One Reason Nobody Uses Your Salesforce Documentation

Posted by Jonathan DeVore

Even though you documented everything with pictures, annotations, and clear text, a common situation you will find is that end users don't reference your documentation.

All of that time invested in creating a knowledge base, yet you continue to waste time fielding the same questions about how to do something in Salesforce (or you get crummy results because folks aren't following directions).

One reason might be that your articles are too long, making it difficult to find relevant information or see important details. To solve this problem, I recommend breaking up long articles that cover a few topics and/or tasks, into mini articles that each answer one specific question.

Articles shouldn't be too long

This is not an everlasting truth - but it is best practice the majority of the time.

Here's an example of an article from my Salesforce knowledge base that was too long. When I wrote it, I figured I would cover adding, removing, and reorganizing the tabs in the top navigation of Salesforce. But after I read through it, I realized it covered too much.

How to Add, Remove, and Arrange Tabs (objects) in top navigation

Click the + button

Click Customize My Tabs

Add the tab

  1. Click the tab you want to add
  2. Click the add arrow
  3. Click save

Remove tabs

  1. Click the tab you want to remove
  2. Click the remove arrow
  3. Click save

Move tab location

If you want to rearrange where the tabs show up along the top navigation, you can do that in the customize my tabs menu.

Move the tab up or down

  1. Select the tab
  2. Click up or down
  3. Click Save

The article is too long, a little confusing, and if an end user wanted to see just how to rearrange the tabs (not add or remove tabs), he/she would have to read through a lot of information that wasn't pertinent - which means he/she may never find the content. The result is that the end user will either ask me how to do it, or not do it at all.

Break the article up

I decided that this one article should really be three separate, shorter, more specific articles. So I broke them up into the following articles:

Below is a short video that shows how I did it using ScreenSteps. All I have to do is drag and drop the steps to new articles and my knowledge base is instantly updated.

So if your articles are getting a little long, think about breaking them up into miniature articles, each answering one specific question.

The key to useful documentation

The key to making documentation useful is to make it answer end users' questions - the more specific you can be, the better. In the past, documentation has been pretty general or all encompassing because it took too long to write a lot of little articles. But that's no longer the case.

Writing documentation is easy, so write as much of it as you can, be as specific as you can, and your end users will reference it much more often.

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Topics: Salesforce documentation tips