RE: Documentation behind a login

Subject: RE: Documentation behind a login
From: <mbaker -at- analecta -dot- com>
To: "'Helen Mullally'" <helen -dot- mullally -at- alfresco -dot- com>, <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 20 Jan 2017 10:32:10 -0500

The most fundamental consideration here is that the way in which people look
for answers to technical problems has changed fundamentally. People no
longer to the two-step process of looking for a manual and then looking for
the specific information they want. Instead, they do the broadest search
possible -- generally by Googling. The reason for this is obvious enough.
There may be multiple works containing the information you need, form
manuals to knowledge based, to forums, to YouTube. Figuring out what each of
those sources might be an querying them individually is horribly time
consuming. Doing one Google search of everything and picking out the most
promising resource from the search results is much easier and it works well
for most of our daily enquiries. Most of us Google things a dozen times a
day or more without even thinking about it.

If you hide your content from Google, therefore, you are hiding it from your
reader's default information seeking behaviour. How hard they are willing to
try (if at all) after their first attempt fails, and whether they will even
have an idea about what to try, will vary from product to product and from
user to user. But at minimum you are making you customers work much harder
for the information they need to be successful, and at worst you are denying
it to them altogether.

Actually, there is another at worst to consider here: You are directing them
to third party information which may not be accurate or up to date, or may
even come from your competitors.

Incidentally you are also giving up a lot of free SEO, content marketing,
and lead generation possibilities.



-----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 Helen Mullally
Sent: January 20, 2017 6:58 AM
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Subject: Documentation behind a login

Hi all


I'm interested to know what people think about putting documentation behind
a login screen, for example to offer extra documentation for paying
customers.


I wonder what views you have about about giving all documentation freely
available online. Do you see the restricted access to some documentation as
a business opportunity or an annoyance/hinderance to the wider readership
and prospects?


I don't know whether there is a yes or no answer to this but it is more
about the principle.


Thanks in advance for your thoughts.


Helen


-----

Helen Mullally

Manager, User Assistance team

Skype: helen.mullally

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References:
Documentation behind a login: From: Helen Mullally

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