How Can Help Help?

So, we are struggling with help. Just like when people ask me “What is QuickBase” and I answer “It depends. What do you do?”, when a “How do I…?” question comes, the answer typically is “It depends. What are you doing?” How do we structure help to answer this need?

Matt Hart, one of our Intuit Innovation Lab gurus, has been promoting Wiki technology, and, in particular, noted that many open source camps use this technology for help documentation. We are thinking that Wikis could provide us with an answer to our dilemma. The community would be able to collaborate and build out the help documentation with examples based on each of their specific applications. This means that help would not have the one answer on how we imagined a QuickBase feature could be used, but the “complete” answer on how the community has actually used a feature.

I’m thinking that with our active and knowledgeable forum community, this might really work for us. But what’s more important is what you think. Have you used Wikis before? Do you think this could work? Would you participate?

  • moshe

    I have used wikis, and agree that this could build into something great. some forethought should go into building a shell so we don’t end up with a scatterred mess. we need *some* structure to work within.

    [Reply]

  • moshe

    I have used wikis, and agree that this could build into something great. some forethought should go into building a shell so we don’t end up with a scatterred mess. we need *some* structure to work within.

    [Reply]

  • Jana Eggers

    Moshe, Great point… I should clarify. The structure would be something like what Help is today, as we have that to start.

    Our other ideas include categorizing the community forum information and trying to include that as well.

    The structure will be evolutionary but I think the current help structure with the addition of info from other places will get that started.

    Sound good?

    Thanks!
    Jana

    [Reply]

  • Jana Eggers

    Moshe, Great point… I should clarify. The structure would be something like what Help is today, as we have that to start.

    Our other ideas include categorizing the community forum information and trying to include that as well.

    The structure will be evolutionary but I think the current help structure with the addition of info from other places will get that started.

    Sound good?

    Thanks!
    Jana

    [Reply]

  • George Carvill

    This sounds like something that could improve the help system. However, a few caveats:
    1. QB has to monitor it to make sure incorrect information does not get posted.
    2. The search system has to be improved. I get frustrated with it now when I can’t find something. I’m never sure if it is there and I can’t find it, or if it really isn’t there.

    [Reply]

  • George Carvill

    This sounds like something that could improve the help system. However, a few caveats:
    1. QB has to monitor it to make sure incorrect information does not get posted.
    2. The search system has to be improved. I get frustrated with it now when I can’t find something. I’m never sure if it is there and I can’t find it, or if it really isn’t there.

    [Reply]

  • Jana

    George, Great points, and ones that concern me as well! Two interesting things that I’ve learned from watching Wikipedia related (not trumping, but related) to “correct”:
    1) The “correct” answer is in the eye of the beholder, meaning Wikipedia seems to go for the complete answer, so that no matter how you look at it your “correct” answer is there. I think we need to be responsible for monitoring for things that are misleading, wrong in any situation, etc.

    2) The community takes part in the watchful eye. People will “watch” certain areas and will modify posts they think are misleading or wrong. Usually there is a balance, like “I tried this, but it didn’t work for my situation… here’s my situation. [situation explained] What worked for me is…. [solution].”

    On search, definitely something we want to improve, and actually, this is one reason why I like the idea of wikis. They allow folks to put Help in their own terms. For example, some folks might call a relationship a link. By adding to the help the explainations in their own language this will mean that we aren’t just relying on our interpretation of what a feature should be called for it to hit in a search.

    Do these thoughts make sense? I want to learn from your experience, so we do it right!

    [On a related note, I've thought about adding a "marketing" wiki, so we can figure out how different folks describe QuickBase. There are so many perspectives that we can't come up with all of them, so wouldn't it be cool to have marketing built by all the folks that use it. You could address a market of folks like you much better than I ever could!]

    [Reply]

  • Jana

    George, Great points, and ones that concern me as well! Two interesting things that I’ve learned from watching Wikipedia related (not trumping, but related) to “correct”:
    1) The “correct” answer is in the eye of the beholder, meaning Wikipedia seems to go for the complete answer, so that no matter how you look at it your “correct” answer is there. I think we need to be responsible for monitoring for things that are misleading, wrong in any situation, etc.

    2) The community takes part in the watchful eye. People will “watch” certain areas and will modify posts they think are misleading or wrong. Usually there is a balance, like “I tried this, but it didn’t work for my situation… here’s my situation. [situation explained] What worked for me is…. [solution].”

    On search, definitely something we want to improve, and actually, this is one reason why I like the idea of wikis. They allow folks to put Help in their own terms. For example, some folks might call a relationship a link. By adding to the help the explainations in their own language this will mean that we aren’t just relying on our interpretation of what a feature should be called for it to hit in a search.

    Do these thoughts make sense? I want to learn from your experience, so we do it right!

    [On a related note, I've thought about adding a "marketing" wiki, so we can figure out how different folks describe QuickBase. There are so many perspectives that we can't come up with all of them, so wouldn't it be cool to have marketing built by all the folks that use it. You could address a market of folks like you much better than I ever could!]

    [Reply]

  • Doug

    Fixing bugs would improve QuickBase.
    Where can customers report QuickBase bugs?
    I’ve spent too much time looking for this.
    - Doug

    [Reply]

  • Doug

    Fixing bugs would improve QuickBase.
    Where can customers report QuickBase bugs?
    I’ve spent too much time looking for this.
    - Doug

    [Reply]