Managing easy links between articles in Guide

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18 Comments

  • Nicole - Community Manager
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    Thanks for the feedback, Alexandre. We'll be interested to hear whether other users would find these functions useful as well. 

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  • Michael H
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    Oh god, yes please.

    Nicole - to which !deity do I need to offer an acceptable sacrifice to, so the first bullet point of the OP's suggestion gets into the Guide product right away?

    I'm in the middle of dragging the customer support experience of a small online grocery retailer into the enlightenment of Zendesk and integrated customer support. This has meant taking what is currently a one-page FAQ article on their website, and what I've seen from the hundreds of tickets and emails covering six months of interactions, and turning that into a proper Help Centre with useful content.

    The current model of referring to other existing published content within your Guide instance is - not to put too fine a point on it - but a complete, and utter pain in the backside.

    Essentially, you're going to keep at least two browser tabs open at any one time when creating an article:

    1. The tab for authoring the article itself, and
    2. A tab to the live Guide instance, so you can copy and paste the URL of the existing article you want to link to from the one you're creating.

    This has driven me crazy over the last three days, as all I've been doing is content creation and editing. The model for maintaining content in Guide is just so painful, it drove me (and the Zendesk Support agent I was speaking to by phone when getting up to speed on how Guide worked from an admin perspective) to complete and utter despair.

    And that's before we talk about the fact that Guide doesn't have or offer any tools for easily checking for and dealing with broken links (at least that I could find) baked into the platform. This caused me to break out a trusty small software tool I've used for over 20 years to scan for broken links within a domain, then work through any issues found one by one, until resolved and a scan comes back Ok.

    So, how could it be done better?

    The best example I know of, for how this enhancement could be done right involves my recent experience with the Jive Software platform whilst working at a Fortune 100 company for six years.

    When in the content editor, the user would either select a piece of text they want to link OR just press the link button.

    It would then display a window, where the only input (a text field) had a dual purpose.

    You could either:

    1. Paste in the URL of what you wanted to link to OR
    2. Start typing, and it would return in a result displayed below the text field article titles and content relevant to what you were searching for.

    The beauty of (2) was that if you had the link you were creating as the document title for the displayed text, whenever that article title changed - the software then under the hood would always ensure the documents current title was what was rendered on the page.

    This was a boon from a workload perspective, as it also meant that you didn't have to update downstream pages constantly when titles changed. One less laborious task, eliminated from a content managers admin duties.

    And that had additional advantages, such as allowing content authors and admins to easily see what pages had incoming links to the content they were working on (great for facilitating communications across large organisations when content or processes needed to be updated; and preventing deletes or changes that could have unexpected downstream impacts).

    So yes, for the love of all things holy, please get this done - yesterday.

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  • Nicole - Community Manager
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    Hi Michael - 

    Thanks for the detailed feedback, it's very helpful. 

    I know that the Guide team is continuing to work on improvements to the article editor, and that similar suggestions have been raised before. I'll be sure that the PM for this part of the product sees the thread. 

     

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  • Daniel Osborn
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    This would be great functionality to have.

    Please also add to the request that the links should be managed across languages, so that if an article is translated, the link is automatically updated to link to the localised version of the target and not to the original article.

    For broken links, Guide should ensure that if a link is broken, it simply isn't shown in the published page that the end user sees. In Guide itself, it needs to be highlighted as a broken link so it can be fixed or removed. The end user should never experience a broken link internally within a KB though.

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  • Fabien RIC
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    Same need here ; inside my article, I need to add links to other articles which contain more details on a subject.

    Currently I have to copy-paste the URL, which is all but a sustainable approach.

    • If I change the title of my article, the URL changes so my link will be broken.
    • I have to navigate into the help center to find my article

    The solution I would like to have is to be able, when clicking on "Link", to have a way to search for another page to link to, select it and insert the link (have a look at Confluence for a good implementation).

    I really think the article editor should be improved with this feature.

    Even you would benefit from this feature, just ask your content editors! :) (look at this article and you will understand)

    Moreover, as we can't influence the "Related articles" section (https://support.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/articles/224934288-How-is-the-Related-articles-list-in-Help-Center-populated-), you should offer an alternative and proper way to refer other articles from one article.

