Involving and connecting users is a trend that software manufacturers should not ignore while designing online Help. Although many Help systems are no longer stored in an isolated manner on the hard disk, but are currently available on the Internet, only a few authoring tools provide true Web 2.0 support. However, integrating a comment or evaluation feature is not rocket science and can be achieved easily even without experience in the web server environment and without knowledge of PHP.
Not everything that is technically possible makes sense conceptually. Therefore, the question of whether and where a comment feature is useful at all and where it may even prove detrimental, is raised at the very beginning. A full treatment of this question would fill an entire post, so only a brief summary of the advantages and disadvantages of a comment feature is given at this point.
- Users feel involved in the development of the product. This encourages customer loyalty.
- Manufacturers get real-world feedback about weak points in the product and documentation.
- The technical editor gains insight into actual usage scenarios.
- The contributed information may be incorrect, incomplete or “politically undesirable”.
- The contributed information may be difficult to understand.
- If an evaluation feature is incorporated and the evaluations are negative, then ...
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