Re: âRe: Differentiating between software versions in help articles

Subject: Re: âRe: Differentiating between software versions in help articles
From: Nina Rogers <janina -dot- rogers -at- gmail -dot- com>
To: Lawrence Orin <startingfresh1 -at- gmail -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 16 Mar 2015 13:47:22 -0400

Hi, all, and thanks for your feedback on my little problem.

Lawrence has done a nice job of outlining the issue. We're using Zendesk
for our support site, and we have it set up so that people can select to
view only 2.0 articles or only 1.0 articles. The problem is if someone runs
a search on "Managing User Accounts," they'll get links to at least two
articles if the 1.0 and 2.0 versions are just different enough to warrant
(IMPO) separate articles for each. So now the reader has to decide, "OK,
which article am I supposed to read?" Naturally, the last thing we want to
do is have our clients feel confused when they're already at a place where
they have to visit the help site.

Support for version 1.0 is going to be phased out as our all of our users
are upgraded to 2.0, so I don't anticipate ever having the problem of
titles being "Managing User Accounts (1.0, 2.0, 2.1, 2.2, 3.0)." That would
truly be a nightmare, and I'm glad I won't have to deal with that! (Knock
on wood ...)

I like the idea of marking with metadata for advanced/filtered searches.
I'll have to look into what's possible in Zendesk regarding searches, but I
imagine I'll find some good info.

I'm not familiar with Fluid Topics or how well it integrates with Zendesk.
I see that it *does *integrate with Zendesk, so I'll do some research.

Thanks!

Best,
Nina


On Sun, Mar 15, 2015 at 4:59 AM, Lawrence Orin <startingfresh1 -at- gmail -dot- com>
wrote:

> Hi Nina,
>
> Your question is excellent. Many factors come together to create problems
> when updating online content:
>
> * Between versions of the same product, typically 60-90% of content
> remains the same.
>
> * But we must keep back-versions live on the web for legacy customers.
>
> * When customers search through your doc library, the scope of a
> customer's search is key:
>
> - Either search per publication (like webhelp, PDFs), or
> - Search across all publications (modern knowledge base portals like
> Suite Share, Fluid Topics, Confluence, MindTouch).
>
> * In my experience, customers expect to search across all versions (thanks
> to the flat world brought to us by Google et al).
>
> * So searching a phrase often yields multiple (almost) duplicate search
> results, which makes content harder to find.
>
> âThere are several solutions to this problem:
>
> 1. Mark your content with metadata like the version number, product name,
> audience type. Then allow customers to filter their searches with these
> criteria.â
>
> 2. Choose a doc portal which can process search results to group very
> similar items together into one entry, then sub-categorize by version
> number (like Fluid Topics).
>
> Many thanks,
>
> Lawrence
>
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