“I was so excited when I found out we won this award because, apparently, winning things feels awesome.” That’s how I started my acceptance speech for the 2017 LavaCon Content Impact Award. Of course, winning an award is awesome, and having your peers believe in the work that we’re doing is an amazing feeling, but the real reward is knowing that we’re doing an award-winning job of helping our customers. For those who don’t know, LavaCon is a yearly conference where content strategists, documentation managers and other content professionals gather to share their best practices and lessons learned. At the closing session of LavaCon Las Vegas 2016, we were issued a challenge: Return to your organizations, apply what you learned and come back next year ready to share what impact you made. They wanted to know specifically how our work attained positive results, so we shared the story of how our Help experience has evolved over the past year.

Putting a New Spin on Asking for Help

We’ve made many improvements to Bronto Help over the past year, all of which contributed to our win. We introduced a new Help tab that includes different types of educational tools and released a completely redesigned customer knowledge base to name a few. Now, we’re working on building out an interactive learning program (blog post on that coming soon!) LavaCon, or more aptly, the ideas and stories of the people who present at and attend the conference, provided much of the inspiration for these projects. One of the things that’s been most interesting when attending LavaCon is seeing the intersection of UX design and technical communications thought leadership. At my first LavaCon back in 2015, I wondered, “What if we took UX user-centered design principles and applied them to our documentation?” What does that mean? It means we’re trying to make the Help experience intuitive and natural – to make sure the content you need is right there when you need it. When we release a new feature, big or small, we consider what the experience of learning it will be like and what types of educational materials will best teach it. We’re shifting content organization from being platform-based to user experience-based, and searching for solutions to questions like, “What are you thinking when you search for help?” We want to use the right industry terms to help clarify Bronto terminology. And most of all, we want to make the Help experience simple and efficient so you can find what you need and get back to work. We saw evidence of user experience improvements after the Help tab was released, so when LavaCon began accepting submissions for the Content Impact Awards, we shared our story and won Best in Show!