The following item was written by WebWorks sharing their latest developments.
Silos started innocently enough, departments tried to categorize content to make it easier to manage and optimize search. You have a metric ton of information to look through, so let’s silo it in to categories and that will help a customer navigate through it. Looks good on paper, but the problem with these silos is that they often lead the customer to a dead end. They were finished with one topic/product and wanted to continue to look for answers, but the silo ceiling was reached and therefore, so was the end of the path. The unfortunate result of this scenario is a poor customer experience and lost revenue for the company.
Customers today are more informed and have an expectation that information, ALL information, should be available to them before, during and after they make a purchase. Today’s informed consumer hate silos. So much so they will never consider you for a purchase if you lead them to a dead end on their informational journey.
WebWorks found an answer to the silo dead end with Spot Light Search. We were looking at how to incorporate API documentation in to traditional help. Here was the scenario – a company has traditional help and everything contained within. They also have API documentation. It is impossible to get the API documentation on the same release schedule as the traditional help, so the two silos are created. The company’s development team uses Doxygen to produce the API documentation output (HTML posted on a Webserver for access). The company’s technical documentation department use FrameMaker and ePublisher to create the traditional help (HTML posted on a Webserver). All sounds good so far, until a customer is in the traditional help looking for the API documentation, or in the API documentation looking for some clarification. In comes Spotlight Search to the rescue.
The concept behind Spotlight Search is simple, the traditional help set will be the one stop shop for all of the customer’s questions. When searching in the traditional help set, the customer will get results that include all materials available. This includes, API docs, PDFs, even wiki information which now can be posted in search results. Spotlight Search also gives the content creator the ability to weight results so they rank properly in the result list.
In order to index all of this information, the content creator only has to link to the outside content resources through the source content, or in the baggage list in ePublisher. With the links in place, while generating output, ePublisher will then crawl to the outside resources and pull that material in to the generated output to index for search results. That is all there is to it. If you can link to it, then ePublisher can index it.
The best part about this new feature is that the other departments can continue to run in the same manner. They do not need to do anything different. A simple link to the Development team’s API documentation in the source content of the traditional help will open up the access.
Mekon provide a full WebWorks template development service, for more information on how this can benefit your organisation please contact or call +44(0)208 722 8400.