When/how is help used?

Subject: When/how is help used?
From: "Geoff Hart" <geoff-h -at- mtl -dot- feric -dot- ca>
To: TECHWR-L -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com
Date: Mon, 13 Dec 1999 09:25:46 -0500

Donna Marino is <<... working on a documentation project and I
need some statistics on general usage of documentation and
online help.>>

Unless you can find statistics for audiences very similar to your
own audience, I'd distrust any statistics you find in the literature.

<<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.>>

I think that if you've already got decent stats for your own audience,
you should use those rather than any ones you find in your
literature. Thirty callers is well above the lower limit of sample size
for doing a statistical test (e.g., Student's t statistic), and that
suggests you've got an excellent starting point for your audience

--Geoff Hart @8^{)} geoff-h -at- mtl -dot- feric -dot- ca (Pointe-Claire, Quebec)
"If you can't explain it to an 8-year-old, you don't understand it"--Albert Einstein

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