If you've been reading the Configuration Manager documentation online then you may have noticed that you now have the ability to rate the docs online and provide feedback straight from the Web page now. I think this is very cool for a few reasons.
Getting feedback from customers reading the docs online on a topic-by-topic basis allows us to see what you're reading and if we've presented the information in a way that was useful to you. By using the star ratings for each topic we can now see which topics you liked or didn't like so much (writers need feedback too!). Each topic can be rated from 1-5 stars according to how you felt about it when you read it. If a topic has been around for a while and hasn't received any stars at all, that could mean that no-one is reading it--or there's something about that topic that we need to change to improve it. Each writer has a few favorite topics that we watch for feedback, and it's always surprising to see topics we didn't think would be a hit getting tons of stars while the ones we thought everyone would go to quickly are slow to get stars, or don't get any at all!
Here is what the stars look like on the actual Web pages:
Not only can you give a star rating to each topic, you also have the ability to provide direct feedback to the writing team about specific topics without sending e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. This is handy for a couple of reasons. You don't need to set the context for where you found the documentation and you don't need to even have a mail client installed on your computer because the feedback is sent directly to us from the Web page (of course, we're still monitoring the SMS Doc Feedback alias on a daily basis and there are no plans to ever stop that as far as I know). Right now, we are unable to get the messages in real time (we're requesting dumps of comments right now), but hopefully soon we'll have it hooked up so that when you provide feedback it will go straight to the writer of the topic, or an alias to the entire doc team...cool.
Here is what the content feedback text area looks like:
When leaving a rating or comment it's important to be sure that you're rating the documentation and not the product itself. We're writers and not developers after all! For example, if there are a lot of complicated steps to achieve the goal of a procedure, it would be appropriate to rate the topic low if the documented steps were not clear or were missing information, but not if the documented steps worked, but you were frustrated that there were so many steps to follow. Constructive feedback is always appreciated so if you've rated a topic low, be sure to provide suggestions on how to improve the content so we have a better chance of improving it in the future.
Anyone who has ever written a book, especially a technical book, can tell you that it's definitely a challenge. Deciding what topics you're looking for, and the level of detail to go in to explain them, can sometimes be a challenge without your help. Getting your feedback on our topics (and product as a whole) and knowing how you feel about them allows us to tailor future documentation more aligned with your needs. If you feel a topic is missing, incomplete, or hard to find we want to know so we can improve the documentation set. If you really like a topic, that is important to us as well. Maybe there's something in that topic that we can emulate with new topics, or use the same technique to improve our existing topics that you may not rate as highly.
Help us help you by letting us know how you feel about our docs!!!
~ Jeff Gilbert