Jan 192012

During the Engagement team work week last week, the four on-staff Mozilla developer documentation writers (myself, Janet Swisher, Jean-Yves Perrier, and Will Bamberg) had a sit-down to talk. This was a big deal since it was Jean-Yves’s first time meeting with us in person since joining Mozilla on December 1, and Will’s first time meeting with us since he’s been largely off doing fairly separate stuff documenting the Jetpack SDK.

We had a long discussion about a wide variety of things, and I figured I’d blog about it, to share those ideas and thoughts with the wider Mozilla community — and to flesh out the ideas from the outline format I took the notes in.

Today, I’m going to share our thoughts about finding and reaching our users.

Who are you and what do you want?

First, you get bonus geek points if you catch the reference I just made.

In order to improve our documentation, we need to know more about who our users are and what they want. There are a few key metrics we need to gather:

  • How many users do we really have?
  • Is that number growing, and how fast?
  • Where are they and are we serving them content they can read?
  • What do they look for and do they find it?
  • What’s the most popular content? The least popular?
  • Is the content any good?

We talked a good bit about the idea of publishing a survey that we can run periodically to get some feedback from our users. We’ll be talking to the metrics team and other teams that have run surveys to get ideas for how to go about this. Jean-Yves is going to be heading this up for us for the time being.

Statistics and metrics: A numbers game

We’d like to start publishing metrics and usage data for our community to read. This is information that can be of enormous use to writers to figure out what content is most important, what content is most in need of work, and what content should be prioritized for localization.

I’ll be talking to our metrics team about creating a dashboard with information about the most viewed content, search statistics, and the like. I’m sure they’ll have great ideas about the types of statistics we can get the most usage out of, and how to go about presenting it.

That information ought to be public, and I’ll be working to make that so.

 Posted by at 9:00 AM

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