Allow articles to be posted to multiple sections

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331 Comments

  • Andrea Piccioni
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    Patrick,
    You can copy-paste the article code, so that all formatting, style and pictures are kept and can be used for another identical article in a different section.

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  • Steve Wiseman
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    @Patrick.

    I don't understand still why you need to C&P articles. Many companies have introduction material that is applicable for trial and paid users.

    An example initial idea. Why can't you create a Getting Started section that is applicable to trial and paid users. They both start from the same place in understanding the basics of your product. Nothing wrong, IMHO, for having a link to different content for both paid and trial users at the end of Getting Started.

    (Additionally, providing trial users access to all the content can maybe wet their appetite for the full product offering.)

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  • Steve Wiseman
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    Re the discussion on Zendesk HC features. I agree with Tony that Zendesk is possibly not going to compete with the Flare's of this world in terms of an endless list of authoring features. Actually, I think the old world of authoring was more concerned with the authoring experience than the customer experience. That is changing, and Zendesk is part of that.

    An authoring solution gives you the singularity of publishing your content online. With Zendesk, you get a bunch of other features that you won't get with Flare or the other types of apps, as the figure below shows (a picture we use in our presentations). As with everything else Zendesk, you can integrate with other apps if you want additional features. I personally don't have a problem with that. In fact, it's a positive as you can enhance your solution as much as you want. 

    The widget, and now especially it's content sensitive, is a real "biggy". I push these ideas because I really think they take the content industry to a different level in terms of CX. And isn't that what it's all about?

    (I emphasize that I'm not part of Zendesk, but I am genuinely excited by the content side. I wouldn't be talking like this if I wasn't). 

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  • Sue Armstrong
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    @ Tony

    Yes, Madcap Flare is very good and as a Technical Author, I was hoping my company would buy this. Instead, the MD of our privately-owned company decided Zendesk's HC would do. I'm afraid it doesn't compare.

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  • Merav B
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    +1 please!!!!

    we have a closed off section for partners, and we need articles from the regular open section to appear there as well.

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  • Chris C
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    +1 :  This limitation is very frustrating.  

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  • Christina
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    +1 from us also!

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  • Maggie St. Clair
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    This would be great! 

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  • Matt
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    First, the 20 MB (is it 20? or is it 10?) limitation per attachment in file storage. So when a customer randomly sends us a video of an error they're having, their attachment bounces and we have to say "yeah, our system is kinda 1990, and we're paying for this monstrosity, so can you upload it somewhere else and link it into this THING WE'RE PAYING FOR?"

    Then, it was the glitch in the Android app that sets an "internal note" back to a "public reply" when you go back and edit the text before submitting... so if you re-read it, decide to make a change, then send it... you accidentally end up sending a public reply when it should've been an internal note... (better stay on guard, aye?)

    Now, I'm going through and trying to apply a little polish to our mostly-neglected "knowledge base" page, and I find that I can't put an article into more than one category? "Beep codes", it fits into FAQs, troubleshooting, and hot topics... why can't it be linked into all 3? I found stray copies of that document in more than one category... but where is a customer going to click-into when they land on our support page?

    This has been an obviously-needed thing since even before 2012... I think few people care about forum topics, but what about the article categories? Come on.

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  • PaulKyle
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    plus plus . Such a basic feature that was requested from the beginning of the Help Center, and Andrew Dahl said was on the "roadmap" years ago. 

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  • Maxime Vannier
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    I was about to choose Zendesk but this topic made me think twice about it. I can't imagine myself having to copy past the same article 5 times. This feature has been asked since 2012!

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  • Jimmy Rufo
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    Our use case:

    We are a software company, and we acknowledge that some customers may search in different ways.  We wanted to create two areas for a user to search in;  Search by content type across all applications (training videos, FAQ articles, etc.), and search for a specific application's content by Application name.

    Because of this limitation, we really can't incorporate this due to our need to use the same articles in both areas.

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  • Tony
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    Good use case Jimmy.

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  • Jimmy Rufo
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    I don't work for Zendesk, I am a customer.  I was just explaining my use case for this enhancement getting released, just like the others on this thread.  I am voicing my feedback just like you Tony...

