External tools for getting feedback on your documentation

A tweet from Pamela Fox tweaked my curiosity. She mentioned KISSinsights as a good tool for getting readers’ feedback on documentation. It looks pretty neat. I’m wondering what other, similar tools are available and whether technical writers have much experience with them.

A number of platforms offer inbuilt tools for getting readers’ feedback. Confluence offers comments and various feedback and rating plugins. Mindtouch and RoboHelp have their own feedback mechanisms, as do other platforms.

But I’m interested in external tools where you can craft a feedback form and then embed it into your documentation. KISSinsights is the tool mentioned by Pamela Fox. Once installed on your site, KISSinsights pops up a panel  from the bottom of your page, asking the reader some questions. If you pay for a  licence you can customise the questions, otherwise you get the questions that come with a standard KISSinsights installation. The KISSinsights FAQ page is pretty good.

Another example is Wufoo, recently acquired by SurveyMonkey. You can build a form on Wufoo and then grab the HTML to embed into your page. When readers fill in the form, the information is stored in the Wufoo database and you can extract the results from there.

Does anyone have good or bad experiences with these and other tools?

About Sarah Maddox

Technical writer, author and blogger in Sydney

Posted on 4 June 2011, in technical writing and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Wow, great minds, hey? That tweet from Pamela got exactly the same reaction from me – “can I embed something like this in my confluence site to get feedback from the users on my help documentation? (we are not allowing comments on the pages”). Ultimately, at $29 per month Kissmetrics was a little pricey, but I love Wufoo so I will investigate that a bit further.

    • Hallo Jodie
      Ha ha, what a coincidence! If you do decide to go with Wufoo when using Confluence, then you can use the Confluence {widget} macro to embed a Wufoo form onto a Confluence page. That saves you having to fiddle around with the HTML and CSS.🙂
      Cheers, Sarah

  2. On our MindTouch wiki, we just created our own feedback form and embedded it on the page. The form appears at the bottom of every page and we receive tons of feedback every month. It ranges from annoyed to grateful. We also make a point of replying to everyone who leaves contact info. Clients are pleased (and sometimes pleasantly surprised) to receive a response from a real person. It’s just another way we get to know our audience. In fact, if you want to learn more about this, I’m doing a webinar about it on June 22: http://stc.org/education/online-education/live-seminars/item/socializing-documentation-giving-your-work-a-face-2?category_id=53

    • Hallo Adam

      That looks like a really interesting seminar. Alas, it will be 3am here in Sydney when you kick off the seminar. I think I’ll give it a miss.🙂 Is there any chance that you will record the session and make it available online?

      I’ve had a look at the ExactTarget documentation wiki, for example this page. It’s very very nice. I love the style of the feedback box, and the fact that it mentions your name too. Very friendly.

      Cheers
      Sarah

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: