Customizing your Web portal

Note: If you joined Zendesk on or after August 21, 2013, you have the Help Center instead of the Web portal. If you landed on this page by accident, see the articles on using the Help Center.

In this lesson, you'll get familiar with your support Web portal and learn how to view the Web portal from your customer's perspective. We'll customize the introductory text that welcomes your customers. Then we'll look at the two main ways your customers can get help through your Web portal: the support request web form and the forums.

Note: You must be an administrator to customize your Web portal.

The support request web form is available to end-users in your Web portal. This form is one way customers can submit support requests to you if they want to get direct help from your support team. These requests become tickets in your Zendesk.

The forums are also available to end-users in your Web portal. Forums are collections of articles that might include news and announcements, knowledge base articles, community questions and comments, and frequently asked questions (FAQs). Forums enable users to self-serve, by giving them information, and potentially answering their questions, before they contact your support team.

Now, let's start by taking a little tour of the Web portal.

Getting familiar with your Zendesk Web portal

Web portal refers to the parts of the Zendesk that are available to end-users to submit tickets, track their support requests, and access your knowledge base and forums.

Note: If you just created your account, you will initially see the Getting Started page.
Let's take a look at the Web portal home page. There are five main areas end-users see:
  • Header and menu bar
  • Introductory text
  • Pinned articles
  • The forums
  • The sidebar

The header is the area at the top. The menu bar is below the header and gives end-users the following options:
  • Home goes to the Web portal home page.
  • Forums goes to the knowledge base and forums.
  • Submit a request enables users to send support requests to your Zendesk.
  • Check your existing requests enables users to check the status of support requests they've submitted.

You can see your Web portal from a customer perspective when you are signed out. When you sign in to your Zendesk, your home page looks different and includes options that enable you to manage your Web portal home page and forums.

To view your Web portal
  • Click your profile icon in the upper-right corner of the page header, then select Go to web portal.
 

Customizing the welcome text on your Web portal

The introductory text on your Web portal home page welcomes customers and can also give them information so they know how to get help.

You can turn the text off, if you want, but more likely you'll want to tailor the welcome text for your customers. Let's turn the text off and back on, and then customize it for your customers.

Community tip! When you have the welcome text turned on and the forums search box turned on, the search appears below the welcome text by default. If you want to move the search box above the welcome text, check out this code snippet Nick Houldsworth shared in our community forums!

To hide or show introductory text on your Web portal
  1. Click the Manage icon () in the sidebar, then select Web portal in the Channels section.
  2. Deselect Show in the Introductory text on portal home page section.

    The other settings on this page relate to your forums. We'll work on customizing your forums later.

  3. Click Save at the bottom of the page.
  4. Click your profile icon in the upper-right corner of the page header, then select Go to web portal.

    Notice that the welcome text is gone.

  5. Repeat these steps to show the welcome text again.
To modify introductory text on your Web portal
  1. Click your profile icon in the upper-right corner of the page header, then select Go to web portal.
  2. Click Edit to the right of the introductory text.
  3. Edit the text with your own personal message.

    In addition to a welcome message you might want to give customers other information, such as contact methods and support options.

  4. Click Save (below the text) when you finish.

    You now have a custom message to welcome your customers!

Now that you've customized your introductory text, let's customize your support request form.

Adding a custom field to your support request form

You can customize the form that customers complete when they click Submit a Request in your Web portal. This is one way customers contact your support team with support requests. These requests become tickets in your Zendesk.

To customize this form, you need to add custom fields to tickets. Any custom ticket fields you make visible to end-users appear on the support request form in your Web portal.

Custom fields are typically used to gather more information about the support issue or product or service. For example, you may want your customers to also select the model name and number of your product.

Let's add a custom field that asks the customer to categorize the type of issue they have: product, billing, order, technical, or other.

To add a custom field
  1. Click the Manage icon () in the sidebar, then select Ticket fields.

    This page shows all the ticket fields. Notice that there are more fields here than in your support request web form. As mentioned before, only the fields that are visible to end-users appear in the web form. All the other fields are visible to agents only. The Subject field, for example, is visible to end-users and agents, whereas, Status is visible to agents only.

