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by Michele Marques, Information Developer Specialist, ITSM

 

When I first started writing documentation, the only time I had a chance to talk to customers was at the occasional user conference. I published documentation in printed guides and online help.

 

As I wrote in Are you talking to customers?, documentation teams now have more opportunities to talk to customers:

  • Forums and online communities, such as BMC Communities
  • Documentation feedback, such as comments left in pages in our online documentation and responses to surveys.
  • Social media monitoring

 

However, only a small subset of customers talk to us about documentation.  This feedback is very helpful. But what about all the customers who look at documentation and don't speak with us?

 

Because we have documentation online, we are able to use Google Analytics to get information about how our documentation is being used. We can get data to answer questions, such as:

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Image courtesy of imagerymajetic at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

  • What are our most viewed documentation pages?
  • How much time are people spending on specific documentation pages?
  • Where do people exit our documentation?
  • Over time, how does viewing of our documentation change?

 

All of this data is subject to interpretation. You don't have feedback to know exactly what the customers were trying to do, and you have to make guesses. For example, why is there a high bounce rate on certain pages? Perhaps you have context-sensitive help pointing to those pages, and customers get exactly the information that they need from a single page. A high bounce rate might be good in this situation. Or perhaps people are finding the page from a Google search or a referral, but they don't see useful content or links that seem useful, and they give up on the documentation immediately. In this situation, you might need to improve the quality of your pages.

 

Are you using Google Analytics or other analytic tools on your web-based documentation? What data do you look at?

 

The postings in this blog are my own and don't necessarily represent BMC's opinion or position.