Documentation Usability Surveys

Subject: Documentation Usability Surveys
From: "Sarah E. Gill" <SARAHG -at- OTGSOFTWARE -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 23 Oct 1997 14:40:00 -0400

I am a (neophyte) technical writer at a software company, and our
documentation department has not had a practice of soliciting feedback
from the end users on the quality of the user manuals. I suggested that
we do so and have been tasked with developing a survey of some sort. My
question is this: what's the best way to get the most accurate and
broadest response on something like this? I was wondering whether a
paper survey sent out with the manuals when they ship is likely to elicit
any response. I thought that our training and install crew could also
hand the surveys out when they go onsite. But I was also wondering about
an email survey or some sort of interactive survey that generates an
email when they're done. Would that be worth the extra effort? If there
are any experienced tech writers with brilliant ideas for getting the
pulse of a documentation audience out there, I would appreciate any

sarahg -at- otgsoftware -dot- com

Sarah E. Gill
Technical Writer
sarahg -at- otgsoftware -dot- com

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