  2. Click Add custom field in the upper-right corner.
  3. In the custom field page, click Select beside Drop-down list. (You might have to scroll to the right.)

    The type of field we're adding is a drop-down list.

  4. In the For agents section, enter "Support Category" as the Field title shown to agents.

    This is the internal title agents will see when they view the ticket. This is not the title that customers will see in the support request form.

  5. Click Visible in the For end-users section. A couple more options appear.
  6. Enter a Title.

    This is the label that will appear beside the drop-down list in the support request form. In this case, enter "What are you writing us about?" because you are creating a drop-down list to categorize your support requests.

  7. Select Editable so that end-users can edit this field.
  8. In the Description field that appears, enter a description for your custom field.

    For example, enter "Please specify the question or issue you have."

  9. Now, in the Field options section, in Title, enter a value you want to appear in the drop-down list, then press Tab and the Tag field automatically completes.

    For this example, enter "Billing issue" as the title.

  10. Click the Plus (+) to add another value and repeat this step until you've added all the values you want in the drop-down list.

    For this example, enter the values Product question, Wholesale orders, Technical issue, and "Other".

  11. When you finish, click Add field.

Now that you've customized your support request form, let's start setting up your forums. Your forums give your customers an alternative to contacting your support team.

Customizing your forums

Forums are collections of articles that might include news and announcements, knowledge base articles, community questions and comments, and frequently asked questions (FAQs). You can have multiple forums on your Web portal.

Your forums give customers an opportunity to self-serve, by giving them information, and potentially answering their questions, before they contact your support team. The forums occupy a large portion of your Web portal. You can also access your forums by clicking Forums in the menu bar.

When you set up your Zendesk , there are already some forums set up for you: Announcements, Community Help, Tips & Tricks, Feature Requests, and Agents Only. You can use any or all of these. You can delete, add, and edit forums and forum categories. How you organize your forums content depends on your business and the amount and type of content you provide.

To manage forums in your Web portal
  • Click your profile icon in the upper-right corner of the page header and select Go to web portal, then click Forums in the menu bar.

Removing and editing forums

Let's start customizing your forums by deleting one of the existing forums and changing the name of another one.

To remove an unused forum
  1. Click your profile icon in the upper-right corner of the page header and select Go to web portal, then click Forums in the menu bar.
  2. Click the title of the forum you want to remove (Community Help, for example).
  3. When the forum opens, click Edit in the upper-right corner.
  4. Scroll to the bottom of the page and click Delete.

  5. Click OK in the confirmation box to delete the forum.

You can repeat the steps as needed to remove other forums. Let's keep the Agents Only forum, but let's change the name to Internal Docs.

To change the name of a forum
  1. In your web portal, click Forums in the menu bar.
  2. Click the title of the forum you want to change (Agents Only, in this case).
  3. When the forum opens, click Edit in the upper-right corner.
  4. In Forum title, enter a new name (Internal Docs, for example).
  5. In the Role restrictions section make sure Agents only is selected.

    This means that only agents can see this forum, not end-users.

  6. Click Update forum at the bottom.

Now let's add a forum and create an article in that forum.

Adding forums and articles

As mentioned earlier, you can have multiple forums in your Web portal. For example, you might want to create separate forums for each of your product lines. Let's add a forum.

To add a forum
  1. In your web portal, click Forums in the menu bar.
  2. Select Actions > Add forum just above your forums.

  3. Enter a Forum title. In this case, let's enter the product type Digital Compact Cameras.
  4. Enter a Description.

    This description will be visible to users in the right column when the user is viewing this forum.

    Those are the only options you need to complete for now. We'll talk about some of the other options later.

  5. Click Add forum at the bottom.

    Your new forum opens. The forum title is at the top and the forum description is in the right column. The search field enables users to search content in this forum (when you add content!). Articles will appear in the main area.

  6. Click Home to view the home page and see the new forum.

Now let's add an article to our new forum.

To add an article
  1. In the Digital Compact Cameras forum you just created, click the Add article button.
  2. Enter an article title.
  3. Enter the body content. You can write new content or you can copy and paste existing content.
  4. Select Disable comments so that users cannot comment on this article.

