The idea for this post was prompted by Daniel Beck’s blog post What do you say to “no one reads the docs?”. In it, he proposed opening an inquiry and responding with “Have you been interviewing users? What else have they been telling you?”.

I thought of two alternative answers:

  • Everyone scans the docs.
  • That’s not necessarily a bad thing.

Everyone scans the docs

It’s true, no one reads the docs (except for technical writers) — because they’re not meant to be read like a bedtime story or an article to pass time. Users scan the docs, looking for the piece of information they need to complete a task. In this case, having users actually read the docs would in fact be a sign that the docs are not well structured, and users have a hard time finding the information they need.

It’s not necessarily a bad thing

In this case, I interpret “no one reads the docs” as docs pages that get low traffic (few page views). This could indicate that the product is so simple or intuitive that users don’t need support to navigate it. Congratulations!