Better wikis: the most popular design adjustments – usability optimizations

A wiki deployed in a business definitely needs various design customizations, such as adapting it to match the company’s corporate design. Nowadays,  even more customization tasks have become standard. The objectives: user acceptance and employee engagement. In my first post, I talked about marketing measures for the wiki with the aid of design. Here we’ll look at optimizing usability. These are some elements, which we frequently implement in Confluence projects.

Main navigation bar

No wiki destined to be rolled out in a company leaves our design department without a custom main navigation bar. True, this might not quite conform with the fundamental idea of a wiki, as the content – unlike that on a website – grows very dynamically and organically, rendering fixed navigation impossible. But in reality, less enthusiastic wiki users recognize this element from the internet as an important navigation tool. And for these users in particular, the navigation menu helps them take their first steps.

In addition, this kind of menu also provides orientation and an overview of how the wiki is fundamentally structured. //SEIBERT/MEDIA has developed a Confluence app that lets you quickly and easily create and edit the main navigation menu and submenus – the Navigation Menu Editor.

Toolbar for the most important elements

Confluence offers a great many functions which can thoroughly bamboozle inexperienced users. For those very users who wish to quickly find and read existing information in the wiki, who want to further process the contents (e.g. export or print a page) and who mainly use the less complex functions, it makes sense to let them access important features from the menus and position them prominently on every page.

Limit searches to specific spaces

The search in Confluence is a central function which gives you very good results. In our designs, we frequently improve the search function – when you type a query into the search field, you can immediately define the space in which to search.

Footer: Quick access to other tools

Footers are popular on websites, and are now slowly becoming standard in intranets and wikis – they let users access important information from any page. This only makes sense if the information is general and relevant to all users. In practice, this usually means links to systems such as the intranet’s main page, information about wiki support, links to helpful tools like a timetracker or, to the most important space landing pages.

Back-to-top button

Many wiki pages are very long, and it’s a pain to have to scroll back up to the top when you’ve finished reading through it because that’s where the edit button or the favorite button is located (not everyone knows the keyboard shortcut ‘E’). A simple way to solve this usability problem is a back-to-top button which appears automatically at the end of every page. Such a small customization with great results.

Conclusion

Good usability is a crucial success factor for every system. And especially in a wiki which is based on voluntarily sharing, usability flaws seriously hinder employee acceptance. With relatively little effort, problems can be cleverly solved and good conditions created for excellent user experiences in the wiki.

Do you have questions about implementing a wiki or an intranet system? Or perhaps you want to extend your existing system? Do you need help with customizing the interface and engaging employees? We’d love to work together with you establish goals for your custom wiki design and find out how best to meet your requirements – perhaps by running a design workshop with you. Contact us – no obligations!

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Further information

Content design for wikis: Customization options for ease of use
Wiki and intranet design workshops by //SEIBERT/MEDIA
Launch campaigns drive the success of company wikis
Factors for the success of wikis: Organization is the key
Implement your corporate design easily in Confluence