Summary of responses: User Surveys

Subject: Summary of responses: User Surveys
From: Abby_Schiff -at- factset -dot- com
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com
Date: Tue, 19 Oct 1999 15:52:37 -0400

Thanks to *all* Techwrl'ers who responded to my query on user documentation
surveys. Here's a brief summary of the responses:
======================================
Heather Brame sent along some excellent samples in .doc format, and added:

<<"[I found] it extremely helpful to offer something to my customers in
return for
sending back the survey. This allowed us to have a return rate of
approximately 60%.">>

======================================
Melissa J. Bodeau sent some helpful Web sites to check out:

<<Though not specifically for your purpose, you can find sample
questionnaires, interview tips, etc. at the Usability SIG (of STC) web site
http://www.stc.org/pics/usability/resources/index.html

If you backtrack to the STC's main site, there is a list of SIGs at
http://www.stc-va.org/fsig.htm - there are SIGs for Online Information and
Information Design that might have helpful resources.

Other sites that might be useful:

http://techwriting.miningco.com/arts/writepub/techwriting/

http://www.webring.org/cgi-bin/webring?ring=tcomm;list >>

======================================
Eric Sutherland:

<<Don't rush into buying software for online docs or doing all docs in some
form of
online Help, since MS Word etc can all be placed in shared folders on a
Server and
is easy to setup and maintain.>>

======================================
David Neeley:

<<There are several relatively inexpensive software
packages for producing surveys and massaging the
returned data, if you have enough users to need it.
Any reasonably good software source should find the
programs available quickly.>>

David also reminded that
<<You have several obstacles to overcome in doing such a
survey.>>,

noting, among other factors:

<<response rates in most instances are
very low, unless you "sweeten the pot" with some sort
of reward for participation. >>

<<survey participants are like talk-show callers
in that they are self selecting. That is, it is
unlikely you will get truly representative users
responding. >>

======================================
Thanks again to all who responded; we're 'on our way' to designing a survey
that I hope will be very helpful.

Abby Schiff
Director of Documentation
FactSet Research Systems Inc.





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