Categories: Contributor News

Keeping you in the loop: What’s new in our Knowledge Base?

Hello, SUMO community!

We’re setting the stage for something big: a revamp of our style guide designed to make our support content not just user-friendly, but user-delightful. To get a clearer picture of the SUMO user experience, we enlisted the help of an external agency, embarking on a research project designed to peel back the layers of how users interact with our platform. The results were quite revealing. Many users, it turns out, find themselves overwhelmed by the vast amount of information available, often feeling confused and struggling to pinpoint the exact answers they’re searching for. To address this, we’re rolling out targeted improvements focused enhancements to our style guides and contributor resources, aiming to refine how we organize, categorize, and present our support content in SUMO for a smoother, more intuitive user journey.

Have questions or feedback? Drop us a message in this SUMO forum thread.

Refreshing the content taxonomy

A key takeaway from the research was the users’ difficulty in navigating our content categories. This prompted us to rethink our approach to organizing support content, aiming for a better alignment with user needs and industry best practices. This project is in full swing, and we’ll be ready to share more details with you shortly.

Auditing the Firefox content

In our effort to align our content with user needs, we’ve initiated a comprehensive audit of all Firefox support articles. This exhaustive review aims to identify areas where we can reclassify content, eliminate outdated information, and consolidate similar topics. Our goal is to ensure that every piece of information in the KB is relevant, easy to understand, and directly beneficial to our users.

We’re gearing up to share how you can contribute to this exciting initiative. Mark your calendars for the SUMO Community Meeting on Wednesday, April 10, 2024, where we’ll unveil more about this project.

Updating the article types

Using consistent content types for our knowledge base articles has many benefits including ease of navigation and improved clarity and organization, in addition to helping us create content more effectively. We are transitioning to categorizing external knowledge base articles into four types, each serving a specific purpose:

  • About: These articles address “What is…” questions, providing essential information to help readers understand a topic.
  • How-to: These articles focus on answering “How to…?” questions, guiding readers through the steps required to achieve a specific goal or procedure.
  • Troubleshooting: These articles assist users in identifying, diagnosing, and resolving common issues they may encounter with a product, service, or feature by addressing “How to…?” questions related to problem-solving.
  • FAQ: These articles contain concise answers to frequently asked questions on a single topic, which may not fit within other individual KB articles, providing a quick reference for common inquiries.

Stay tuned for additional training and documentation on these article types!

Reducing cognitive load
We believe finding information should not be akin to a mental obstacle course. Focused on minimizing cognitive load, we’ve outlined a series of strategies aimed at guiding users directly to the information they need, no fuss involved. Below are the key strategies we’re implementing:

  • Straight to the point with inline images and icons: We’re transitioning from textual guidance to visual demonstrations. By embedding inline targeted UI captures and icons directly into the article flow, we aim to provide a more visual path for users, minimizing the need for mental translation of text into actions. But, hang on – we haven’t forgotten about making these changes work for everyone. For those using screen readers, we’re counting on you to help us ensure every image and icon comes with comprehensive alt text, making every visual accessible through sound. And on the localization front, your skills are more important than ever. We’re calling on you to assist in capturing and adding alt text to localized images, ensuring it’s accessible and resonant for every member of our global community. For details see Effective use of inline images.
  • Cleaner, more focused images with SUI (simplified user interfaces): To make things even clearer, we’re simplifying our product’s UI in screenshots to just the essentials. This not only makes the images easier to follow but also means they’ll stay accurate longer, even if small UI changes happen. For more info, see Simplifications.
  • Streamlined steps with annotated screenshots: For tasks that necessitate two or more clicks or actions on a single screen, we’re shifting to a more intuitive approach: using screenshots marked with numbered annotations. This strategy will clear away the need for multiple, similar screenshots, making instructions easier to follow while minimizing scrolling.

Keep an eye out for the updated style guides – they’re coming soon!

What this means for you

Our updates will be rolling out from Q2 to Q4 2024, and we’re thrilled to have you on board as we bring these changes to life. The kickoff is just around the corner, so stay tuned for updates! Have thoughts to share or looking to contribute? We’re all ears. Engage with us directly on this SUMO forum thread. Your feedback and involvement are crucial as we progress together.

Thank you for making a difference!