Like almost every site out there, we have a Help section on our site.  But I wanted to know – was it really helping?

There were almost 20 pages, and contained everything from a site map, to account management help.  The former tech writer in me believed the section was not helpful, and the production manager in me hated keeping it up to date. It would have been easy to just rewrite the whole thing – and earlier in my career, I might have done just that!  But this time, I took a more holistic approach.

I started by analyzing the metrics on the site.  Sure enough, drop off from the Help landing page to any other content page was extreme – about 75%.  In addition, some pages were hardly getting any hits at all, which either meant folks couldn’t find them, or they weren’t useful.

Then, I examined the structure of the content.  There were pages that were largely duplicated so that different content would be displayed for different users. But the content was so similar that with a little rewriting, the content could be shared across all users, thus reducing maintenance.

Next, I talked to legal.  There was content in this section that I felt to be unnecessary,  and I wanted to remove it completely.  But, it turns out it was there to protect our company, so it was going to stay.  But legal did agree it could be combined, or made less visible, so that helped me in my quest.

Finally, I drafted my proposed content, and sent it to review to our call center team.  After they provided their edits, we published.

This activity JUST happened, so I don’t have any metrics to report back.  But I do know that the page count in this section dropped from 20+ to 8, and the number of clicks required to find content dropped from 4 to 2.

Case Study: Help?
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