RE: User Conference

Subject: RE: User Conference
From: "Camp, Mary" <Mary -dot- Camp -at- Dialogic -dot- com>
To: TECHWR-L -at- LISTS -dot- RAYCOMM -dot- COM
Date: Tue, 21 Dec 1999 15:51:27 -0500

Sharon Key asked for feedback from techwhirlers who've attended User

[This is a synopsis of our experience - very short because I'm getting ready
to leave town for the holidays. Anyone who wants more details, please send
email and I'll expand after Jan 4th.]
We just did this very thing in mid-November. A seven person team (all
volunteers) met regularly for conference calls between July and November. We
developed a 2 page (front and back of a sheet of paper) survey to find out
about our customers, a 9 page survey to ask detailed questions about our
existing documentation, and created a demo of a documentation navigation
tool. (There was an existing demo of our on-line help integrated into the MS
Visual C developer's studio that we brought too.)

At the conference, we had a booth set up with three laptops - each could run
all 3 demos. We had 4 from our department attending, which allowed 3 to run
the demos while 1 acted as booth greeter / carnival barker.

We got great feedback from our attendees. Possibly the most enthused people
were, ironically, other folks from Dialogic. It's amazing sometimes that our
own sales people are so unfamiliar with our documentation. Now we're in the
midst of transferring the paper data into a spreadsheet, then a database.
We're hoping to do this again next November, but possibly even earlier at
one of the larger trade shows Dialogic goes to.

Lessons learned:
1. Attendees will fill out short surveys with minimal complaining IF you
have something cool to give them in return. We had a car-shaped flashlight
keychain and got approx. 100 surveys from 800 attendees.
2. Bring plenty of pens and clipboards for surveys OR have a
cocktail-height table for them to lean on while writing.
3. Don't bother putting surveys in the "welcome to our conference" packet -
we only got 5 back that way, and 2 of them were from people I spoke to
4. Our long survey was too long. Even though we planned to do it in an
interview-type situation with certain "key" customers, it was a grueling
experience for both sides. Next time, we need to focus the survey on exactly
what we want to know, instead of just loading it up with every possible
5. Keep notebooks by the demo stations to record comments quickly before
you forget them.

I'd be happy to write more, but not till after the holidays!
Mary Camp
Dialogic, an Intel Company
mailto:Mary -dot- Camp -at- dialogic -dot- com

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