    For this example we want customers to submit tickets with questions instead of posting them as comments.

  5. Click Add at the bottom.

    Your new article opens for you. You can edit the article anytime by clicking the Edit link in the upper right of the article.

Now, let's organize your forums a bit more by adding categories.

Creating a forum category

Depending on the size of your business and the amount of content you have, forums can be organized into categories. You can have multiple categories, with multiple forums in each category.

Let's create a category called Knowledge Base and move our new forum into it. Creating a forum category is similar to creating a forum.

To create a forum category
  1. In your web portal, click Forums in the menu bar.
  2. Click Add category on the upper-right side.
  3. Enter a category title. In this case, enter Knowledge Base.

    The title will be visible as a heading in your forums.

  4. Enter a category description.
  5. Click Add category at the bottom.
  6. Click Home to go back to the home page and see your new category.
Now, let's move the forum we created to our new category.
To move a forum to another category
  1. In your web portal, click Forums in the menu bar.
  2. Click the title of the forum you want to move.

    In this case, click the Digital Compact Cameras forum you just created.

  3. Click Edit in the upper-right corner.
  4. In the Category section, select the Knowledge Base category you just created from the drop-down menu.

  5. Click Update forum at the bottom.
  6. Click Home to view your home page and see that the forum has moved to the new category.

Now, let's decide which articles you want to appear on your Web portal home page.

Setting viewing permissions and pinning articles to your home page

Earlier we customized the welcome message and the forums. There's one more item on the Web portal home page we haven't looked at yet: the article titled "For Your Eyes Only".

This article is part of a forum that is visible to your agents only, not your customers. And this article is locked (or pinned) to the Web portal. So, how do you control what is shown on and who can view it?

For each forum you can indicate who can view that forum. This enables you to control what content people see. For example, you can make an internal forum for articles about product bugs and workarounds. Or you can create an internal forum with pricing and product release information. The viewing permission you set applies to the entire forum, not individual articles in the forum.

You can also indicate which articles you want to appear on the Web portal on a article-by-article basis (up to three articles for each forum). This is called pinning a article. For example, you might want to display the three most recent articles. Or you might want to display an important release announcement until the release date.

To set viewing permission for a forum
  1. Click your profile icon in the upper-right corner of the page header and select Go to web portal, then click Forums in the menu bar.
  2. Click the title of the forum you want to modify.
  3. Click Edit in the upper-right corner.
  4. In the Role restrictions section, click Agents only to make the forum available to agents only.
  5. Click Update forum at the bottom.
  6. Click Home to view your home page; log out to make sure the forum isn't visible to end-users.
To pin an article to the Web portal home page
  1. In your web portal, click Forums in the menu bar.
  2. Open the article you want to pin to your home page.
  3. Click Pin to home in the widget in the right column.

  4. Click Home to see that the article is there.
To unpin an article on the Web portal home page
  1. In your web portal, click Home in the menu bar, if you are not already there.
  2. Locate the article on the page and click Unpin beside the article title.

    The article disappears from your Web portal home page but the article is not deleted. It's still part of your forums.

Summary

In this lesson you customized your Web portal. First, you modified the welcome message. Then you turned your attention to the two main ways your customers can get help through your Web portal: the support request web form and the forums.

You customized your support request web form and you set up your forums. Finally, you decided which content should appear on your Web portal.

Have more questions? Submit a request

Comments

  • Avatar
    Michael Ross

    When Pinning an article to the Home Page is it possible to remove the Author and date that it was published?"

  • Avatar
    Sven Lehnert

    Great article! But... am I blind or is it not possible to just edit the category name of a forum? 

  • Avatar
    Anton de Young

    Michael, 

    You can hide many elements of the user interface using CSS (see the [CSS Cookbook]("https://support.zendesk.com/forums/20146877-css-cookbook)). However, the author and date are contained within the same element that also includes the 'unpin' command so I wouldn't recommend it. 

  • Avatar
    Anton de Young

    themekraft,

    Sure. Just go to your forums and next to each category's title you'll see the Actions link. Click that then select Edit category. You can change the category's title there. 

