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