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  • Tony
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    It is a good use case for sure Jimmy. It does not matter what customers say because they won't do it, which is a shame.

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  • Steve Wiseman
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    I have a few comments on this thread.

    1. @Sue. We have created an app to integrate Zendesk and Madcap Flare. Please see https://sales.contextengage.com/hc/en-us/articles/212287945. App is in beta but will be released soon. I honestly think the combination gives the best of both worlds - authoring and the delivery to the full support ecosystem
    2. I have been a tech writer for 20 years before becoming a Zendesk partner. The majority of the cases where customers want to use the same article in multiple areas can normally be avoided. It's not good practice. Sometimes a better HC structure and some creative thinking can avoid this use. Even if Zendesk were to allow duplicating articles, I would be recommending against it. 

      Don't forget it also makes Search less useful for a customer when the same content appears multiple times. I'm happy to help people think thru their structure to try to avoid it.

      Even when you have restricted content, I still think there is nearly always a better way than duplicated content.
    3. @Maxime. If you need to copy the same article 5 times, I really think there must be a better structure.
    4. @Jimmy. If I understood your use case properly, there is a solution to your Search request. I'd need to speak to our developers but between regular Search, Labels and coding, it's possible you can get exactly what you want. 

    If anyone wants to reach out to me, please engage chat on www.contextengage.com

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  • Maxime Vannier
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    @steve

    We have 5 different features that need the same second and third steps to be activated. It makes perfect sense to have the same articles displayed 5 times in my helpscout knowledge base. 

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  • Christian Colding
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    Hi Maxime,

    I'm very curious to hear a bit more about your use case. You mention that you have the same steps for 5 different features. What do you mean by steps? Do you see the steps as separate articles?

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  • Dana Fine
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    We also have use cases for having articles appear in multiple sections for different categories.  We have product training videos that we want to appear in a section in that category for each product.  Then we have separate product categories in which we have a section for that particular product training videos.

    There are MANY use cases for having articles appear in multiple categories.

    --Dana

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  • Maxime Vannier
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    @Christian

    We are developping a SaaS with a rather complicated administration and a knowledge base that goes with it. 

    To use one of our "app", you need to create a project. In this project, you can add as many features as you want. It is the features you choose in your project that will determinate the "app" you are using. Many features are common to all the apps but some features can only be used in one app.

    My knowledge base is divided by apps because the way you choose your features won't be the same depending on the app you want to create. Also, some features have to be activated before you create a project. There are as many common articles as there are common features.

    I don't know if I'm being clear... Long story short, there are very different apps with common features and a common base.

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  • Jonathan Collins
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    I'm trying not to become disillusioned, but I posted to this ~a year ago, have been following and watching this grow and grow and have never had any commitment from ZD that this feature is ever going to come to fruition.  I'm at the point that I, regrettably,  am starting consider other options as I approach the end of my contract period.

    I love a lot of things about ZD, but for my use case, this is an enormous amount of work every time we have a software of product release.

    Hey Zendesk, should we just give up on hoping this will be developed?

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  • Steve Wiseman
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    @Maxime. There are often multiple uses for content in an article. Why cannot you just link to the article each time you need it for each feature. I don't believe this reduces the customer experience as linking is acceptable. I think it's preferable to repeated content. 

    Please explain why this would not be applicable to your requirements. I'm happy to think this through with you if you want - swiseman@contextengage.com

    @Jonathan. Same comment to you. 

    Our app mentioned in my comment above allows a lot more "advanced" content solutions such as variables, conditional text, PDF delivery and the reusable content (that us being discussed here). Link is above if you want to look.

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  • Maxime Vannier
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    @Steve

    To the eye of a customer, it's not repeated content as they only go through the category they need for the product they are using.

    If I use links instead of multiple articles, I should direct my readers toward a first article, then get them to click on a link in that article that opens another article in a complete different area, then make them come back to where they were before?

    I don't think that would be a great customer experience.

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  • Steve Wiseman
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    @Maxime.

    Let's say you have Prerequisites, it's normal then to link to other pages. Also, if you have Best Practices, you often list the main topics and link to the relevant sections for the detailed instructions. Maybe opening the topic in a different tab would help as they only need to close, not go back. 

