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Evaluating the user experience of documentation -- Podcast with Bob Watson

by Tom Johnson on Jun 18, 2018
categories: user-experiencepodcastsstitcher

This week I chatted with Bob Watson, an assistant professor of tech comm at Mercer University, about how to evaluate the user experience of documentation. The idea of doing a podcast came up during a comment thread on a previous post about reconstructing the absent user. We had a long exchange in the comment threads and thought it would be good to have a podcast about the topic.

You can listen to the podcast here:

Here are a few questions we cover during the podcast:

  • Should tech writers do user testing and research, or is this product team’s job in designing the product?
  • Can’t we just leverage marketing personas for the user research we need?
  • How can looking at the market and product angles help clarify user needs and behaviors?
  • What kind of knowledge can we leverage from universal design patterns about how users consume docs?
  • How do we avoid hasty generalizations from a user sample that’s too small?
  • Is it feasible for tech writers to actually do user testing on top of all of their other duties?
  • How can you make feedback forms on docs more likely to get responses from users?
  • If you collect feedback at major milestones that users complete, how do you avoid just collecting responses from successful users?
  • How does Twilio successfully collect info from their users?
  • How can you successfully gather metrics that show user success or failure on tasks?
  • How can you make your feedback surveys specific to the data so that you get better responses?

For more information about Bob Watson, see his site, Docs by Design.

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