At dotdigital, we’ve always tried to provide exactly that in our help center. But for 2020, we thought we’d go even further.
We want the Help center to be a place you actually like being in! A whole new hub of information you like to go to, where you learn how to do things you didn’t think were possible. In hindsight, it probably would have been easier just to redecorate like the new artwork you sometimes see in waiting rooms. But all style and no substance is not what we’re all about. Instead, we worked hard to give both a visual and functional upgrade to your help center. Because it is yours, ultimately. So forget the dentist. We’d like to introduce you to Help center 2.0, and tell you a bit about how and why we revamped and rebuilt our new center for learning.
Why the change?
Two words: content matters. For a small team of technical writers, our Help center is massive. It’s the result of an ever-growing creation, continually being updated and bent into shape to fit the latest needs of the company. It spans across numerous different categories, multiple platforms, and various style guides. But, after serving our customers for many years, it was starting to feel a little overgrown. It was time to launch our Help center into 2020.
Our focus was not only on modernizing the appearance and user experience, but also on the content we create and how you use it. We wanted to go beyond long articles of text and feature descriptions to give you use-case based content that arms you with the information you need to do your job right. We know that the content we write directly affects your experience with dotdigital Engagement Cloud – and we want that to be the best.
Highlights of phase one
Our Help center revamp is an ongoing process – it’s no small feat. But with Phase one well and truly behind us, it’s time to fill you in on what’s changed.
To make our content easier to read, we added a fixed content width to our article pages. Eye-tracking studies show that with a narrower, fixed content width, understanding, reading, and learning speed improve dramatically.
To show you this in action, see the screenshots below showing an article on the new narrower, fixed-width layout and the old wider layout.
Better content and site navigation
One major area that needed improvement was our navigation – both on the articles and across the Help center as a whole. We noticed you were struggling to find your way around, so we tried to fix it.
Creating and updating navigation within an article used to be a manual and time-consuming process for us. To fix this, we developed a way to create a table of contents for every page automatically; we then updated and refactored all our articles to fit it. You can find the new table of contents floating in the right-hand column on every article page. We’re sure you’ll agree, it makes browsing between sections a breeze.
Help center navigation
It’s important to us that the information we offer in the Help center feels familiar and is easy to get around. Our categories now have a direct relation to the navigation of dotdigital Engagement Cloud. And on top of that, we’ve added a category menu to every article page. You can now effortlessly move to different areas of the Help center without having to go back to the home page.
Shortened article length
To make our content more consumable, we decided to keep things short and straightforward. From now on, we’re going to be breaking down those long, hard-to-find-what-you’re-looking-for articles into smaller logical steps followed by See also and Next steps reference sections at the bottom of every page. Our article pages should flow naturally from one step to the next, and you’ll never be hit with a wall of text again. Phew!
To sum up
Phase one of our revamp gives you cleaner article pages, a design focused on readability, improved navigation, and content written with you in mind, plus way too many smaller changes to mention.
Soon, we’re going to be revitalizing our main category pages, showcasing a brand new Help center home page, and also investigating ways for you to give direct, detailed feedback about individual articles.
We hope you’re enjoying using our new Help center, but we’d love to hear what you think. If you have any ideas for further improvements, or if something isn’t working for you, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.