Shawn and I are working on an article for MSDN Magazine about how to design and take advantage of custom locales. We’re trying to supplement the information already available in MSDN and on our blogs with some best practices that ought to help developers who want to take advantage of custom locale technology.
But working on the article has started me wondering: Where do our customers typically find that they get the most useful information about how to use the technologies that we’re releasing? There are a whole bunch of options: MSDN help documentation, MSDN Magazine articles, KB articles, newsgroups or other public forums, blogs… the list goes on. But in order for us to ensure that we make our documentation available in the most useful possible way, it is important for us to know how customers search for and find the documentation that we produce. Do some of these distribution channels work better than others? Would something else work better?
The way I see it, the primary distinction is between non-interactive formats (e.g. MSDN help documentation) and interactive formats (e.g. blogs, newsgroups). So it makes sense to use forums to present the kind of information that those forums best support. But I’m interested to hear what you think about how well we do with this today. In particular, have you looked for information and been unable to find it? What kinds of information do you expect to find in the various locations that you look? Which forums are the ones you keep coming back to, because they’re the most useful, extensive, immediate, and/or fun? Does someone else do it better than Microsoft does?
I think we could do a better job of communicating about our technologies to customers, and I’m trying to take advantage of the interactive format of this forum in asking the question. 🙂