SUSE documentation survey 2021 – some results

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You might have noticed: I never tire to emphasize that documentation is an essential part of any product. This is especially true for enterprise software which covers many use cases. Most software solutions only become usable thanks to detailed documentation. We’ve got direct feedback from you, our customers and partners, how much you rely on documentation to get your tasks done. Being responsible for a functioning IT environment and smooth processes, missing or poor documentation can impact your daily work and even the success of your business.

Past surveys

To understand what information is vital to the usage of SUSE products and solutions, how the requirements evolve, and what we could do better in future, we heavily and continuously depend on feedback from our customers, partners, and also from our SUSE colleagues. Thus, during the past two years, we have conducted overarching and extensive documentation surveys. And we’ve got a great amount of responses and highly valuable feedback about what we do right, but more importantly, where we can improve and what is missing in our documentation.

Taking action

All feedback makes an impact. And our technical writers already started to act upon the past survey results. To help them proceed in a timely manner with these efforts, for the documentation survey 2021, we limited the questions to three products respective product groups: SUSE Linux Enterprise family, SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for SAP Applications, and SUMA products. And we decided to make the questionnaire shorter and more concise, to get some more concrete feedback.

For the first time, we asked the question “If you could change one thing to make SUSE documentation easier to use, what would that be?” Have a look yourself – we tried to visualize the result via a so-called WordCloud:

(smile)

This proves also that our technical writers are definitely already focussing on the right improvements: They are looking into simplifying the structure of the guides, reducing the use of references and links, keeping relevant guides and chapters always up-to-date, and making SUSE documents easier to find via search engines. They are also working on closing the gap regarding types of documentation that has been identified as being missed, such as best practices, how-to’s, troubleshooting or better “common pitfalls” information, and integration with other SUSE and with third party products,

Going on

What motivates us to further improve the documentation according to the feedback and the requirements we received via the survey is that the Net Promoter Score (NPS) for SUSE documentation, which measures the satisfaction and loyalty, did grow by solid ten points since last year.

A huge THANK YOU to everyone who participated in our survey. Be assured that we will continue to gather feedback from you (as you regularly work with our guides, manuals and technical documents), to continuously enhance the SUSE documentation for the benefit of our entire ecosystem.

Disclaimer: The text at hand has not been reviewed by a native speaker. If you find typos or language mistakes, please send them to me (meike.chabowski@suse.com) – or if you like them, just keep them and feed them. 😁

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Meike Chabowski
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Meike Chabowski

Meike Chabowski works as Documentation Strategist at SUSE. Before joining the SUSE Documentation team, she was Product Marketing Manager for Enterprise Linux Servers at SUSE, with a focus on Linux for Mainframes, Linux in Retail, and High Performance Computing. Prior to joining SUSE more than 20 years ago, Meike held marketing positions with several IT companies like defacto and Siemens, and was working as Assistant Professor for Mass Media. Meike holds a Master of Arts in Science of Mass Media and Theatre, as well as a Master of Arts in Education from University of Erlangen-Nuremberg/ Germany, and in Italian Literature and Language from University of Parma/Italy.