Nothing exactly as you describe it, but here are several options I can think of right off.
- Use RoboHelp Server 8 feedback reports to learn which topics are being most visited, which search terms are being used, etc. This is extremely helpful for constant improvement of your content based on user traffic analysis. But it is a "silent" and passive information collection process. So, it does not provide a direct way for the user to send a message.
- Create a standard HTML Feedback Form using the Form and Form fields in RoboHelp. Then you would have to work with your Web Administrator to install a (often free) form handler for either sending the results in the form of an email, or to a database or both.
- Use the AIR Help Single Source Layout to deploy your help as an AIR application. This has a built-in mechanism for the end user to make annotations and comments regarding a topic. The author can control how this is deployed in terms of who can see these comments.
- Email link. Not very sophisticated, but add an email link to a designated person in the footer of your topics. (We welcome your feedback. Email, etc.)
None of these options has a rating system at this time. Perhaps this feature could be added in RoboHelp "Next".
Those are some good suggestions, John. Thanks. I'm surprised that there's not more demand for such a feature. I've also been surprised to see relatively few third-party solutions. Maybe I simply do not know where to look.
Could be that you just aren't looking in the right place or it could be that some users feel these types of systems aren't all they are cracked up to be.
For example, consider the "Star ratings" types of systems. When I consider help systems, I also consider that for some users an obscure help topic might rate as many stars as you can give it because it totally solves an issue that happens maybe once in a blue moon. But while such a topic might be invaluable to the person that needs it, it may be listed poorly in the "popularity polls". Sure, you can gather all the info you want on the most popular topics that folks access. I can see where that might assist in identifying weak areas with the product and aid in the development by improving the area. But I fail to see how such systems can help improve your help. So what if user A awards 5 stars for a dandy topic. It really has no meaning if the topic doesn't address user B's problem, now does it? I mean, actually it might mislead user B by thinking wow, this topic has 5 stars. It must be a good one!
I see commenting as being both good and bad. I've worked in call centers where comments can be as destructive as they can be productive. So user A adds a comment that this fix totally solves an issue! Sounds good doesn't it? That is, until user B attempts the listed fix and finds it doesn't really work as advertised. Or maybe user A unintentionally omitted a critical step and now user B has either totally hosed his/her own system as a result or even worse, has caused a customer to totally hose their system.
Now consider systems that track whether a given topic really did its job. Some of these systems will list topics that the user stopped at after searching. So logically, that must have been the winning topic that solved the issue, right? What if the issue was never really resolved and that's just where the user finally stopped looking and gave up?
I think folks that have decided to go the route of unrestricted commenting are probably more into Wikis, not help systems. So if that's what you are after, a Wiki may be a better fit. That way everyone has a hand in creating the documentation. And the users can sort for themselves whether it's correct or not after trial and error.
Just my own mutterings... Rick
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No, I'm really thinking more about a system that captures user feedback or ratings of individual topics so that we on the back end can see those ratings. Many companies today are emphasizing the measurability of training--being able to assess how helpful the training is rather than simply throwing it out there and assuming it's good enough for the end user. In today's performance-driven environment, the old model of the static, one-way help system is archaic.RoboHelp needs to make such functionality easy to implement.
I see what you mean, but Training and Help Systems are two different animals.
Help systems are installed in an effort to assist a user with a task at hand. Ideally, the information is concise and only addresses one specific issue. Whereas training provides more detail. Not only how whatever the process being described works, but the why.
Sounds like you are trying to combine the two?
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