Story

Document Your Features

Jan 30, 2016

Recently, I discovered that a specific feature was causing confusion for almost everyone who used it. This feature was originally called “Blocks”, then “Project Blocks”, then “Time Blocks”, and now finally “Workloads”. Renaming the feature is another story, but I want to talk more about the support burden caused by the confusion. Any time a user had a question about the feature, they would either email me and ask to explain it, or worse—leave without caring to learn about it.

support-pages-workloads

Not all features are as intuitive as ones like time-tracking or invoicing. You can mention either of those features to people and they get it. Workloads, on the other hand, are a different story. They’re a new feature that fixes a specific issue in my own freelancing life, so their not yet in the project management vocabulary. Because of this, Workloads require an explanation instead of the user learning it through context.

After answering enough of these support emails and realizing the core problem, I decided it was time to build a proper support page. This was long overdue, but somehow it ended up on the list of high priorities that feel like low priorities. This support page should alleviate any need for the user to contact support. It should explain the purpose of Workloads and run through the steps to create a Workload, including screenshots for each step.

support-pages-workloads-page

After finishing the Workloads support page, announcing it to users, and reading the responses, I could clearly see that these support pages are valuable. Not everyone is a learn-through-experience type of user—most users rely on proper documentation. Because of this, I now need to go through the backlog of features that need support pages and tackle a few each week as part of my routine. Consider this another aspect of what makes an app a real app and less of a side project.

support-pages-sketch

These types of pages tend to change over time, along with their images and image sizes, so I decided to save each one as a Sketch file. Each image on the page is an artboard with export settings to match the size of the website design. With this setup, I’m able to retain the hi-res screenshots along with the ability to re-export everything if the design or feature ever changes.

I actually look forward to building the rest of the support pages because they really give the website more depth. I can confidently point a user to one and know that they’ll get the answers they seek. This goes a long way towards the legitimacy of the app and shaves a few minutes off my usual support load.

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Archive

  1. Restructuring an Evolving App: Part 1
    Design
  2. My Typical Week as a Founder
    Story
  3. Building Components in a Sandbox
    Dev
  4. Reactive Time with Vue.js
    Dev
  5. Visualizing Daylight Saving Time
    Dev
  6. Recording Screencast GIFs
    Dev
  7. Writing a Job Listing
    Story
  8. Using Feature Flags to Run Betas
    Dev
  9. Our First Company Lunch
    Story
  10. How to embed Vue.js & Vuex inside an AngularJS app... wait what?
    Dev
  11. Funding Cushion
    Story
  12. Hiring a Team of Freelancers
    Story
  13. Taking a Real Break From Work
    Story
  14. Slack as a Notification Center
    Dev
  15. Document Your Features
    Story
  16. 300
    Story
  17. Vacations
    Design
  18. Offering Discounts
    Design
  19. Waves of Traffic
    Story
  20. Less Blogging, More Journaling
    Story
  21. Retention Through Useful Features
    Design
  22. The Onboarding Checklist
    Design
  23. Spreading the Word
    Story
  24. From Beta to Launch - The Subdomain
    Dev
  25. From Beta to Launch - Sign up
    Design
  26. From Beta to Launch - Messaging
    Design
  27. Launch
    Story
  28. Authenticating with 3rd Party Services
    Dev
  29. Intro to Integrations
    Design
  30. Inspiration vs Imitation
    Story
  31. The Emotional Rollercoaster
    Story
  32. Designing Project Blocks
    Design
  33. Everything in Increments
    Story
  34. Deleting Your Account
    Design
  35. Designing the Subscription Page
    Design
  36. Rewriting the Timeline
    Dev
  37. Restructuring the Individual Project Page
    Design
  38. Project Blocks
    Story
  39. Redesigning the Homepage
    Design
  40. Multiple Timelines
    Design
  41. Archiving and Estimate Differences
    Design
  42. Multiple Financial Goals
    Design
  43. Zooming in on the Timeline
    Design
  44. Currency
    Dev
  45. Preferences, Accounts, and a Typeface Change
    Design
  46. Sending Out the First Email
    Story
  47. Currency Inputs, Notifications, and Invoice Nets
    Design
  48. Dots and Lines
    Design
  49. Calculating in the Database and Revealing Tendencies
    Dev
  50. Improved Form UX
    Design
  51. Cushion is Online
    Story
  52. Schedule Timeline Patterns
    Design
  53. A Slimmer Schedule Timeline
    Design
  54. The Schedule Timeline
    Design
  55. Plugging in Real Data for the First Time
    Design
  56. Transitions and Project Lists
    Design
  57. Death to Modals
    Design
  58. The Individual Project Page
    Design
  59. Estimated Incomes and Talks with Other Freelancers
    Story
  60. Statuses to Lists and the Paid Beta
    Story
  61. The Timeline
    Story
  62. Invoice Terminology
    Dev
  63. Modal Forms
    Dev
  64. Wiring the Backend to the Frontend
    Dev
  65. Balancing Design and Dev
    Story
  66. Timecop, Monocle, and Vagrant
    Dev
  67. Going with Ruby and Sinatra
    Dev
  68. Ditching local-first and trying out Node.js
    Dev
  69. Switching to AngularJS
    Dev
  70. Building the Table with Vue.js
    Dev
  71. Clients, Projects, and Invoices
    Dev
  72. Introduction
    Story

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