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GeoNet confusion? Suggest usability testing to gauge the extent

Question asked by stevel on Jan 18, 2015
Latest reply on Jan 11, 2016 by graeme

I've been thinking about this a lot. I'm an experienced GIS- and web-developer, plus I have a bunch of other interests like photography, videography, and other technical pursuits. I spend almost my entire working day (and weekends too, who am I kidding) on the internet, using various user forums and discussion boards. In short, I'm no novice when it comes to researching, asking and answering questions on technical forums.

 

GeoNet is the only technical site which still confuses me. I honestly don't think it's because I'm stupid or haven't given it enough time.

 

Each time I've mentioned something on GeoNet help, I've been given instructions from (well-meaning, helpful) people insinuating that I'm doing it wrong and that GeoNet is not the problem. My gut feeling is that GeoNet's current form is at least part of the problem.

 

I've heard "but GeoNet is so much more than just a technical forum!" - to which my response is that GeoNet should at least be a technical forum before the other stuff is enabled.

 

So, if you've read this far...... my suggestion is for the GeoNet team to conduct some usability testing, either in person or via Webex - I'll volunteer. You should watch users interact with GeoNet, but (crucially) don't offer any help. Set them tasks like:

 

- you receive error message XXXX. How would you research it on GeoNet?

- you want to ask a question about ArcMap 10.2. How would you post the question? (Would it go in a Group? A Place? What's the difference?)

- what does it mean to tag the question? How does that differ from Categories and/or Places?

- you receive an email from GeoNet with a response to your question. How would you follow it up?

- your homepage is filled with information which isn't relevant to you. How do you switch that stuff off?

 

etc. I think you'll be surprised at how clueless many of the users will be as to where things are/go. This may give some useful ideas for improvements which could be made, to accommodate users like myself who just want a great technical resource, and others who appreciate some of the more social-media elements of the site.

 

In closing this semi-rant, I definitely appreciate all the help I've been offered by GeoNet users and Esri staff. I wouldn't bother writing this tirade if I didn't feel strongly about Esri software and its community, and want to help make a constructive suggestion to improve it.

 

(This was originally posted as a response to another question but I'm elevating it to its own post to see whether it resonates)

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