At the beginning of the month, we gave a full update on the Q1 of 2020. As a SaaS platform, we constantly ship features into the product, pretty much every other week. Moving forward we would like to give a product update every month. Let’s look at what we have shipped this month.
In April 2020, we shipped 4 exciting new features that we have been working on for the past few months.
- Article Review reminders
- Article locking (to avoid conflicts)
- Article status indicators
- Home page builder (v2)
1. Article Review reminders
One of the biggest challenges in maintaining a healthy knowledge base is over a period some of your knowledge base articles becomes stale, no one touched it for months and it’s completely out of date.
The other classic example lets say a customer support person is looking at an article and feels it’s not correct. He/she can immediately set the article for review and notify the article contributors (engineering team).
To address this problem, we are introducing “Article Review reminders” in Document360. You can set up Review Reminders at each article level or you can set global rules when certain articles should be classified as “Needs Review“
At the article level, you’ll see a small icon for “Review Reminder”, you can specify an optional reason, time window when you wanted to get notified and set the reminder.
Once the reminder is set, on the specified expiry date of the reminder you’ll see a warning showing “Needs review”, the editor can then take appropriate actions and correct the review status.
There is also an indicator at the category management tree clearly showing the article states, it’s a new feature we shipped in this release which I’ll cover later in the article.
Global “Review Reminder”
A lot of times you may want to set up “Review Reminders” at a global level (rather than at article level). Example: You shipped a new product update and a bunch of articles is added your knowledge base. You may want to review all of them in 6 months. In this case, you can assign a tag called “april-update” to all the specific articles and apply a review reminder for that tag.
There are also some intelligent mechanisms like, the system automatically picks up all the contributors of those articles who matched the criteria and mark them as recipients for getting notifications.
You can set up multiple global review reminders.
Bulk operations on articles (on Review Reminder)
We also enhanced the bulk operation module to support “Review Reminders”. You can perform the following operations
- Search for all the articles in your knowledge base that require review
- Select a group of articles and you can either set reminders or review reminders
- An indicator showing how many articles in the knowledge base requires review
2. Article Locking (to avoid conflicts)
Your knowledge base typically will be maintained by a team of people. One of the challenges you need to address when more than one person got access is to make sure the content is not overwritten by the other person accidentally. We are addressing this challenge using this new feature called “Article Locking”
The moment someone starts editing an article a lock will be placed automatically on the article and visually represented both for the editor as well as others in the team.
Team members view
The notification is instantaneous, even if the team member is on that particular page on the fly it will be locked.
The editor can unlock the article manually by clicking the “Locked for editing” indicator or the article will automatically be unlocked after 15 mins of inactivity by the editor. (in the future we will make it a configurable value)
3. Articles Status Indicator
Once you have a mature knowledge base you are going to have knowledge base articles in various states. Some of them are brand new, some in draft state, some published, some hidden, some might require review, and some articles may be in a mixed state of published but there is a new draft.
It’s important to have clear visibility of each state of the article across the knowledge base. That’s exactly what we have done in this release. Every article will have one of the following 5 status indicators.
Let’s take a look at a life cycle of an article that goes through various states
- The user starts with a brand new article (version 1). This will be represented as Yellow
- Then the user after completing the article publish it. This will be represented as Green
- After some time the user wants to improve that article, he creates a new version to work on (version 2). Remember the article’s first version is live (published). In this case, the status will be Yellow + Green representing we have both published and a draft version.
- Later there might be additional states like articles marked as “Review required”, which is represented as Red
- Or the user might decide to hide the article from the knowledge base (even though it’s published), which is represented as Grey.
The status indicators will be visible in multiple places in the Document360 management portal (used by editors and contributors)
- Category Manager
- Article Title
- Bulk operations
Bulk Operations (List and Summary)
4. Home Page Builder (v2)
Every knowledge base deserves a great home page. This is the page where your users/customers will land and a place for you to showcase your company, support channels, important categories, etc.
Home page builders help to design beautiful home pages without a need for a designer or developer. It comes with different modules (Text, Image, Category selection, etc) and drag/drop capabilities for you to build great looking knowledge base home page.
Take a look at some of our awesome customer knowledge base home pages built using the home page builder
Home page builder (v2) (previously called the Landing page builder) had a major overhaul in terms of usability. Let me highlight some of them.
When you have a long page with multiple sections on your home page it might become cumbersome to work on it. We brought the option for you to collapse and expand each section as shown below.
As shown in the below picture there are various improvements on the home page builder
- Reposition each category tile
- Change the icon, icon color, add your icon for each category selection
- Easily reposition the section up and down
- Easily add a new section at the desired position using the fly-out menu
We are still pushing hard on adding more and more useful features to make Document360 the number one product for anyone to build online knowledge bases (public or private).