If you checked out our recent Product Roadmap post, one thing you may have noticed is that we are in the process of revamping our Help Center. Some of the old hands who have been with Ning for a long time may not have the need to visit the Help Center as often as some of the newer folks, but we're pretty confident that most Network Creators have (at one time or another) spent some time looking up information about our product. Many of you may have also checked out our Best Practices pages, which give examples and advice from successful NCs, and some of you may have even browsed our Inspiration gallery for design ideas or just to see what other people get up to. A few probably have made a pit stop at the Get Started page as well.
One of the things we plan to do is unify this content so that it is more accessible and browsable by everyone. Not so spread out (as it is now across multiple domains). This project has been in planning for awhile, and we have all kinds of ideas that we've compiled, but we want to hear some suggestions from our most devoted customers about how they think the Help Center can be improved. Not everyone will have an opinion about this project since it doesn't directly involve changing the product you use every day, but I'm pretty sure we can grab a few great ideas from NCs who have either wished we had a resource they needed when they needed it or who have some great ideas we haven't even thought about.
This project is already underway and moving along quickly. We've begun migrating some of the current content into the new design, but we'll be creating new content as part of this redesign (and even more going forward). So, there's always time for us to get some great feedback from NCs.
So, what do you like about the current Help Center? What could be better? What do you think is missing? Or, does it work okay for you as it currently exists? How can we make finding specific information easier for you (and your admins)?
What's your thoughts on making a better knowledge base for Network Creators?
One big improvement would be to update the information in the help articles themselves. LOL I've come across a few (wish I'd bookmarked them!) where the information could use a little refresh. That's the first thing that popped in my mind when I read this discussion.
With complex topics, such as domain mapping for example, an accompanying video along with the text instructions would be extremely helpful. People internalize and process information in many different ways and having both a visual AND a text component would make something that complex just a little easier.
We do update the articles regularly, but this is an opportunity for us to refresh them. Actually, it's funny you say that about domain mapping because that is the first one we have rewritten. It's just a complicated subject. That's also the one that is hardest to keep current because the major domain providers change their interfaces, which means we have to keep updating screen shots. We might do a video for this one. Thanks!
You hit the nail on the head. Video instruction is so much more useful! That will cost a dime to produce a full line of videos though...
Great idea, for sure I will analyses this and give you some input on that!
Start with service not design. As much as the help center has improved there is still a tendancy to get answers back that although polite don't actually fix the problem. I have two outstanding issues that are over 2-3 months old and each time i bring it up, reopen the ticket (which has been closed without being 'resolved') etc I get the feeling that i am creating a problem for Ning rather than Ning fixing a problem for ME. This is not about design, a shiny interface won't help with that. Just saying.
ah, it would seem i've misunderstood the nature of this thread, although my point still holds about tickets etc. will take a look and suggest some things
Over the past year and a half, we have steadily increased the number of customer service people we have on hand as well as decreased the amount of time people must wait for a response. So, that is getting better. I'll pass along your frustration.
Sweet Potato has a good point, I also feel as though I am just bothering you guys sometimes.
It might be helpful to us all, Ning Help Folks included, to creat some kind of database or even reference map to all the Help Topics that have been brought up over time. Perhaps a more concise SEARCH that would make it easier to find answers faster.
For example, Myself and many others have been asking for ways to solve the "Reply Feed On Top" issue for quite some time, altough I know now that Ning has no way (or intention) of fixing this for us, there may be an NC out there who could easily hack the code to include a simple toggle for us, but the topic keeps getting lost in the many Discussions already posted about it.
Perhaps a separate Help Center Blog that chronicles ALL the Topics/Solutions/Non-solutions?
Hey, Ted. I like where you are going with this, although a blog would probably create more content for people to wade through. One of the things I was hoping to do with this redesign is to point people to relevant Creators discussions. For example, in a help article about design of your Main Page, I would like to include the kind of hacks that you are talking about by linking to the relevant Creators discussion and maybe including the avatar of the person here who offered it. The only two potentially difficult parts about that (aside from manually creating the content and linking back) is that it could be removed by the NC who offered it at any point (creating a dead link) and the "hack" could cease to function at some point (for whatever reason). But, those risks are worth it, I think. Thank you!
Thank you, I wasn't sure I was making myself clear, but yes, I know that a lot of questions are being asked and even answered multiple times in both the Help Center and the Creators site, but it takes some time and heavy searching to find it all. Perhaps we can start some kind of TAG system to help track things down?
I think generally it is fine. I am not sure how much time should really be spent on this. Put these devs to work on the mobile :D
It's not like the mobile team is stopping work so they can switch to the Help center project. LOL Ning has different teams on different projects. Mobile work is probably moving along just fine even as I type this. In the meantime, their Help center CAN use a bit of a facelift.