Client Questionnaire (P1 of 2)

Subject: Client Questionnaire (P1 of 2)
From: Judy Fraser <jfraser -at- GLINX -dot- COM>
Date: Mon, 4 May 1998 13:44:36 -0300

Wow! So many people have asked for a copy of this questionnaire that at Eric's suggestion I'm posting it in two parts for everyone. (I knew there were a lot of you out there who didn't have this formalized :-) !! )

I hope this proves to be at least a good starting point for you. Enjoy! As I said to the others earlier today:

Some responses were very specific while others were quite high level. I was leaning toward the higher level questions (memory joggers) on which you could build at the initial (and subsequent) interview(s) based on the customer's feedback. I didn't dwell on detailed audience analysis; most of us have such lists that we use and there are good sources out there if necessary. If I've missed anything blatantly obvious let me know, please.

Thanks a 1,000,000 to those who responded with questions from your own experience (Yvonne DeGraw, Mary Durlak, Paul Kostiuk, Lorraine Ross Hall, and Robin Allen).

General Project Issues
1. What objective do you wish to achieve with the release of this product?
2. What is the general purpose of the document(s)? (e.g., Training , Periodic Reference, Frequent Reference, Procedural, Installation, Regulatory, or some Combination of these)
3. What percent of the software/project is now complete?
4. What is my level of involvement in the project? (e.g., any or all of researching, writing, editing, typing, design, graphics, working with printer, etc.)
5. Is there existing documentation for this product? (Manual, help, marketing material, etc.)
6. Do you have, or know of, a similar existing manual for a similar product that you like? (E.g., for format, organization, etc.)
7. What other information is/will be available to users? (E.g., Web site, training)
8. How frequently is the product updated?
9. Do all customers upgrade at relatively the same time, or do you support old versions?
10. What changes do you anticipate for this product in the near future (long term)? Would it ever be broken into modules or combined it with another product?
11. Do you anticipate supporting the product on other platforms?
12. What potential problems do you see with respect to completing the document(s) on time?
13. What comments about your documentation have you received in the past from customers?
14. Do you anticipate a product name change?
Documentation Issues
15. What is the most common task they perform? What is the second most common task? What is the third most common task?
16. What type of document(s) should be prepared to meet your users' requirements?
* Hard copy manual
* Online manual (e.g., view only with hyperlinks, etc.)
* Online help (reference, context sensitive, tutorial?)
* Web site
17. Do you have a preference as to word processor? (Word, FrameMaker, Word Perfect, etc.)
18. Do you have a preference as to help authoring tools? (HelpBreeze, RoboHelp, DocToHelp, HTML)
19. Do you have a preference as to graphics tools and formats? (HiJaak, tiff, bmp, etc.)
20. Do you have current company standards, style sheets, or templates you wish used for this project?
21. What aspects of documentation that you've seen or used do you particularly like?
22. What aspects of documentation that you've seen or used do you not like?
23. Will I design the layout and create templates for the document(s)?
24. What elements are required in the document? (Obviously some of these are at the author's discretion, but some clients expect certain sections in their documents.)
* Title Page
* Approval/Sign Off Page
* Revision History
* Conventions used in this manual
* How to use this manual
* Reference Section to Related Documents
* Table of Contents
* List of Tables
* List of Figures
* Glossary
* Quick Reference (Sheets, Cards, separate document)
* Index
* Reader Feedback Sheet
* Other (specify)

Judy Fraser, B.Sc.
Technical Communications Specialist
PO Box 58, Centreville
Nova Scotia B0P 1J0

Email: jfraser -at- glinx -dot- com
Web Site:

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