When a company uses its own product, especially externally, it should probably be g̶o̶o̶d̶ the best. It needs to set the bar and be a shining example for what your customers could do. For example, Twitter should have the best tweets (let’s talk), Squarespace should have the best website (not bad), and Zendesk should have the best help center (keep reading).
Gates of help
While our previous help center had some beautiful brand imagery, it was a bit all over the place. It lacked consistency and was difficult to navigate. The goal of the redesign was to consolidate the help center into an easy-to-understand experience that guides customers to the best solution with the lowest effort. Our advocacy team took the reins on creating a new, unified user experience. Our job as the brand team was to create imagery to support their efforts.
In my work I like to take digital experiences and make them analog. Physical, metaphorical imagery helps people connect software to more human, charming, and even nostalgic experiences. A help center’s goal is to guide you to a solution for your problem. An initial metaphor was an Ikea-like instruction manual with shapes and screws. But this made the help center feel like too much work and labor-intensive. Another concept was a children’s wooden puzzle box with our product logos as the shapes. But this felt almost too easy and even patronizing.
The final concept ended up being a happy medium between complex and simple: an instruction manual that guides you to create the Zendesk logo and product logos out of wooden blocks.
Help manual, manual labor, labor of love
With the approval of the art direction, now came time to bring the Photoshop mockup to life with real props. I carved all of our product logos out of wood, sanded them, and spray painted them to their corresponding colors. It’s days like that day that remind me how awesome my job is.
A little help from my friends
No Zendesk photo shoot would be complete without hand models from the company. Expensing manicures for photoshoots is a Zendesk perk they don’t tell you about when you’re hired. 💅 Our photographer Marta helped me set up the camera and lighting so I could play with shapes all day.
Help is on the way
Without further ado, here’s a look at the final images and design of help.zendesk.com.