Survey Results: How Do We Improve User Help?
A few months ago I put up a (very) short survey asking readers what we can do to improve application help. Here are the results:
How would you describe your profession?
Total Votes: 12
How would you rate the help system that is provided for the product you work on?
|Gets the job done||
|What help system?||
Total Votes: 13
Do you think that help systems, generally speaking, do a good job?
Total Votes: 14
Which feature would most improve help systems?
|Context-sensitive, so when the user requests help they see content relevant to what they are currently working on||
|Easy to create and update||
|Embedded, so users don’t have to stop what they’re doing to find the information they need||
|None of the above, help is just fine the way it is||
Total Votes: 25
Anything you want to add?
|No to wikis, No to pinterest. Stop trying to reinvent and concentrate on content.|
|Integrate company-produced help content with content from real users|
|Often times, searchable help is not very refined. It would great if searching for the help topic you want actually produced useful returns on the search.|
|I like it when a help guide has simple, step by step explanations that I can follow and feel comfortable referring my students to.|
|A great product doesn’t require documentation!|
|I see very little context-sensitive help nowadays. Help authoring tools are the worst at providing good help, which is quite ironic.|
Big thanks to everyone who participated in the survey! I was surprised by some of the answers – especially the even split on the question of whether help systems are doing a good job.