Re: Resistance to allowing anonymous web access to online help?

Subject: Re: Resistance to allowing anonymous web access to online help?
From: Sharon Burton <sharon -at- anthrobytes -dot- com>
To: mbaker -at- analecta -dot- com
Date: Sun, 19 Jun 2016 13:04:25 -0700

Mark, you are assuming the login is separate from the product login.

For my employer, we have a cloud based system and the help can't be seen until you log in to use the system.

But I also use google analytics to see how and how much my customers use the help. The answer is a lot. A lot a lot.

We're using that information to improve our help on many levels.

We are an EHR system and our customers would never look at a site like stack overflow for answers to their questions.

My point is: you have to know your audience and their behavior before you can make sweeping statements about what they do or don't do.

Sent from my iPhone
951-202-0813
I am available when online thru Skype at Sharon.v.burton.

> On Jun 19, 2016, at 11:41 AM, <mbaker -at- analecta -dot- com> <mbaker -at- analecta -dot- com> wrote:
>
> Actually, those are reasons *for* putting the docs on the public web. If you
> don't put the docs on the web, your customers are more likely to go to Stack
> Overflow for answers. Customers don't read the manual. They read the page
> they find when they search. The first place they search is Google. If the
> first page Google turns up is StackOverflow, that is the page they will
> read. That trains them that the place to get answers is stack overflow, so
> that is where they go when they have a question.
>
> One of the major reasons for putting your docs on the Web is to try to get
> your content to come up first in Web searches. What people who argue against
> it miss is that people do not go looking for the manual and then read the
> manual for their answers. If they did that, then keeping the manual behind a
> log in would merely make their task more difficult. But that is not what
> they do. The search for an answer to their question, without any thought to
> what source it might come from. This means that people are only going to log
> in to see the manual when they have exhausted ever other possibility. If
> they find an answer on the public web, that is the answer they will use.
> (And if they find an answer to how to solve the same problem in your
> competitors product, well, what conclusion do you think they will draw?)
>
> And if your docs are not on the external web, you have to do more SEO if you
> want people to be able to find anything. Search is a big data problem. Good
> ranking comes from search engines being able to analyze billions of searches
> and the results people choose when they search. Your internal search does
> not have the data to do that, so it will not work as well as Google would.
> This is why intranet search systems come with extensive tuning capability to
> allow admins to try to tune the search to the organization and its
> vocabulary.
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: techwr-l-bounces+mbaker=analecta -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
> [mailto:techwr-l-bounces+mbaker=analecta -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com] On Behalf
> Of Robert Lauriston
> Sent: Sunday, June 19, 2016 2:15 PM
> To: TECHWR-L Writing
> Subject: Re: Resistance to allowing anonymous web access to online help?
>
> Mark Baker reminds me of a couple of good arguments against putting the docs
> on the public web:
>
> 1. Support doesn't have to spend time monitoring Stack Exchange et al.
> for customers who don't RTM.
>
> 2. Tech writers don't have to spend time doing SEO.
>
> For the kind of complex developer software I document, those are significant
> benefits. For a consumer product, those might be outweighed by the potential
> pre-sales benefits.
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Follow-Ups:

References:
Resistance to allowing anonymous web access to online help?: From: John G
RE: Resistance to allowing anonymous web access to online help?: From: Erika Yanovich
Re: Resistance to allowing anonymous web access to online help?: From: John G
RE: Resistance to allowing anonymous web access to online help?: From: mbaker
Re: Resistance to allowing anonymous web access to online help?: From: Robert Lauriston
RE: Resistance to allowing anonymous web access to online help?: From: mbaker

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