Re: Are User Surveys the best approach for defining your audienc

Subject: Re: Are User Surveys the best approach for defining your audienc
From: Rosemarie R Gaglione <rgaglion -at- FLUTE -dot- AIX -dot- CALPOLY -dot- EDU>
Date: Thu, 2 Feb 1995 10:03:07 -0800

It may sound overly simplistic, but the first thing I usually ask is what
parts of the manual(s) do they NOT use. This can be done by sending out
copies of the Table of Contents and having the users line out what they
don't use. Ask them to write down their number one gripe about the
present manual. This will give you plenty to work with.

The next step is to separate what is needed in the field from the main
manual(s) and create a separate field manual. Then ask the field people
what is not included that they would like to add.

Once you have done that, find out how many procedures can be broken down
into single page summaries. Put these sheets in the front section, with
the detail in the after portions.

I have found that taking a single survey does not work as well as doing
things in stages. While this may take a little more time up front, it
will save time in the long run and make the document more efficient.
Also, making everyone feel involved will make them more likely to embrace
the final product.

Rosemarie Gaglione

On Wed, 1 Feb 1995, Kelly Burhenne wrote:

> Text item: Text_1

> My department has decided to "better define our end-user". We are
> considering taking the survey approach. Can anyone make suggestions as
> to some good questions to ask on a user survey? And how can we get
> them to send it back? We've got to start somewhere, but is a survey
> the best approach?

> A little background: our users are employed by our company (i.e., they
> are field engineers). We are trying to determine if there is too much
> junk in the manuals, not enough, and generally what we can do to make
> manuals better for them. We've never really gotten a lot of input
> from the users; we all just assumed we knew what they needed (there
> are quite a lot of inflated egos around here)!

> You can reply to me directly if you wish and I will summarize.

> Thanks,
> Kelly Burhenne
> burhennk -at- smtpgw -dot- liebert -dot- com
> Columbus, OH


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