Audience Analysis

Subject: Audience Analysis
From: Jeff Moore <moore -at- HAD -dot- HORIBA -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 19 Nov 1996 16:18:57 EST

Karen asked about usable customer feedback.

The best thing I've found is that I also do training on our software and
I keep my ears wide open when I do. I see real users interact with the
product. I see mistakes they make, assumptions we make that aren't correct,
etc. At one time I hoped to find some kind of survey instrument or something
to get useful information, but I haven't. Our product is very expensive and
probably costs around $100,000 per user, so we don't have a large user base.
Plus they are all over the world, so it's not easy to go interview them.
But I've found as I do on-site training I'm able to get a lot of insight
which is very helpful. For instance some of our users in Spain - who use
an english manual and speak english as a second language - liked to take
the manual home at night to study. (What a concept!) We used to assume the
manual was used at the terminal, so we didn't put in all the screen shots we
might have. Now we put in more. If you have a training dept, I'd encourage
you to talk to them, or go with them, or become them part of the time. I find
training and documentation to be a great combination.

Jeff Moore
Technical Communication
Writeway Management/Horiba Industries
Ann Arbor, MI
moore -at- had -dot- horiba -dot- com

"Rem tene, verba sequentur."
(Grasp the subject and the words will follow.)
Cato the elder

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