Product documenation forms an integral part of the customer experience. Providing the best possible experience for customers means they get their questions answered fast. Raising a support request is probably their least desirable option.
It’s no surprise that Confluence is the best place to collaborate on product documentation. Sarah Maddox, Google tech writer, has written extensively about how you can use Confluence to collaborate on documentation. And Atlassian recently published an ebook exploring how software teams write documentation.
Of course, there is the flip side to creating great content and that is getting it into the hands of your customers.
Instant Websites is a solution that gets great content into the hands of your customers quickly and effortlessly. Instant Websites publishes a Confluence Cloud space as a publicly accessible, mobile responsive, and super fast website.
Over 80% of Instant Websites customers discovered the product when searching for a better way to publish their product documentation. These customers were already using Confluence Cloud to write and collaborate on documentation and they wanted to enhance the customer experience of consuming that documentation.
Instant Websites won Best Confluence Cloud Add-on in Atlassian Codegeist 2015 and has been included in the Atlassian Best Cloud Add-ons of 2015.
In this post we explore how Instant Websites customers set up their information architecture to deliver a great experience for their customers.
Interestingly, one of the first things that catches a customers eye is the domain name. We have observed that most companies use docs.company.com as the home for their product documentation and as such this has become a de facto standard.
Further, customers are increasingly savvy about finding official documentation and avoiding spam sites. The domain name is a clear and concise way to let the customer know they are where they expect to be - your official product documentation.
Finally, using the company domain name helps customers navigate while on their mobile. On mobile the complete URL is not visible yet the domain name is. For instance:
Instant Websites allows you to use the domain name of your choice.
SaaS companies may not worry about versioning documentation as all customers are on the latest version. However for those shipping physical products, mobile apps or behind the firewall software this is common.
A product with several versions may necessitate a “Past Releases” page. Documentation for the current and last versions may be present in the top navigation or appear higher in the hierarchy while older versions that are nearing End of Life may be pushed off the navigation entirely. For instance:
Instant Websites has a flexible navigation scheme allowing you to have breadth or depth, you choose.
Documentation comes alive when you can walk customers through the product with images and/or videos. It can be especially valuable if you have a customer case study for a particular feature.
Alignment of media can be used to section content. And don’t be afraid to use horizontal rules, sections and other formatting macros to get the flow right.
Instant Websites has you covered here with attached images and support for embedded YouTube videos. We recommend setting the video to unlisted on YouTube so you don’t pollute the company channel with feature walkthroughs.
At the end of a documentation page it may be useful for the customer if you link to related pages. It may help customers navigate and find information they may be looking for.
To create related pages sections use the Content by Label macro and specify the type of content you want to include. There are filters for content types (pages, blog posts), labels, creators and more. There is lots of flexibility in the macro.
Some customers don’t sweat the minor details while others crave it. Including JIRA issues fixed in a version is a good way to cover your bases and make sure everyone is satisfied.
Including JIRA issues is easy. Just include the JIRA Issues Macro with a query like project = BB and fixVersion=”4.9” and you’ll see the issues on your release notes page.
Confluence gives you the best place to collaborate on product documentation. And with Instant Websites you’ve got the best solution for publishing that documentation publicly.