This week I came across an interesting blog post on I’d Rather be Writing by Tom Jones. The article titled How to motivate users to provide feedback: Show that you’re listening to their input, focuses on how to increase the amount of feedback you receive from your readers. Feedback can be an important tool in assisting writers to improve their websites documentation. Tom discusses his work process of adding and revising a feedback form for his job. The blog discusses three aspects of how readers feedback was increased:
- The structure of the original form
- Improved feedback form design
- His Assessment of the revision
Tom starts out talking about the feedback form he added to an Appstore doc he was working on for his job at Amazon. He demonstrates good technical writing basics be incorporating a visual of his original form. This allowed readers to gain an idea of the original design of the form. He discusses how he was not receiving a lot of feedback responses, even though his metrics had shown they receive at least a thousand visitors per day. The message was obvious to Tom, that the readers were not comfortable leaving feedback, needed to find a way to increase their responses
Improved Feedback Form Design
He discusses his desire to improving the form in hopes of improving the amount of reader feedback he was receiving. Carefully reviewing the original form and doing some research on improving feedback, he realized that the visitors low responses could be correlated to their feeling that their opinions would not be heard. This is an issue that I feel we all can relate to. I know when I visit a site that has a feedback page, I usually ask myself, “Do they really read and act on my input”? Or is that page just part of someone’s design idea? Tom realized that his original page design did not have a box for readers to put an email address for a response, so with his legal departments permission an email contact text box was added. This aspect opens the door for him to correspond with his visitor’s to express opinions of the site and opens the door to suggestions. In my opinion it reassures them that their voice would be heard.
Assessment of Revision
Feedback can be a vital tool to keeping innovation sustainable for readers and users. Upon adding the contact email feature to his feedback form, he saw an increase in response in just two weeks. It allowed him to receive important input from users about the Appstore doc, that in turn is creating a trust between him and his readers. Users of the site can have the confidence that their opinions and input will be heard and responded to.
I found this article to be a very informative and interesting read for me, especially since I am pursuing a career in Web Design. Feedback is a very helpful and vital design tool, it can help any technical communicator to sustain their innovative document or webpage. Having the ability to receive input as to how well your document is received, the needs of your viewers, and aspects they would like added, can help immensely in keeping sites and documents current. Isn’t the important aspect is providing the user or reader with a well designed engaging document? I would highly recommend this article for anyone that wants to increase the amount of feedback from their readers.