What I Learned from Redesigning Our Support Site

September 16th, 2013 by Alexis

Chartbeat | The Chartcorps-1 For as long as I've been part of the Chartcorps (the Chartbeat support, education, and strategy team), we've been hoping to redesign the Chartbeat support site. Luckily A few months ago, the Chartcorps teamed up with members of our Marketing crew, and decided to tackle a total overhaul of the support site. As a team of five we all shared the common goal of creating a well-designed, easily-navigated site that helped clients gather the right information quickly.

In beginning this task, we did what most do when they’re embarking on something new, we Googled. A lot. We researched support sites from all different brands. This helped us discover how our support site homepage could be designed, how easy (or not) it can be to find the right help content across different sites, and even how to intertwine separate products within one site.

We then took a look in the mirror – what was the current Chartbeat support experience like? From that we evaluated what to ditch, what to keep, and what to improve upon from the existing site.

We also reviewed  data on our existing support site, and saw that clients weren’t always surfacing the answers they needed. In addition to this, the site’s format wasn’t as intuitive as it could have been. So right away we focused on a key goal of making our help content easy to find as part of a larger, improved support or knowledge-seeking experience for our clients.

Breaking Down the Work

What’s tricky about creating a support site is that there are so many different moving pieces.  Here’s some of the initial tasks we needed to accomplish:

  1. Familiarize ourselves with our new site platform so we can make the most of it.

  2. Get on top of all things content-related: inventorying, revising, editing, and creating new answers and sections as needed.

  3. See what brands or companies are currently doing support well and pick their brains.

  4. Make key decisions about the new support site’s look and feel.

Check out our first (and extremely rough) wireframes of how we initially envisioned the the support site to look like and feel – you have to start somewhere!

wireframe

What Was Helpful

One of the best things about this experience was visiting SquareSpace. The SquareSpace Support team opened their doors (and arms) to us to give us insight into how they created their fantastic support site and how the team works on improving their customer support experience on a constant basis.

I know I mentioned data earlier, but I can’t emphasize enough how integral analytics were for this process. Beyond getting overall insights about the site, we used data to guide how we prioritized organizing the site’s help content. Having the numbers behind our content let us make insightful and informed decisions about how our support site content should be designed and made available to our clients.

What Was Hindering

As we continued to work on the site, we went through peaks and valleys. There were obstacles and significant delays, with two main problems occurring in the middle of our redesign:

  1. We couldn’t get our support platform to configure in a way that worked with our multiple products.

  2. With a wealth of knowledge-based content, figuring out where to begin was a daunting task.  At times it felt as though we were flying blind and it was hard to get insight into how other folks had approached building their own support sites.

However, after countless huddles, chocolate binges and last-minute pivots, we were able to create something we’re pretty excited about: support.chartbeat.com.

support site

What are the takeaways from this project?

  1. See what’s out there and learn from it. There are some great support sites already in existence, and exploring those help hubs certainly helped. Our meeting with SquareSpace really helped us because we learned from their experiences in running an effective site.

  2. Stay focused on our users’ perspectives and needs. How would clients search for that help tidbit? What sort of communication channels do they need on our site? How might a client misspell a feature name – and how can our site’s search function anticipate it?

Those are just a couple big learnings. And there will be many more lessons to learn as we hear from clients about what other content, help features, or design changes they need to access the knowledge and support necessary for using our products more effectively (and happily).

Check out our support site and let us know what you think via twitter or email– your feedback will help us make improves as we continue to iterate!

   
  • courtney lambert

    great insight– thanks for sharing. You guys have done a good job :)

    • Alexis_Chartbeat

      Thanks! It was an amazing experience :-)