When/how is help used?

Subject: When/how is help used?
From: "Donna Marino" <domarino -at- earthlink -dot- net>
To: "Techwrl" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 10 Dec 1999 14:31:20 -0700

I'm working on a documentation project and I need some statistics on general
usage of documentation and online help. Specifically, I am interested in:

1. what percentage of users turns to online help to find an answer to their
question? to documentation? to both? I have in my head that the split is
50/50, but I don't remember where I read that or the basis for the

2. when attempts at self-help fail, what is the cause? I'm especially
interested in percent of failure due to navigation (e.g., the index was
incomplete) and content (e.g., the sentences were poorly written).

I have a week's worth of customer service data for a single product. Of the
31 unique callers, 18 had first tried to solve their problem using either
doc (11) or help (6) or both (1). Since this data is subject to the
limitations of self-reporting, I'd like to see results from similar
studies. Does anyone know of any?

Thanks for your help,

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