in the help:
Use F1
Use the contents tab
Use the index tab
Use the search function?

What other useful and evaluable questions can I ask (I will probably
have to come up with 10 items which should be able to mean something).

Carrie Baker
carriebak -at- gmail -dot- com

Create HTML or Microsoft Word content and convert to Help file formats or
printed documentation. Features include support for Windows Vista & 2007
Microsoft Office, team authoring, plus more.

True single source, conditional content, PDF export, modular help.
Help & Manual is the most powerful authoring tool for technical
documentation. Boost your productivity! http://www.helpandmanual.com

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