Crafting Self-Help Websites

Design & Troubleshooting Guide

Our training, intranet, extranet and support knowledgebases exist to deliver game-changing ROI as customers, partners and staff discover timely solutions to vexing problems. When we’re successful, users swarm the site(s) expecting to find answers and are gobsmacked when they don’t.

Conversely, flat demand signals failure. Whether it is a lack of useful content or treasure buried beneath clunky navigation, our audiences are getting their answers elsewhere which is both wasteful and risky.

Effective knowledge sharing requires us to have an enterprise content strategy reflecting that — in addition to our goods and services — we are in the business of publishing.

These 12 problem-solving articles offer practical insights and proven solutions to thorny problems that undermine the success of online knowledge sharing.

Support The Experts
Why are our experts balking at documenting their insights?

Preparing knowledge resources for future use is no easy feat

Overcome The Curse of Elegance
The better we do our job, the easier it looks…

Failure to recognize and value elegantly crafted content lowers the quality bar

Build Problem-Solving Toolkits
When facing a time-critical problem, nothing beats finding a collection (toolkit) of useful resources curated by an expert to be of use to someone like me.

Carefully curated collections contain useful, hand-picked resources, e.g. instructions, policy, forms, examples

Produce Timely Content For Actual Customers
It’s unwise to invest more talent and energy preparing marketing content (and executive briefs) than preparing for customer (and staff) support.

Don’t leave content managers for intranet, extranet and support out in the cold

Mitigate The Risks of Online Publishing
Our credibility is tied to our online content. Risks are mitigated by operationally committing to resourcing, accountability and quality control.

Publishing Risk = Any item we put online has the potential to undermine our best efforts

Enact An Enterprise Content Strategy Targeting All of Our Audiences
Follow the key principles of publishing to implement best practices.

Our audiences deserve dilligent attention to detail

Move Quickly From Strategy to Operational Planning
It’s wise to engage those who will do the work to help draft the plan. This article includes an exercise to jump-start the operational planning process.

We have the green light…What’s the first step?

Aligning the Expectations of Decision-Makers
How to ensure leaders hear and understand important nuance and caveats.

A key to managing expectations up the chain of command is to be alert to the risks of not doing so

Leverage the Support Team
A user engaging the support center may be a symptom of deficient self-help resources we can quickly identify and fix for all users.

Intense focus on speedy resolution can be a Swing-and-a-Miss metric

Use Advanced Tagging to Label Content for Discovery
How to combine the flexibility of tags with the utility of controlled vocabularies to offer a rich browsing experience.

Practical tips for improving a site’s browsability

Best Practices for Acquiring Content
Avoid costly mistakes when acquiring and integrating content produced by others.

Generating positive ROI from externally produced content requires us to negotiate astutely with savvy providers

Think Like a Librarian
Librarians focus on the nature of the resources and the needs of the users and refine their approach over time.

Organizing, managing and navigating content