Keen-eyed Redbird community members may have noticed a new web address pop up in their searches recently—Help.IllinoisState.edu. The new Help site replaces the former ITHelp.IllinoisState.edu and is the starting point for finding select information about Illinois State University.
While the Help site has been launched with all the technology information previously found on ITHelp (including hundreds of revised knowledge base articles), this is just the beginning! The site was created as a knowledge-sharing center where offices and departments around campus can add their own content and topics, as well as maintain their own sections. To assist in this University community effort, there are templates and training available so areas can learn how to use the service and promote their content to a wider audience, including Illinois State faculty, staff, and current students.
The goal is to have a single, dedicated place for the campus community to go to with common questions they may have. More and more people have been looking for self-service solutions for a variety of functions, systems that are set up to where you can take care of things yourself without needing a third party to assist you. This trend, coupled with the fact that recurring feedback in the Office of Technology Solutions’ annual survey expressed a desire for easier search features, prompted several areas of Tech Solutions to begin working on this updated Help site. Carla Birckelbaw, director of Client Services for Tech Solutions, shared, “The effort in general started with a desire for a more flexible solution for the IT Help knowledge base of articles than the tool we were using previously. As we pursued that goal, a wider vision developed—truly maximizing the use of this new service to include not just IT topics, but with the flexibility to add a variety of new information as needed.”
Features of the new site include an improved search experience and easier-to-use navigation for help in locating materials. Additional Help topics, located below the search feature, can help narrow down larger ideas for users who are unsure of which search terms to start using. The system also includes features to spur further improvements down the line. Included in each article is an opportunity to provide feedback if the information was helpful or not and what could be improved on. Trevor Neuber, manager of the Knowledge and Training team within the Technology Support Center, says, “This feedback allows us to adjust and introduce new [and existing content] based on customer needs.” His team will also review and approve submissions for new content or topics.
Overall, the vision is that this new Help site will be of service to the Illinois State University community. Zach Parcell, assistant director for digital experience strategy, described it this way: “You don’t need to have an in-depth knowledge of every Illinois State website. If the resources you are familiar with aren’t pointing you in the right direction, Help.IllinoisState.edu can do the heavy lifting and point you in the right direction.” Visit the new Help site to see everything it has to offer. If your department is interested in adding information and topics, the Share Knowledge page on the site can help get you started.