The crabby office lady wrote another great article this month showing how the ratings customers give to articles on office.microsoft.com result in change. As a Microsoft employee and a fan of content in general, I am extremely excited by the innovations that the Office team has driven across the company related to feedback loops with our customers. Even more fun stuff will be coming this summer.
I have seen the back-end system that looks at the content rating data that comes in, and it is fantastic. You can quickly get a list of what are the articles that customers are least happy with, to help prioritize what writers should work on. You can also dive deep into a single article and see a graph of its satisfaction rating over time. Ideally, after you revise an article and post the revision, you would see an upward spike in that graph to indicate you did the right thing. If not, then you know the change wasn’t good enough.
Another great feature in Office 2003 is how the help system can download updated content from the web site, and you can submit feedback on the help from within the application UI as well. A few weeks ago, I was looking how to create a link from outside of a word doc that would open a section within the doc. I dug around in the Help in word and couldn’t figure it out. I was clued me in on how to do it by Chris, and since the help system didn’t have the answer, I opened the relevant help topic and clicked on “No” under “Was this information helpful?“ and filled out a little textbox with what I was expecting to get out of that help topic.
So if you ever thought that your feedback just went into a black hole, here’s a great example of how that’s not the case. If you have strong feelings (either positive or negative) about any content on officeonline, send in a rating and maybe a comment.
 I typed “crappy” first. Oops. Not a freudian, I swear.