I’m often asked by customers and prospective buyers of MindTouch how they can show or hide help and product documentation based on the user that views an article without having to create multiple versions of the documentation. Good news! This is easy with MindTouch.
There are a variety of user stories for this kind of functionality. In short, it’s either user/group/role based permissioning or URL based variations on content. In some scenarios it requires creating a master documentation, or base docs, that all other derivative docs inherit. Here are a couple that come up pretty often. These are the most common user stories we hear and address (in no particular order):
I’ve just returned from the 2011 Lavacon conference in Austin, TX where I presented "Who Cares About Your Live Content?". The audience at the conference included content strategists, techpubs, elearning and techcomm managers. There were great sponsors present, such as: Adobe TCS, Astoria, SDL LiveContent, IXIAsoft and Madcap Flare.
I’m sharing my deck with you here because I think it’s a great crash course on the real world benefits of help and product content across an entire organization.
Also TechWhirl provided a great overview of my talk.
Most well run companies steer by defining and tracking key performance indicators (KPI) that gauge success at a departmental and company level. You can always find examples of this in customer service teams. Ticket backlog, inbound tickets, length of calls and mean time to resolution are all useful gauges to track. However, how do you know your KPIs matter? Are you a slave to your gauges? Are you serving the machine or are you serving your customers?
I’ve personally witnessed data overload wherein departments become so fixated on measuring and tracking KPIs they lose sight of what actually matters: serving their customers. An old colleague of mine shared a sophomoric example of this in a recent Beavis and Butt-Head episode. Yes, MTV has brought Beavis and Butt-head back and I am happy, don’t judge me. Obviously Beavis and Butt-head aren’t exactly a beacon of best practices, but this episode made me think of previous experiences I’ve had (with other companies) while managing customer support teams. In the episode (Season 9 Episode 2 around 12:40 find it at MTV.com), Beavis and Butt-Head inadvertently wander into a customer support call center and find themselves working customer support calls. Beavis and Butt-Head’s frequent hang ups and inappropriate responses to “set it on fire”, etc does wonders to drop the average call times and lower support costs. Soon the entire call center is instructed to take their lead.
This isn’t too far from reality. Departments can become slaves to the gauges. To avoid this, reset your thinking every quarter. Look at your key performance indicators and ask yourself: are you’re serving the KPI machine or are you serving your customers?
There are a host of desktop authoring tools on the market that are specialized for technical, product and help content including Adobe FrameMaker, Adobe RoboHelp, Madcap Flare and XMetal. These tools support a variety of output formats, but one of the more interesting is Compiled HTML Help (CHM). This is the compiled help system that were once in pretty much every desktop application you’ve ever used. I’m sure you remember this help system, it’s the window that opened when you clicked help or pressed the F1 key on your keyboard.
In-product contextual help systems were once the primary medium for delivering help content. Then we moved to the web. The first generation of web applications were pretty simple and thus didn’t require contextual help. Now web apps have grown up and MindTouch has moved into the ever widening gap between sophisticated products and their sophisticated users.
Today we announced that with MindTouch you can now extend desktop authoring tools with all the features and benefits afforded by our unique Social Help Center: dynamically organizing content, social sharing, Behavioral Analytics, Adaptive Search, user feedback, search engine optimization, and branded user experiences, just to name a few.
This week for the MindTouch TCS feature review, we are going to look at how we leverage conditional statements within documentation to show different information to different users.
Before we jump into how this works, let’s take a look at the technology behind it. MindTouch has a built in programming language called DekiScript that allows you to add business logic within a MindTouch TCS page. This means that you can add conditional statements to your documentation to only show certain content in certain situations.
This week I’m going to focus on a new feature that was released a couple of weeks ago called Search Recommendation. Before we look at Search Recommendations, take a look at my last blog post about reporting around user’s search behavior. The reporting provides great insight into what your users are searching for and what they are and aren’t finding. There are a couple of things that can be done with this information, specifically identifying articles that don’t exist within your documentation that users are searching for. But what if there is documentation but the users just aren’t finding it correctly because of a different search term than what would trigger a result or maybe the correct result is on the 2nd page of search results. This is where Search Recommendation comes in.
This week I’m going to focus on our Search Analytics report which is one of the Curation Analytics reports included with MindTouch TCS.
The Search Analytics report provides insight into what your users are searching for and what they are and aren’t finding. To get started you can login to your MindTouch TCS install and then click on Reports at the top. Note that reports are only accessible to Admins currently. Once you click on reports then click on the Search tab. You will then be presented with Popular search terms along with a table of Popular search queries. Within the Popular search queries you can see what keyword(s) users have searched for and what the top clicked results are. You can also click on the keyword(s) themselves and see all of the clicked results within the time frame specified.
This week for the MindTouch TCS feature review, I’m going to look at the User types. Within MindTouch we offer many levels of segmentation for users to restrict what functionality the user has accessibility to.
The default role that a user receives when they sign up is Community Member. A Community Member can rank content on a page, provide feedback on articles along with navigate the site. MindTouch TCS allows you to have unlimited number of these type of users at no additional cost.
The other role is Pro Member. A Pro Member is broken down into additional segmentations, but the base rights include the ability to add and modify content on your MindTouch TCS site. The Pro Member role’s rights can be increased up to Admin where the Pro Member is able to manage and administer the site. The pricing for MindTouch TCS is based off of the number of Pro Members that you have.
This means that if you have 3 users that create your documentation but 10,000 customers that use the documentation, you are only paying for the 3 authors.
For more information about pricing and user type access for MindTouch TCS, contact your account rep today.