Adobe is soliciting feedback from technical communication professionals worldwide in a short online survey:
“Doesn’t matter if you use our Adobe products or not, as long as you are a tech comm professional and have opinions about the tools of your choice – this survey will be of interest to you!”
There are 25 simple multiple-choice questions. Adobe is offering prizes, which will be given to seven lucky participants. The survey closes at 11.59 pm PST on 5th June 2013.
See: Adobe techcomm Perception and Awareness Survey.
This is a survey for organisations that develop publicly available software.
Mindtouch has compiled an updated list of the most influential techcomm bloggers. The top six most influential bloggers are based in the USA; Cherryleaf’s Ellis Pratt comes in at No. 7, making him, according to this list, the most influential techcomms blogger in Europe.
It does conjure up images of someone stroking a white persian cat in their mountain lair – do bloggers and tweeters really have a great deal of influence on their community?
Last month, we conducted an online survey that 226 Technical Authors completed. We also conducted some in depth interviews with UK Documentation Managers to get a better insight into the responses. Below is some feedback we received.
Why user guides are not published on Web sites
The main reasons we heard why user documentation was not published on Web sites (i.e. searchable on Google) were:
- The application was bespoke and/or specific to a single customer.
- The Support Department felt it would lead to fewer customers signing up for a Support contract.
- Competitors might read the content.
Senior management often had a traditional view of what a user guide should look like
Reluctance and resistance to innovative approaches to User Assistance came more from senior management and other departments (i.e. Support and Marketing) than from the Technical Publications department itself.
The exceptions came from
- Successful organisations where technical documentation was a negligible cost to the overall business. The Technical Publications department had freedom to effectively do what they liked.
- Organisations where they saw that many users were reading and downloading the user documentation. This was where the content was online and the number of readers could be quantified through Web analytics.
There was little desire for User Generated Content (but there was for getting engineers to contribute content)
In general, they felt not enough users would contribute and there could be legal risks.
Last month, we conducted an online survey that 226 Technical Authors completed. 31 respondents were freelance contractors, whom we’ve excluded from our analysis.
Here are some graphs illustrating some of the significant figures from the survey. Click on each image to view a larger version.
What impact does user documentation have on your business’ performance?
Most Technical Authors believe User Assistance does have an important impact on their organisation’s performance.
Do your competitors have better, worse or the same quality user documentation than you?
Most Technical Authors do not know how good their User Assistance is in comparison to their competitors.
To which media is it published?
21% publish their content as HTML pages that are findable by Google.
What is the purpose of the user documentation?
How high/low is the status of the User Documentation team in the organisation?
What do users think of your user documentation?
Technical Authors believe their users like what they provide (although we found very few measure this).
We welcome your comments.
Last month, we conducted an online survey that 226 Technical Authors completed. 31 respondents were freelance contractors, whom we’ve excluded from our analysis. Here are some of the significant figures from the survey.
Technical Authors measuring the ROI value of their output: 7%
The most common measure was to quantify the value of avoided calls to the Support department. Furthermore, it appeared few Technical Authors (or their managers) were measuring anything relating to the deliverables at all.
Technical Authors who have User Generated Content in their User Assistance: 12%
Many felt they didn’t have a big enough user base; they doubted users would contribute if they were to provide this capability.
Technical Authors who know how many users read their documentation: 10%
Those that knew were using Web analytics to measure the number of people reading and/or downloading the documentation. Another 8% felt they could make a good guess. The remaining 82% didn’t know.
Technical Authors who are using Social Media in their User Assistance: 5%
Most were using Twitter, followed by use of wikis and then Facebook.
Technical Authors who know how much user documentation content they have: 95%
Most Technical Authors felt they had a pretty good idea how much content had been created as User Assistance.
We’ll be publishing more findings tomorrow and the day after.
We welcome your comments.
One of the issues we’re investigating in the Cherryleaf user documentation strategy survey is how much strategic thought is given to user documentation, online Help and user assistance in general. Is a Use Case for Help included in the project design?
It will be interesting to see the results at the end – we don’t want to influence the responses by reporting our findings to early. So far, 213 people have completed the survey, and we’re keeping the survey open until the end of July.
Involved in user documentation? Then please take part in the Cherryleaf user documentation strategy survey 2011.
It aims to take a strategic look at user documentation, looking at aspects such as the purpose and value of (and future trends in) user documentation. By user documentation, we mean user guides, online Help, web based Help, screencasts and other forms of user assistance.
There are 33 short questions in this survey, and it should take about
5 6-7 minutes to complete.
All replies are confidential.
Thank you for taking part.
Cherryleaf user documentation strategy survey 2011.
Thank you to everyone who responded to our survey into trends in technical communication. Below are some graphs illustrating the responses to some of the questions we posed.
Which topics do Technical Authors want to know more about?
How important is it for you to be aware of the future trends in user assistance and technical writing?
How important is it for you to be aware of the current trends in user assistance and technical writing?