Knowledge base

Soon after moving to New Zealand in 2018, I took on a short-term technical writing contract at Deane Apparel.

Deane is a garment manufacturer and supplier in New Zealand and Australia. One of their key differentiators in the NZ/AU market is SILK, a uniform management system. Their clients can manage and track uniform allocations using this system.

The log-in screen for SILK by Deane Apparel

As part of bringing this feature to the market, I created the initial technical documentation, including:

  • Release notes
  • Step-by-step guides with screenshots
  • Glossary
  • Troubleshooting
  • FAQ

Process

First, I explored the system, noting its features and options in a Microsoft Word document. I asked the development team a lot of questions at this stage.

Then I researched a few CMS solutions. The team and I agreed on Confluence because it’s integrated with Jira, which the development team already used.

In Confluence I created a new knowledge base, created templates for different kinds of pages, and started seeding the content. I used content fragments to reuse certain content across the site where necessary.

After I had documented most of the system, I conducted user testing sessions to find any potential UX issues in the knowledge base, including searching and understanding the instructions.

Finally, I sent the knowledge base for SME review to find technical inaccuracies.

One of the requirements was a customised help guide in PDF format for flagship clients. I tagged client-specific content, and created a PDF export setting in Confluence to export the content for only that client.

Before finishing my contract, I trained the team how to maintain Confluence and showed them templates they could use to add to the knowledge base as their product evolved.

See for yourself

See the knowledge base online

Or, you can download an excerpt of the user help guide as a PDF:

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