Identify the (Un)Known Unknowns: Adobe RoboHelp Server


A lot of us spend a lot of time looking for “known knowns”. Things we know and expect to see in the statistics on how our content is consumed, we look to see if they are there. This may also have something to do with the “I told you so” approach.

Some of our time is spent reacting to the “known unknowns”. Looking for things we know might be happening but don’t know when they happen or don’t know much about the patterns/reasons.

A very little to none of it is spent looking for the “unknown unknowns” – mostly because it is a hard problem to solve. But one that is important for the content optimization solutions to solve.

I like to base my Content Optimization Strategy on the following four pillars (CMEI Model):

  1. Create and publish Content: There are multiple authoring tools available. You need to assess you requirements and see what works best for you. If you need tool recommendations, let me know.
  2. Measure: Measure how the content is being consumed – the usage of content, search patterns, geographical distribution, and effectiveness of content over a period of time.
  3. Execute/Improve: Leverage these measurements to make informed decisions about how to improve content and interact with end users.
  4. Innovate: Find and apply new insights to optimize your content based on a complete view of all interactions with your end users. Many a times a small innovation or deviation from standard approach is all you need.

Actions taken based on analytics data (measurements) dramatically increase when we shift from our obsession with the known knowns to the (un)known unknowns, and take advantage of the available solutions to get insights into unknowns. One of the Adobe RoboHelp Server customers recently shared this with me, “Until I started looking at the RoboHelp Server ‘Feedback Reports’, I did not know that 20% of the users of my help content were from UK, and that this share has consistently gone down over the last one year because they didn’t find the content that matches their search terms. Reason: US vs. UK English – for example, ‘color’ vs. ‘colour’. Once I knew the problem, I knew what I had to do to fix it.” Simple problem to fix, once you know what the problem was. Solution in this case was simple – use the RoboHelp Synonym Editor to create a synonym, such that search for either ‘color’ or ‘colour’ fetches you the desired search results.

Do you measure how the end-users are consuming your content or identify who they are to begin with? If yes, I would love to hear about the insights you gained, and how you improved the content based on those insights. Please leave a comment and share your thoughts/learnings with others.

Ankur Jain
Product Manager – RoboHelp
Follow me on Twitter: @ankurjain8

RoboHelp, TechComm
Ankur Jain

Posted on 11-29-2010


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  • By Samartha Vashishtha - 11:44 PM on December 29, 2010   Reply

    Very nice post, Ankur!

    @Wim: RoboHelp Server is an excellent tool to gather relevant measurements/statistics about Help content. You can read more about RHS at

    • By Ankur Jain - 3:01 PM on December 30, 2010   Reply

      Thanks Wim and Samartha for your comments. I’m glad you found the post useful.

      Wim, I concur with Samartha and believe RoboHelp Server is an excellent tool for content optimization. If you need the list of RoboHelp Server feedback reports you can get access to for your content, do let me know.

  • By Wim Hooghwinkel - iDTP - 9:17 AM on December 1, 2010   Reply

    Hello Ankur,
    interesting point of view and as a matter of fact this is one of the subjects that we talk about in our Software Documentation and User Assistance workgroup (The Netherlands).
    What tools do you use or suggest for measurement?