The 4 Top Issues with Support Websites

ScreensI’m often tasked with evaluating support websites, whether it’s for the ASP SupportWebsite Awards or FT Works clients. While there can be a long list of improvements, here are the 4 top issues that have the most devastating effect on user experience (and your ability to win an award for your site!).

No central hub. There is a support website (for case management). And there’s also a community site (under separate ownership, and often totally different UI standards), a training site (ditto), a documentation site, and maybe a knowledge base site. I can understand how each internal team finds it more expedient to create its own repository and portal, but what a horrible customer experience! The remedy is hard work: better governance and a strong mandate to create a single hub.

Bad underlying data. This issue is often invisible to the casual observer, but it creates all kinds of downstream issues, as customers cannot find the assets they own, cannot enjoy any kind of meaningful filtered experience, and may be barred from easily logging cases. Good data hygiene starts with very clear business rules, so start the work there.

Non-actionable pages. The site offers links and lists (of documents, assets, or cases) but in order to get anything done the user needs to click through often multiple menus. Too much effort is required to accomplish simple tasks. The fix is a strong redesign of the site that favors calls to action throughout.

Dated UI.  The emotional response to a tired site is so overwhelmingly negative that it can be difficult to convince users to use the site in the first place. Fortunately, it’s easier to remedy than the issues above: a good redesign will take care of it.


Have you experienced any of these issues and, if so, what have you done about it? Tell us in the comments. (And we can help!)