Measuring Online Usage of “Help” Documentation

How Can We Help?

Q: Has any statistical study been done to show the actual percentage of use of online documentation/help by users? We currently have an internal client who insists that less than 10% of the population actually use online help. However, I disagree with them but have no actual numbers to back me up.

Janine Bland

A: Dear Janine,

I haven’t seen an overall study, but there are a few places you could check out relevant data. There are a number of companies that provide online support to visitors of the sites of many companies, as an outsourced support function. They would certainly have statistics for a number of companies that are their clients.

You might also call the help desk for various software companies and ask to talk with a supervisor, who might be able to provide statistics for their own products or put you in touch with someone who can.

Finally, you might call companies that design large web sites, like Sapient or Razorfish, or consult about web sites (NetGain, Xceed) and see if they have this information.

Rather than look at statistics overall, you can always install web site measurement software for your own site (Web Trends, Key Lime) that will tell you exactly how many people access various pages like your help screen at your own organization. You might call friends you have in similar positions at other companies and ask what their own number of visits to their help pages has been.

Good luck,

Angela D. Sinickas