    BTW the related articles doesn't seem to help the user discover useful articles, as the score is only based on previous visits. It doesn't take into account if the article was helpful in the end to solve the user's problem.

    The content editors are best placed to determine which piece of content could help the user, and ultimately create a positive support experience with Zendesk, so please enable them to do so easily!

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  • Nicole - Community Manager
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    Thank you for the detailed feedback, Fabien, that's very helpful information. 

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  • Maggie Ungerboeck
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    This would be a massive time saver! A few things I'd ask to consider on this one:

    • Ability to link to an unpublished article. When we are prepping articles to be published, we may need to link to other unpublished articles. This would be helpful since you can only get to articles from Guide Manager.
    • Clearly identify when selecting the link if the article is published or unpublished. Goes with the above suggestion because you wouldn't want to add a link to a published article that goes to an unpublished article so need some type of easy identifier in the add link process.
    • Identify the segment for a link. As more granular control is allowed on who can view what articles, you need that information to make sure you are linking to an article the reader has permission to. 
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  • Emma Tett
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    How is this not a thing already!? It seems like a fairly obviously and crucial feature. I agree with others on this thread that linking is very important and also the ability to control related articles. This was suggested over 6 months ago, can you give an update on the progress or where it stands in the road map? 

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  • Nicole - Community Manager
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    Hi Emma, 

    It's not a thing already because it wasn't built into the product initially and hasn't yet been prioritized for development above other requested features for Guide, such as publishing articles to multiple sections and more levels to article organization. 

    Just to set expectations, longevity of a request is not one of the data points we use to prioritize developments. Threads with a high number of detailed comments and votes carry more weight, and just because something is requested does not mean we will be able to put it on a roadmap or backlog. We receive hundreds of requests every month and have to ruthlessly prioritize just a few dozen each quarter. Those that are most business-critical for the largest number of customers usually rise to the top of the list. 

    That being said, the Guide team is continuing to work on improvements to the article editor and other aspects of KB publishing and management. I'll continue to flag this conversation for their consideration, but have not heard of any improvements directly related to these requests for Q1. 

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  • Michael McCarthy
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    I'll definitely add another +1 to this request.

    As we're building out our help center from ~20 articles to 100+, we're running into this same issue with the difficulty of linking articles and ensuring links remain up to date and accurate.

     

    One question I do have is whether there is is a difference between linking to just the article ID or to the ID-name.  My initial tests show that:

    /hc/en-us/articles/360021396112

    and 

    /hc/en-us/articles/360021396112-Discovery-Template

    link properly to the same article.  So as I link, I'm just linking like the first example - in case the title of the article changes.

    Is there any issue that I may run into while doing this?

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  • Alex
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    + 1 for me

    I'd say this is a no brainer. I'm a bit surprised to find it is not already there to be honest, as any documentation is likely to feature links between related articles.

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  • Jesus
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    +1

    I am agree, this feauture seems to be quite obvious.

    Thanks

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  • Jeff Yager
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    +1 on this feature. The lack of this feature may be a dealbreaker in staying with Zendesk Guide.  

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  • Wim Van Edom
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    Same here. Should be a must have.

     

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  • Andy Carver
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    Yes please.

    The option to link a guide/support article to ticket seems like common sense.

     

    This could also allow track back through similar tickets too.

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  • Ben Carter
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    +1

     

    I'm evaluating Zendesk Guide now and it's basically the first thing I'm looking for. Any idea how likely this is to be implemented? Thanks.

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  • Molly Phillips
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    Yes, please add this functionality. I'm in the beginning stages of creating my Help Center and it's a pain with under 100 topics. I can't imagine not having this functionality for a Help Center larger than mine.

    Revision: I can see this as an option when I try to add a link. I'm not sure if it's an EAP addition or it just magically appeared, but it seems pretty great.

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  • Thomas D'Hoe
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    Hi,

    You can now do it via the built in feature in Guide, regarding this article.

    Regards,

    Thomas
    Zendesk Consultant @ premiumplus.io

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