    The CX issue is with the Search. When you have multiple articles to the same Search query, the Search becomes kind of useless in the end.

    However, I get your point. Let me slightly change my point. I think in the vast majority of cases, duplication can and should be avoided. However, there may be cases where it's unavoidable. 

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  • Maxime Vannier
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    @Steve

    You've probably never used Helpscout. One article can be found in several categories and that's an easy thing to do. So when you search for an article which has been posted to multiple sections, there's only one copy of it. It's true though that Helpscout has to choose one category to display the article in, but I don't think that's much of a problem: if a user was searching for this particular feature rather than a whole application (displayed as a section), it probably means that s/he just needed to know more about this particular feature. For the record, I'm thinking about leaving Helpscout because there can't be sections in categories.

    I'm expecting users to use the side navigation menu in Zendesk to navigate through the articles. Having links in the beginning or end of articles will just look like a mess.

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  • Priyanka Jain
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    we would love to be able to have articles live independently and show up in multiple sections + categories instead of creating duplicate articles and having to keep them all updated. many of the articles are the same across categories but the categories are visible to different sets of users.

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  • Michael Dennis
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    There seems to be this kludge as a possible workaround:

    https://support.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/articles/224924108?page=1#comment_115000004308

    Frankly that is convoluted and would be very hard to maintain.  

    What is really needed here is an additional feature that allows a single Article to be published into multiple Sections.  Consider our example.

    Our category/section/article hierarchy is:

    Categories:

    • Announcements 
    • Knowledgebase 
    • FAQ

    Each has the same sections based on our 7 products. Then relevant articles in each section. Most of the time an article fits cleanly into a single Section.

    We REALLY need for Articles to be able to be published in multiple Sections. We specifically do not want to have 2+ articles that are copy/pasted and then published into the various sections. For obvious reasons when they need to be updated.

    A secondary (nice to have) would be to enable a given section to show up in multiple categories.  For us typically KBAs and FAQ, though may also be Announcements too.

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  • Tony Roma
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    @Michael: Do you have breadcrumbs above the article content? I'm wondering what that would look like with an article posted in multiple sections.

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  • Patrick Morgan
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    @Tony,

    My use case for this ability is nearly identical to Michael's.

    In regards to breadcrumbs, my thought would be to show separate breadcrumbs for each place the article lives. In the event of more than 2 or 3 trails, there could be an ellipsis or "other" link to expand and show all trails.

    An example breadcrumbs component might look something like:

    Help Center > Category 1 > Section A > Article X
    Help Center > Category 2 > Section B > Article X
    Other...[link to expand and show more]

    I can see how this might look better or worse depending on your HC styling, but it seems like a potential workable experience for users.

     

    *Edit: Not sure if this is possible with the workaround Michael offered. Just a thought for the Product Managers.

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  • Peter
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    I seriously don't understand why this is so hard. 

    1. Allow dynamic linking of article CONTENT so that one article is the source of truth. 

    2. Each article are unique articles, thus breadcrumbs will be through the correct category -> section

    3. When someone searches for some content in the article, it links to the source of truth, but display a note beside the article that this article is also in X other sections. 

    Basic product design should empathize with the users and their specific workflow and use-case. We need this feature because there are 2 primary methods by which users browse self-service Help Center articles: 

    A. They are new to the product and are reading through a whole section as a traditional manual. 

    B. They don't know how to do X thus they use the search function. 

    It looks like many people need articles in multiple places so that we can get accurate source control on the SAME EXACT ACTION for multiple Categories/Products/User-Roles/etc etc. That is a MUST for workflow A. 

    The "duplicate" search isn't a problem for workflow B because if even if the user clicks on the article in the wrong "section", they will still be able to do what they want to do! (There are other small fixes that can improve the transition between the two workflows such as notifying the user that this article is for multiple products, but whether that's done in the actual article content or a separate notice in a unique element for articles that are duplicated can be totally up to the help center maintainers)

    How about a little faith in how much user research that WE have done to try to optimize the help process. Listen to your users, we're really trying to help you. 

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