The importance of quality documentation cannot be overstated; equally important is a knowledge base that's intuitive to use.
A few months ago, we took a step back to evaluate how to make the experience of consuming Higher Logic's documentation as streamlined as possible. With this goal in mind, we committed to redesigning our Support Center; throughout this project, we revamped almost every aspect of the site, from the Home page and overall structure to its features and article layout.
The purpose of this article is to highlight some of the most important features of our new knowledge base.
NOTE: Our new Support Center is built with a different back end software. While we were able to keep the same base URL (support.higherlogic.com), articles will have different URLs than before. Because of this, you'll need to update any bookmarks to favorite articles.
Let's start with the Home page's layout and features.
Create a Case
For convenience, the ability to create a case is available directly from the Support Center. To do so, however, you'll need to create an account and be signed in. Once you are, click the Create a Case button at the top right or at the bottom of the page.
These two buttons are available on every page, ensuring you can submit a ticket from anywhere.
Below the search field are three links:
- Community links to the Higher Logic User Group, or HUG, a vibrant community resource you and your peers can use to share their insights and experiences.
- Training links to the Higher Logic Academy, which provides access to monthly webinars, regional in-person events, and our E-Learning portal.
- What's New provides access to product-specific articles about upcoming features in Online Community and our Marketing Automation products.
Knowledge base structure
We've reorganized our knowledge base into a more refined, product-based approach to make manually navigating to articles faster and more logical. Much of the complexity and hierarchical depth has been removed, requiring significantly less navigational "drilling" than before. The foundation of our content is based on nine primary categories (shown below), which provide a more intuitive launch pad to access additional sections and relevant articles.
We've also taken this opportunity to surface many of the more important and popular topics, like our Marketing Automation offerings, Workspace, and reports.
After accessing a category, its associated sections are presented as expandable dropdowns. In the example below, we've expanded the Tools & Features section, which includes two addition sub-sections and several articles. This approach makes it easy to quickly parse areas of interest and their associated articles.
Home page widgets
Below the categories are two widgets we think you'll find useful:
- Promoted Articles - This widget populates with the articles we think deserve special attention. Keep an eye on this list from time to time, as we'll be updating it with new, important articles.
- Recently Viewed - Like a built-in favorites list, this dynamic widget tracks the last handful of articles you've viewed, making it easy to jump back to them at any time.
You can search for articles from every Support Center page.
Use the search field to pinpoint your article search to a topic of interest, such as discussions or templates. When you type your search word or phrase and press Enter, you're taken to the Search results page with a list of matching articles and a page navigation below the list.
Performing a search from the Home page searches the entire knowledge base; however, if you navigate to a Category first and then perform a search, results will be filtered to just that Category.
For example, if I search "message" from the Home page, I'll get hundreds of results from multiple Categories:
However, if I navigate to the Marketing Automation Category and then search "message":
My search results are now filtered to only articles in the Marketing Automation Enterprise Category:
As you can see, there are far fewer filtered results, making it much easier to find the topics you want in the Category you're actually interested in.
NOTE: Results are only filtered on the Search Results page. In other words, you must enter a word/phrase and press Enter before filtering occurs. Predictive Search doesn't respect the Filtered Search feature, even if used within a Category (learn more about Predictive Search below).
If you type and pause (i.e., don't press Enter), a list of suggested articles appears below. The category of each suggestion is also displayed, making it easy to understand the article's topic area. This feature provides a more efficient searching experience.
NOTE: Predictive Search doesn't respect the Filtered Search feature discussed above. This means that, even if you've accessed a Category, articles shown in the suggestions are pulled from across the entire knowledge base.
Our article pages have some great new features that will improve your "information gathering" experience.
- A new Global Navigation menu appears at the article level. It remains as long as you're viewing a Support Center article, and automatically refreshes to reflect your location as you navigate (your current article is highlighted orange). You can expand and collapse categories and sections to quickly access any article in the knowledge base. This structure replaces the old top-down navigation structure that required too much time and effort to drill-down to the content being sought.
- Most articles now include an article-specific "table of contents" menu, which lists their main topics. Not only can they be clicked to quickly jump to areas of interest, they’re highlighted as you scroll, noting your location on the page.
- The breadcrumbs remain above an article so that you can see "where you are" and easily backtrack if necessary.