  • Avatar
    Oliver

    Hi,

    I was wondering if there was any way to move the layout of the portal page so that the Forum Directory is shown above the Pinned Topic Section. Also, are there any articles about customizing the backdrop of one's portal, with pictures, or adding logos, etc.? Thanks in advance for your help.

  • Avatar
    Sean Kinney

    Hi Oliver,

    We don't provide an option for changing the order of modules in Forums, but you can customize the order of the modules using a global Javascript widget. To do this, you need to do the following:

    1. Go to Settings > Extensions
    2. Click the Add widget option
    3. Choose a "Global Javascript widget"
    4. Title the widget something appropriate like "Reordering forum modules"
    5. Choose to make the widget available to "Anyone, including people who are logged in" if you want the change to apply to everyone
    6. Paste the following code: $j(document).ready(function() { $j('h2#pinned_topics_title').parent().before($j('.forum_tabs')); });
    7. Change "Preview Widget" to "Create Widget"
    8. Click Submit

    This should cause the modules to be reordered. As far as restyling your forums, I would recommend checking out https://support.zendesk.com/entries/20269321-how-to-customize-the-help-desk-using-css which provides an overview of the method for customizing Zendesk using CSS.

  • Avatar
    Oliver

    Hi,

    Thanks Sean, that worked beautifully. I appreciate the rapid response!

    I have a follow-up question to my last request: Some of the zendesk portals I've seen have a side-bar where you can put additional info for the customers. I was wondering if there was some quick Javascript code that would enable that?

    Also, is there a way to change the Pinned Topic section title like you can with the forums?

  • Avatar
    Anna Tsoy

    Hi Oliver, 

    Here are answers to both of your questions:

    You can follow steps Sean provided to navigate to the list of available Widgets. Once there, select to add a Custom HTML Widget and add your message to the content section. For example, you can add a placeholder to greet your user: Hi {{curent_user.name}} or any specific message. Your user's name will be picked up and displayed there. Of course, you can add information you specifically need. For more information on what you can do with Widgets, see our Widget API documentation here: http://www.zendesk.com/support/api/widgets

    You can also use a Widget to replace the title of Pinned Topic. You would need to add a Global JavaScript Widget with the following code: 

    $j("h2#pinned_topics_title").replaceWith('<h2>INSERT NEW NAME</h2>');

    Replace "Insert new name" with the title you wish to display. 

    Hope this helps!

  • Avatar
    Jerome

    Hi there,

    Is this entry still relevant to the Lotus version ? My web portal doesn't display the grey menu part, and the green one only has the Forums tabs. I don't seem to find out where to access settings for this so I wonder, did that all disappear with Lotus ?

    Also, as a new customer it took me quite some time to figure out that you had switched to a new version of zendesk, then to figure out that widgets were useless with it and replaced by apps, which weren't available for more than 90% of your previous integrations. Guys, this shouldn't happened from a company which is all about customer experience!

    Best Regards,

    Jerome

  • Avatar
    Marie-Josée Brault

    I've made our forum multilingual by creating forums in each of the languages, and selecting visibility, but I can't figure how to make the Welcome Message multilingual. Is this possible? 

  • Avatar
    Anton de Young

    Marie-Josée,

    Plus and Enterprise accounts have a a feature called Dynamic Content. You can create a welcome message for each of the languages you support and then just place the dynamic content placeholder in the welcome message. Based on a user's language, the correct language version of the welcome message will be shown.

    See this topic: https://support.zendesk.com/entries/20720458-using-dynamic-content-to-provide-multiple-language-support.

  • Avatar
    Marie-Josée Brault

    Thanks Anton. Dynamic content doesn't seem to work in the field "Help Desk Name". The workaround we have now is that we hide the name for other languages than English in the CSS. Do you have a better solution?

  • Avatar
    Roman R

    I can't find options on how to customize in a same way as this portal is customized https://support.zendesk.com

    There's only logo, title, intro text and that's it. Hwo to integrate with the rest of your site? like on this very portal https://support.zendesk.com  it uses header with navigation from main site.

    Is it some advanced integration/customization option? how to access it?

