The Significance of Significance

Tech professionals consume many forms of technical content to help them understand a product — pre- and post-sale. Have you ever wondered what content technical audiences most value in their process?

To find out, Developer Media posed the following question to CodeProject developer community members:

“What’s important when reading about a company’s (dev related) product or service?”

Which Bits Are Important?

Answer OptionsVotes%*% Error
(95% confidence)
A page explaining exactly what the product does and *why* one would use it17368.655.73
Full online documentation17368.655.73
Quick “Getting Started” section18272.225.53
Advanced tutorials12248.416.17
Example implementations with source code18573.415.45
Search or index page to help find stuff8634.135.85
Discussion forums or question/answer area9738.496.01
Live chat with a real human207.943.34
A way to contact a salesperson or support engineer directly3915.484.47
A company blog to show what aspects of the product they are focused on right now2911.513.94
Total responses25224.02
*Respondents were allowed to choose more than one answer; totals may not add up to 100%

Two interesting text answers were very product-centric –– the product’s roadmap and a version comparison chart.  Additionally, twelve people cared enough to offer their comments. The themes we extracted from the survey responses and the comments were as follows:

What Does This Mean For Your Technical Content Strategy?

Offer content with context

Remember that you have to answer the questions “what, why, and how?” for every piece of technical content you offer. This means a product landing page, documentation, tutorials, and how-to’s. This helps with discoverability (someone is searching for a solution and finds your content) and the usefulness of the content itself.

Reach the new user and the advanced user

Quick “Getting Started” guides are the most popular (78%), but you can’t afford to ignore the 48% who would like advanced tutorials. Valuable technical content supports a developer through their entire journey with your product.

Code counts, so does community

73% of respondents think it’s important to have implementation examples that include code. Compare that to the 7% who want to talk to a live human and 15% who want to be able to contact a support engineer. Over 38% find the option to use a discussion forum important to their process.

That’s a Wrap

Of course, product pages and public documentation are important. But slightly more valuable is content that helps a novice get started. Then, content should support them through even advanced use cases. However, as one respondent observed, there are as many preferred tech content learning tools as there are technical professionals. But, in this community, the trends seem to be: discoverability = valuable content, as well as a focus on support from novice to expert for code and community

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