It is essential for a technical communicator to understand how their message was treated by their target audience. Excellent functional communication addresses topics for its target audience clearly and comprehensively. This paper explains the kind of methods used to test the success of technical communication.
Web analytics enables a communicator to test the user experience. Examples may include Google Analytics and Adobe Analytics, among others. This web analytics aid in the collection of primary and essential information concerning the target audience. The Web metrics provide information on; the duration spent on a particular page, the number of views a page received per visit, and the number of page visits, among other necessary details (Lam, 2016). According to the type of information collected using web analytics, one can make specific conclusions on the kind of modifications to apply for effective communication.
Interviews and Surveys
Another method used in identifying whether a message in technical communication reached the intended audience in the proposed ways, includes the use of surveys and interviews. Reviews and interviews may involve asking the users directly on the type of experience they had concerning a piece of work. This may be successful through the built-in feedback mechanisms on each support topic page of the communication. Thumb-ups and thumb-down are the most effective in this case, followed by pop-ups (Jones, Moore & Walton, 2016).
Usability tests are the methods best applied as a tactic to get users with negative experiences to respond. Usability tests are more effective if conducted by a small number of up to five participants representing different groups such as; developers, new users, novice users, and expert users. An analysis of support tickets and user forums may, however, not be reliable as most users do not describe their experience with the documentation but very useful when users decide to cooperate. These methods all together enable measuring of the effectiveness of technical documentation and its particular topics and sections.
Conclusively, ways used to measure the success of technical communication in terms of whether the message reached the intended audience in intended ways include; use of surveys, web analytics, and usability tests. Web analytics give necessary information such as time spent on websites while surveys interrogate the users directly.
Lam, C. (2016). Improving technical communication group projects: An experimental study of media synchronicity theory training on communication outcomes. Journal of Business and Technical Communication, 30(1), 85-112. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/1050651915602293
Jones, N. N., Moore, K. R., & Walton, R. (2016). Disrupting the past to disrupt the future: An ante-narrative of technical communication. Technical Communication Quarterly, 25(4), 211-229. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/10572252.2016.1224655
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