  • Avatar
    Anton de Young

    Roman,

    Yes, our support site is integrated into zendesk.com. It was a big customization job. If you take a look at the comments from Ross in this topic https://support.zendesk.com/entries/20353251-source-code-for-css-customization-examples you'll get an idea of what was involved. 

  • Avatar
    Andrew Niesen

    Hi!

    I was wondering if there was any way to make some modifications to the layout of my web portal. See the attached screenshot. Namely, I'd like to (preferably) hide the Forum Directory or move it below the div that contains the actual articles. 

    I'd also like to remove the text link by your company name and logo at the top of the page.

  • Avatar
    Anton de Young

    Andrew, 

    Yes, these can be hidden. For the logo, see this topic: https://support.zendesk.com/entries/20263417-replacing-the-header-logo-and-title. 

    For the Announcements and Feature Requests forums, if you can either delete them or make them private (agents only), your end-users won't see them. 

  • Avatar
    Andrew Niesen

    Anton, 

    That was perfect advice. Thanks for the quick reply. I'm going to fiddle around with changing the color scheme of the menu bar below the logo, but if you have something you can point me to, it would save me some time. 

    Thanks again! Loving ZenDesk so far...

  • Avatar
    Anton de Young

    Andrew,

    Glad you're enjoying Zendesk. Here's a topic about customizing the menu bar: https://support.zendesk.com/entries/20348113-customizing-the-top-menu-bar. That can get tricky though if you try to do too much because there are a lot of elements in the menu bar. Let us know if you need more help with anything. 

  • Avatar
    Andrew Niesen

    Just what I needed! THanks!

    Andrew

  • Avatar
    Wendy

    Is there any way I can embed the "Submit a Request" form on to the forum?

  • Avatar
    Justin

    Hi Wendy: 

    You could use the Feedback tab! You can assign the widget to a specific part of the help desk, or link it to a button in the welcome text area of the forum. It won't be possible to actually embed the ticket form in a forum, but the Feedback tab will allow your end-users access to the request form as needed. 

    https://support.zendesk.com/entries/20990726-setting-up-your-feedback-tab-channel

    https://support.zendesk.com/entries/21710527-the-new-feedback-tab-an-intro-to-css-widgets

    https://support.zendesk.com/entries/322546-feedback-tab-advanced-usage 

  • Avatar
    Lee Crockett

    I'm unclear if this article is new Zendesk, old Zendesk etc. So excuse me for asking if it has been answered. I'd like to fully customize my portal. Similar to the Camera Obscura site you use in your advertising. The actual portal looks nothing like that. Is there access to CSS to do this in this latest Zendesk?

  • Avatar
    Justin

    Hi Lee: 

    CSS customizations are applied to the classic Zendesk web portal. This is what your end-users will see when they visit your Zendesk site. The new Zendesk is for you and your agents. You can modify some basic colors to match your branding in the new Zendesk, but the CSS edits still apply to the classic portal: https://support.zendesk.com/forums/20146877-css-cookbook

  • Avatar
    Aude Chagnon

    Hi,

    I would like to know how to disable the access to the Webportal for end-users: we would like to interact only via e-mail with our end-users. I haven't found the answer in the previous posts, sorry if I missed It !

  • Avatar
    Jennifer Rowe

    Hi Aude,

    Please see the topic Setting up to provide email only support.

    Let me know if that's not what you're looking for!

    thanks! Jennifer

  • Avatar
    Richard Colwill

    is there a timeline on when we will get a Lotus WebPortal?

  • Avatar
    Justin

    Hey Richard! 

    The new Zendesk interface will always be for your agents only. We're working on a new and improved end-user facing web portal that will be managed from the new interface, but will exist outside of that interface for your end-users. 

  • Avatar
    Judit Simon

    Hi!

    How can I hide the category/forum description widget in the right column?

  • Avatar
    Justin

    Hey Judit: 

    I'm not aware of a way to hide that particular box, as hiding the sidebar element also hides it on all of the other help desk pages as well. If you don't have a forum or category description written in, it will not show in that area. 

    .side-box-content { display: none; }

  • Avatar
    David Crompton

    As an agent the ticket form is quite compact and nice, in the customer view it's quite long and doesn't make the best use of space. Is there any way to make the customer facing form look like the agent one? Do you know what I mean?

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