As you know, user feedback is essential in technical writing. It helps to improve documentation and technical writing process in general. Here, I want to tell you how you can collect user feedback, so you can write user-friendly documentation.
If you create online documentation, and if it’s possible, enable commenting. It’s the easiest way to get feedback — a user reads your help topic and can immediately ask something.
I use ClickHelp for technical writing, and they support the Disqus integration.
Here is how it looks:
Moreover, you can create Restricted documentation there, so this will also allow your team to exchange internal comments in a Restricted publication before going live with the final version of your content.
Provide Live Chat Support
Live chat is also a good idea to inspire your users to leave feedback. Chat support can help your doc team get closer to your users by better understanding their needs and challenges. It will help you write documentation that will be definitely helpful for your users.
However, this approach has some specifics. For example, you should do your best to make sure all users get necessary and helpful information. Moreover, you should think over when and where this window will appear in order not to annoy your users.
Use Email Surveys
Email surveys are another way to learn your users opinion. However, you must follow the golden mean rule as users may get annoyed if send emails frequently or your survey list is too long.
If you get some negative emails, you should immediately resolve them to provide readers with useful and clear information.
Use Google Analytics and Internal Analytics
If you create online documentation, and if it’s possible, connect your online portal and your Google Analytics account.
Google Analytics is a resource of a huge variety of possible metrics to analyze. Here is some key data you can track using this tool:
- Visitors — the number of people who visited your documentation portal.
- Content — this metric allows evaluating which help topics are the most popular.
- Average Time Spent on a Page — it shows you how much time readers spend on any topic on average.
- Navigation paths, and much more.
Moreover, some help authoring tools provide internal statistics. For example, ClickHelp offers reporting and analytics features for your convenience. For more precise and actionable analytics, reader behavior events (search queries, topic views) are not tracked for web crawlers and logged in authors, and much more.
Monitor Social Channels
In order to improve your documents monitor some thematic forums and threads. For example, r/technicalwriting/ on Reddit. Sometimes I see some questions about MadCap Flare that can be a sign for the doc team that users don’t understand something and don’t get the proper help if they ask other users.
What do you use to collect user feebdack?