SU's technical knowledgebase gets an upgrade and redesign
The Answers system (http://answers.syr.edu) is being redesigned to be a technical knowledgebase of self-help information for the SU community. The information within Answers will include solutions to common technical problems, FAQs, and configuration information. Screen shots and video demonstrations will be used to provide basic how-to information on key systems. According to Dawn Havill, project lead on the redesign of Answers, "when people are having trouble using a system, they want to quickly get an answer to their problem that is easy to follow so they can finish what they need to get done."
Academic Applications and Service Centers (AASC) is partnering with the schools, colleges and departments at SU to generate more relevant Answers content. AASC is also mining Orange Tracker and monitoring requests received by the ITS Service Center to tailor Answers information to better meet the needs of users. While Answers previously used a community wiki approach, where anyone could add content, the new Answers will have content generated and/or managed by designated content editors who are knowledgeable about specific systems and areas.
The target audience for Answers is being expanded to focus more on students, alumni, parents, applicants, and guests - large populations who don't have dedicated technical support teams to assist them when they have trouble using SU systems and technical services. Answers will also continue to provide information helpful to faculty and staff as they use systems such as Blackboard.
As part of the redesign, Answers was upgraded to Confluence version 4.1 on April 3. The new version offers an improved WYSIWYG editor that makes creating and maintaining content easier. Pages are also now based on XHTML and CSS instead of wiki markup, keeping Answers in line with current web standards.
On April 10, the look and feel of Answers was updated to provide better branding and help information. A new logo, revised home page, and additional help information were added. Each page footer now contains a link to a form that can be used to request additional assistance from the ITS Service Center and to provide feedback on the system.
For more information about Answers and its redesign, contact Dawn Havill (x2551 or firstname.lastname@example.org).
Article by: Christopher FinkleContact Information: ITS Service Center, email@example.com, (315) 443-2677
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