Helphub Spec

At the WCSF community summit in October, one of the things we discussed was a support “hub” –  affectionately called “helphub” by @ipstenu – to replace support-related Codex pages and to act as the front page of WordPress support, likely living in front of the wordpress.orgWordPress.org The community site where WordPress code is created and shared by the users. This is where you can download the source code for WordPress core, plugins and themes as well as the central location for community conversations and organization. https://wordpress.org//support forums. In many ways, helphub is meant to mirror similar efforts by other organizations, like Apple, Disqus, GoogleMailChimp, Media TempleMozilla, and countless others. Below is a general overview of what we talked about to get things started.

Goals

Helphub has a few goals:

  • Replace support content (mostly on the Codex) with high quality, easy-to-understand articles.
  • Create a searchable repository that makes it easy for users to find content.
  • Reduce the amount of support forumSupport Forum WordPress Support Forums is a place to go for help and conversations around using WordPress. Also the place to go to report issues that are caused by errors with the WordPress code and implementations. https://en.forums.wordpress.com/. posts by making it easier to find answers in helphub.
  • Provide a reference that support forum volunteers can link to for common questions

Stakeholders

The major stakeholders in the project are:

  • the support team – it will be tightly integrated with the support forum
  • the docs team – who will write and maintain the content
  • the metaMeta Meta is a term that refers to the inside workings of a group. For us, this is the team that works on internal WordPress sites like WordCamp Central and Make WordPress. team – who will build and maintain the site

Solutions

To meet the goals listed above, we discussed two solutions:

  • A “knowledge-base”-style support section with high quality articles.
  • A powerful search feature for the knowledge base.

At the same time, it will be important to improve the support forums in ways that complement helphub.

Components

Helphub consists of three components:

  1. Content
  2. A knowledge base on WordPress.org
  3. Search

Content (Articles)

The success of helphub rests on great content. In order to generate this content we will:

  • Review analytics from the Codex to determine the most viewed pages.
  • Review analytics from the support forums to see what questions are most asked.
  • Ask support volunteers to generate a list of the articles they would find most useful
  • Ask WordPress businesses that provide support to their customers what the most common questions are.
  • From the above analytics, create a list of the top n articles that need to get written.
  • Put together a standard template for knowledge base articles.
  • Put together a KB style guide.
  • Start writing articles with end users in mind.

Until the knowledge base is built, we will need to host this content somewhere. There should be at least 15 articles created before the design phase starts, to provide the designer with content to work with.

Knowledge Base

The knowledge base should have the following features:

  • Good integration with the forums:
    • For example, a link that says “Still have questions? Click here to ask your question to a volunteer in the support forums.”
    • When a user starts typing a question in the support forum, a list of possible KB articles should be suggested.
    • A solid taxonomyTaxonomy A taxonomy is a way to group things together. In WordPress, some common taxonomies are category, link, tag, or post format. https://codex.wordpress.org/Taxonomies#Default_Taxonomies. system. Content should be flagged according to experience level (e.g., beginner, advanced, etc) and it should also be tagged with specific areas (e.g. wp-config, media, multisiteMultisite Multisite is a WordPress feature which allows users to create a network of sites on a single WordPress installation. Available since WordPress version 3.0, Multisite is a continuation of WPMU or WordPress Multiuser project. WordPress MultiUser project was discontinued and its features were included into WordPress core.https://codex.wordpress.org/Create_A_Network.).
    • A quick way for forum volunteers to link to articles in the KB.
  • A “Did this article help you?” yes/no button to gauge the helpfulness of knowledge base articles.
  • Perhaps, the ability to leave feedback (comment) on an article. Comments would be private and allow an article editor to fix any issues.
  • A “related topics” feature.

To get to this point, we’ll need to:

  • Review other knowledge bases to determine which features work well.
  • Contact the leads of other knowledge bases (especially those in the open sourceOpen Source Open Source denotes software for which the original source code is made freely available and may be redistributed and modified. Open Source **must be** delivered via a licensing model, see GPL. community) to see what works for them.
  • Create a detailed list of features needed for our knowledge base.
  • Develop wireframes from articles (see the content section above) along with our feature list.
  • Create mockups from the wireframes.
  • Determine the appropriate WordPress pluginPlugin A plugin is a piece of software containing a group of functions that can be added to a WordPress website. They can extend functionality or add new features to your WordPress websites. WordPress plugins are written in the PHP programming language and integrate seamlessly with WordPress. These can be free in the WordPress.org Plugin Directory https://wordpress.org/plugins/ or can be cost-based plugin from a third-party/theme structure.
  • Develop a WordPress plugin to run our knowledge base.
  • Develop the mockups into a WordPress theme.

After this, we’ll need to fill the knowledge base with the content above.

Search

Good search is crucial to a good knowledge base. We will need something more powerful than the current search on WordPress.org. Rather, we should use elastic search to provide the best answers for users. To ship an effective search engine:

  • Determine the best search engine to use.
  • Develop the search engine.
  • Test and tweak the search engine.

We’ll probably rely a variety of other elastic search users to make this possible.

#helphub, #spec