The Role of Information/Documentation in Product Adoption
By dlindt on Jan 27, 2007
How does information or documentation influence your decisions to download, install, and use a product? What role can tech writers/information designers play in the success of a product or a company? Is it that you download a product and then look at the documentation, or is it that we can provide you with information that influences your decision to download and use a product? Can we help to grow our user base, in addition to providing information that helps people to be productive with our products and technologies?
Growing the number of people using our products and technologies contributes to the success of a product and a company. I've been looking for ways to show a correlation between the technical information we provide and the success of a product/technology and to goals supporting the success of Sun. We've been looking at how to combine docs usage metrics with voice of the customer to get a better idea of showing how documentation contributes to product adoption.
Metrics alone doesn't tell you enough of what is going on. You can monitor docs usage trends and identify changes in trends that warrant further evaluation. Still, you need the feedback and voice of the customer to add meaning to the metrics. Conversely, voice of the customer alone isn't enough. We can have people that are very satisfied with our docs, but maybe we have only a small number of people using those docs.
How do we grow the number of people using our docs while maintaining the quality of the docs? How do we ensure we are delivering the right content in the right formats to the right locations where you can find and use that information?
When I was thinking about metrics this morning and asking myself how do we show the relationship between docs usage trends and product downloads, I realized I could ask people questions on how they use information and if information plays a part in their downloading Sun products. So here goes with a couple of questions. You can either send an email to david.lindt at sun.com or post a comment to this blog.
- Does technical information play a part in your decision to download a product?
- What technical information can we provide that motivates you to download our products and to use those products?
- What information types do you find useful? Podcasts, screencasts, webcasts, technical articles, tutorials, books, etc.
- As you start to use a product, what information types do you use?
- As a tech pubs org, where should we focus our efforts? More multimedia, more books, more shorter web docs, other?
Thanks in advance for your participation.