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I'm interested in doing some user research to see how documentation/help is being used in our enterprise web app, and I'm not sure what the most effective method would be.

I'm not looking to find out "can the user find X in the system's help" - that could be accomplished via some relatively straightforward usability studies. I'd like to find out what questions the users have, and if we're answering them or not. This will tell us what parts of the help are most valuable, and if they are actually helping the users.

So what kind of user research would be most effective here?

Bonus constraint: assume that I'm not able to make code changes to get some kind of "was this page helpful?" quantitative data.

  • Do you have a help desk? – paparazzo Sep 8 '14 at 19:29
  • @Blam yes, we do have a help desk – Mark D Sep 9 '14 at 14:06
  • Calls to the help desk is questions users have. – paparazzo Sep 9 '14 at 14:26
  • Is it possible to track those searches on your app through some log? If so, are those users logged on while doing those searches for the IT people being able to relate queries x users? – Carbon Oct 10 '14 at 16:54
  • @Patrick That's a good suggestion. In this particular case though, the architecture is such that it's hard to gather usage logs across all customers of this application. But that would certainly be beneficial information to have. – Mark D Oct 13 '14 at 17:20
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Is it possible for you to track the answers that are most frequently being viewed? That would help in informing what sorts of questions users are searching the answer for most frequently. Additionally, it would help inform what part of the product needs to be improved in order to increase usability.

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