User Support

The Online Accessibility Pandemic

It’s becoming increasingly clear that online retailers are losing out on billions of dollars in revenue because their websites don’t meet the needs of disabled shoppers. Unsurprisingly, more than two-thirds of disabled online customers click away from sites they find difficult to use, despite the total spending power of this market in the UK hitting £17.1bn [$23.3 billion USD].

This isn’t something that will just automatically improve as technology advances. In fact, the problem has become worse in recent years, as businesses shift to digital it exacerbates the difficulties that many people have.

Research finds IT support positively transformed by pandemic as challenges accelerate innovation and agility

14 September 2021. The perception of IT support has dramatically improved thanks to the successful response of service desks to the pandemic, lockdowns and working from home. According to new research from the Service Desk Institute (SDI), sponsored by Sunrise Software, 65% of organizations said that the overall business now has a more positive view of IT support, with just 4% seeing a decline in satisfaction. This rose to 72% in public sector organizations, where only 2% say perceptions had worsened.

Emphasizing the importance of keeping organizations operational, 61% of respondents in the research had supported key workers during the crisis, increasing to 83% in the public sector.

‘Gig’ customer service booming during Covid-19, says report

San Francisco, USA. 12th May 2020: Two thirds of people signed up on ‘gig’ customer service (GigCX) platforms are seeing an increase in demand for customer service tasks since the COVID-19 pandemic began, according to The ‘Annual Gig Customer Service’ report, released today by AI-driven gig customer service platform Limitless. The gig customer service model is already in widespread use at companies such as Microsoft, Unilever and Sage.

OpenCms 8 content manager user manual now available!

The OpenCms 8 content manager user manual - which is now available for download - provides a quick non-technical overview of OpenCms 8.

This complete and easy to understand reference will help the content manager to build websites with OpenCms 8 within minutes. Learn all about advanced direct edit and the sitemap editor.

Explaining every feature and functionality of the OpenCms 8 user interface this user manual provides essential know-how for the content manager.

Learn more about:

Quoting IT: Scott Abel on Help 2.0

"Help 2.0 is about letting go of old-school, preconceived notions about our role as content providers. Help 2.0 forces us to realize that by leveraging the knowledge of the crowd we can help users find the right information quickly and easily, whether we created the content ourselves or not. And perhaps most importantly, Help 2.0 is about creating support experiences in which users can help us learn what they want and need, while also allowing them to assist one another, in ways that are meaningful to them."

-Scott Abel, The Future of Technical Communication Is Socially Enabled: Understanding the Help 2.0 Revolution,, April 2011.

Mailbag: What makes Kentico CMS Different

Last week, I announced the addition of three CMSs to CMS Focus. CMS Focus is my top 30 list of content management systems that interest me the most. Because I limit the list to only 30 CMSs, there are obviously a good number of quality Web applications that are missing from this list. A CMS that arguably should be on the list is the Kentico CMS.

Kentico's PR Manager recently sent me an email to make his case for why Kentico should be included in the CMS Focus list. I likely will not be making any new changes to my top 30 list until June, however I will definitely consider Kentico the next time I update CMS Focus.

Hi Bryan,

I remember that Kentico CMS hasn't quite made it on your CMS Focus list.

Today, I would like to briefly comment on the criteria for selecting CMS on the list you published:
1. First, the application has to add something I haven't seen in a CMS before.

In case of a Kentico CMS it’s a set of its features that makes it unique. There are plenty of CMS that offers source code, hundreds that have multisite and multilingual support, dozens with open and well documented API, some that are SEO friendly, few that are fully rebrandable... And now will there any remain if you add 200+ web parts and 36 modules to cover the needs for building either Corporate Web Site, E-shop, Social Network or Intranet (=simply to allow your web site to grow in any direction)?  How many CMS vendors have 7 days bug fixing policy? Highly responsive support is something hard to prove, but please go ahead and do some “Mystery Mailing”, I’m sure that our support team won’t disappoint you (evaluators have right for 10 support tickets – so really please try this).

MediaWiki plus FCKeditor: WYSIWYG for the wiki

A couple years ago we decided to use MediaWiki for a wiki implementation at work.  Wikipedia uses MediaWiki for their wiki application so we felt it was the right choice for our needs.  One concern my team had was that MediaWiki didn't come with a rich text editor (no WYSIWYG).

While a number of us may be fine with using wikitext or HTML to edit our wiki pages, I believe the majority in any organization prefers to edit their pages with a friendly user interface similar to that found on their word processor. At the time, we tried a number of solutions but found neither the suggested TinyMCE or FCKeditor implementation integrated that well with mediaWiki.  So for our project we settled with wikEd, an editor that still required users to work with wiki syntax but surprising a very good tool for most users.

During a lunch conversation last week with Deane Barker of Gadgetopia and Blend Interactive, I mentioned my frustrations with MediaWiki not having available a good WYSIWYG solution.  Deane suggested that I look at a more recent implementation of MediaWiki plus FCKeditor. This project is being supported by the developers of FCKeditor themselves.

Tech Support Catches Thief

This story from InfoWorld shows that crime doesn't pay.

After a thief stole a printer for making driver's licenses, his call to the manufacturer's tech support line requesting driver software lead to his arrest.

The story then goes on to say that although the thief had stolen the computer connected to the printer, the computer "was locked with a key".  I wonder if that was a key for a physical lock on the case which prevented the computer to boot up or an authentication key card?  The latter, of course, would have been much more difficult to bypass.

Step back and focus on IT user support

Now that Summer 2007 is finally here, it is time to step back for a couple weeks and spend less time in front of the computer.  As I mentioned earlier,  I'm going to use some of this time to publish online a professional report I did on IT user support.  This report was submitted a couple years ago as a requirement for a Master of Science in Administrative Studies with an Information Systems track.  You'll get bits and pieces of it in the following weeks and once I'm done, I'll regroup them similar to the research paper I posted earlier this year.