I work for a university system, whose faculty/staff splits time between hand-coding websites, and using a Drupal CMS. I have been tasked to help them learn the CMS, since it's not native to about 80% of the staff. I started creating a landing page FAQ. enter image description here

It's a rough design, but the intent are for icons to help them identify similar functions, and a lock capability to show them which abilities they have access to or not. Here's my problem, I've looked over the help desk tickets to generalize these categories, and there are over 60 unique topics. Going beyond content, reports, user management, and media. And the thing about knowledge bases are that no two people learn the same. I'm looking for ideas to present all the topics in a mobile friendly/responsive way, while leaving room to add more topics as their training expands, while still creating a decent user experience so they don't run away from the excess information.

I thought about an FAQ, but a list of 60+ questions seems overwhelming. I thought about crowd-sourcing the knowledgebase, with a single search field, ala stack overflow ask questions. Hrm, that might be a good idea? I am looking for a direction, and thanks in advance. PS. Unable to outsource, or pay for a solution. Thanks!

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    A wiki? Also, condolences for having to use Drupal. – DA01 Jan 8 '14 at 19:05
  • Hah, thanks! Ikr on Drupal! A wiki never crossed my mind for the general staffers, albeit that's what my department uses. /facepalm. I'll start researching some ux-friendly wiki's, and hold off on designing a brand new ux. – gamengineers Jan 8 '14 at 19:09
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    My old workplace used Dokuwiki. It's free and integrates with most SSO solutions. It's fairly flexible and I don't recall any terrible usability issues. The open source nature of it is particularly nice for a university environment. If you're interested, you can find it here. – Travis Jan 10 '14 at 1:11

Yes, a wiki is a step in the wrong direction. You don't need another CMS-esque website that they have to learn how to use. If you feel a need to do a wiki, you should try to use Drupal so they can see how it works.

You do have to realize that you can't—and shouldn't—include every single thing someone has needed help with. Do simple tutorials instead.

It seems like you need to have two parts that you need to build:

Quick Start: A simple set of tutorials that show them how to create a simple post and add images. Show them how to format text and edit previous posts.

Then, introduce them to tagging and explain carefully how it should be used.

Each of these tutorials should ideally be both a video for them to watch and a written "transcript" of the video with pictures that they can print out and read or watch online, depending on their style.

The important part is to get them started with hands on experience. I would suggest creating a sandbox for them to mess around with without fear of messing anything up. Also, for your actual deployment, you should have backups (and stress this aspect to the users). They may be lenient in fear of deleting another's work.

Quick Links: This is useful even after migration... It's one central place to do common tasks like creating a post or visiting the homepage of the site.

It's important to keep it short and concise. If you must add lots of content, only add the most important to the homepage and employ a search. If they have questions still, you may have to redirect then to a forum to get their answer or contact you.

  • Thanks - I'm no longer at the university - but this is useful information I'll pass onto my team that will handle this. – gamengineers Apr 20 '15 at 19:31

At the risk of sounding like a curmudgeon, going straight to Wiki may be side-stepping the task you were given. It's been a year since you asked, so if you've already got the Wiki going, it's never too late to try a card-sort and see if you can edit the wiki to reflect the result. Providing access to the information users need is an important step to increasing CMS adoption.

You can enter your 60 topics as cards into a card-sorting tool such as OptimalSort, then conduct an open card sort (not a closed card sort) to get very clear data about how your university's CMS users would group these topics.

You mentioned, above, that you had no budget to speak of. OptimalSort is inexpensive for one month. You can prepare and test your whole card-sort study BEFORE you pay, run the study for one month, and then AFTER the month continue to access and analyse the results.

Disclaimer: I have no relationship with Optimal Workshop — except that I'm a long-time, occasional user of OptimalSort. I can tell you this product is robust, usable, well supported with instructions, demos, and Twitter replies. ;)

And, of course, there are other card-sorting choices.

The important thing: help your users find the content they need. I hope my suggestion helps.

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