Reading Usable Help
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Gordon R. Meyer
Gerry McGovern writes about the value of measuring, systematicaly, the value of your content. Writing from the perspective of measuring the cost and value of intranet content he says:
"Now that the content people write is being carefully measured, [authors] work harder on it. There's less waffle and more meat. Less length and more meaning."
While many companies survey users of web-based technical support content, few companies actively solicit direct, measurable feedback for onscreen Help. Doing so would provide valuable reader feedback. But it might also provide insight into what sections of Help are being used so that, with sufficient data, companies could also focus their efforts on what users are really interested in knowing. This could result in the author's "favorite" sections being cut, but the net result for the user is better documentation.
See also Smarter Help.