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Compaq

In a series of consulting projects, Comtech conducted customer site visits, contextual inquiries, heuristic evaluations of information libraries, competitive benchmarking, and usability assessments to evaluate the effectiveness of Compaq’s server systems.

In the first study, we conducted site visits with system administrators responsible for installing and maintaining network servers at their companies. We also interviewed Compaq trainers and others involved in supporting these system administrators. The study was conducted worldwide and revealed significant differences in information use among non-North American users.

As a supplement to the contextual inquiry, Comtech facilitated a benchmarking study of other server manufacturers, reviewing their documentation libraries and conducting surveys and telephone interviews of their practices and plans.

In the second study, we conducted site visits and contextual inquiries of the users of maintenance manuals for server systems. Interviews were conducted with hardware and software installation and maintenance personnel; the interviewees included managers and maintenance staff from resellers, internal service staff for large customers, and field staff from third-party service organizations, as well as members of Compaq's maintenance organizations. The focus of the interviews was to investigate the relationship between calls to Compaq's customer-support hotlines and the usefulness of installation and service documentation.

In the third study, Comtech designed, implemented, and facilitated a customer-partnering study, once again involving system server administrators. The customer partners met as a team over the course of several months to review documentation, both paper and online, suggest strategies, answer questions from Compaq technical communicators, review new ideas, and work closely with Compaq to design a new set of server documentation.

Finally, in a related project, Comtech performed a heuristic evaluation and usability assessment on the prototype CD ROM for Compaq’s Server Systems Information Library. During the usability testing phase, Comtech tested and interviewed network administrators to determine whether the CD ROM was easily accessible, usable, and relevant. In our final report, we made recommendations for improving screen design, navigation tools, menus, organization, and content.

For more information, visit our Customer Studies page.

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