So You Think You Know What Your Readers Want?


Do you know what your readers really want from the documentation you send them? Because it’s not always easy to get direct feedback, we often end up relying on our “gut instincts” and assume that readers define high-quality documentation in the same way that writers do. But is this a safe assumption?

This talk presents data from a comprehensive, empirically based study that measured and compared how writers and readers define documentation quality, as well as how writers assume readers define it. The results might surprise you – and they will definitely help you bridge the gaps and keep your readers happy. And, after all, who doesn’t want happy readers?

In this interactive talk, we will do the following:

  • Discuss the need to get reliable feedback from our readers to ensure we’re writing what they want to read
  • Learn about a narrow yet comprehensive set of well-known and empirically tested information quality (IQ) dimensions (based on previous research by Wang & Strong, 1996) that cover all categories of IQ – Intrinsic, Representational, Contextual, and Accessibility – and are easy to use for defining DQ and for collecting meaningful and actionable feedback
  • Get some clear, research-based takeaways that we can use to improve our documentation and make our readers happy