When you open Bronto Help today, you’ll notice things look a little different. Ok, maybe things look very different. We’ve replaced Bronto’s online Help with a completely rebuilt customer Knowledge Base.

Cool! Why?

A couple of years ago, we released the latest online Help to “help you quickly and easily find the information you need.” It was an improvement, but had the same usability problem most online help systems do – you either have to know exactly what to search for or you have to hunt through a dense table of contents. This was one of the reasons we introduced the Learning Center tab in March. The Learning Center tab provides access to Help content in manageable, context-sensitive chunks within the platform. Integrating a context-sensitive table of contents gave us the freedom to reimagine what the help system could be. We wanted to create an experience that was fast, complete, useful and intuitive. The new Knowledge Base is meant to address the needs of our novice and power users. And, yes, it also had to be pretty.

Quickly and Easily Find Information

A lot of modern knowledge bases rely on search as the primary means of finding content. We’ve emphasized search too and think search experts will love the experience. But search-based navigation only gives great results when you know what to search for. We all know how frustrating that can be, particularly when you’re a new user who hasn’t had a chance to learn what things are called yet. So, in addition to search, the Knowledge Base provides two other primary types of navigation. First, the top navigation organizes content in terms of things you want to do. We deliberately provide broad, action-oriented words here. The idea is, if you think, “I want to...” this navigation will lead you down the right path. Next, on the home page, icon-based navigation divides content into Bronto functional areas. This is closer to the old Help organization. When you’re looking for more information on a subject (e.g. deliveries or lists) you can click a home page topic to access the Help for a subject in one place. Whether you search or use the top navigation or home page navigation, it should never take more than a couple of clicks to find the content you need.

Manageable Table of Contents

The Knowledge Base also provides a table of contents navigation on every topic page. Unlike the old, endless table of contents, the Knowledge Base table of contents is limited to topics related to the knowledge base area you’re in. This creates a scannable table of contents that lets you quickly see what other topics might be of interest. You can click on a title in the table of contents to reveal other topics nested underneath.

Ohhh, Pretty

Sure, pretty as a goal sounds silly, but visual design is a critical component of intuitiveness. In every design feedback session, we heard, “Wow, there’s a lot of content here.” We’ve added a couple things, but the topic content is largely the same. It’s the design that lets you see and engage with all of the content in a way the old Help never could. This includes:
  • Providing scannability with the inclusion of the top navigation.
  • Promoting readability by placing the topic content on the left.
  • Visual indicators like green text in the breadcrumb and table of contents that help you see where you are in the knowledge base.
With these improvements, we think the new Knowledge Base isn’t just another pretty face, but the self-help experience you’ve been waiting for. Check it out and tell us what you think.