24 advent tips that will improve a Confluence and Jira Service Desk UX no end

Refined are counting the days until Christmas with our very own UX inspired advent calendar. Each day of advent we will add a useful tip for using Confluence and Jira Service Desk. By Christmas you will have 24 helpful tips in the bag.

RefinedWiki Christmas Banner

We will add each tip below as we reach the day. You can also keep up with the latest tips by following our Twitter handle @RefinedWiki and #RefinedAdventTips

December 1

Assign content hierarchy and use it.

The most important content to your users goes first, and so on. By displaying the most important content first, your users will remain engaged, and the information they are trying to access will reach them faster. This is an important UX tip for Confluence pages, spaces (and categories and sites if you use our apps). Similarly on Jira Service Desk this applies to the help center, customer portals and any knowledge base articles.


December 2

Automate personalized headings using text variables.

Make the text on a Confluence and Jira Service Desk site or category personalized by using Text Variables. A common example of this is on a Jira Service Desk help center home or a Confluence site home where you can add the message “Welcome $Username” so that the user once logged in, feels right at home. This feature is available in RefinedTheme apps for Confluence and Jira Service Desk Server as well as RefinedSites for Jira Service Desk Cloud and RefinedSpaces for Confluence Cloud.


December 3

Maintain content balance on page layouts.

When building portals, langing pages, confluence pages, spaces, categories and sites try to balance the content as seen in illustration below. An example of off-balance would be piling up a lot of content in the left hand column and very little in a right hand column.


December 4

Don’t be text heavy.

This goes for any Confluence page. Don’t just dump a whole lot of text. Break up the content, make use of the sections button to help structure the content, include headings, and add images to engage. If you really want to spice up your pages RefinedTheme for Confluence Server version 6.1 includes a new content layout macro to add navigation icons, images, layout, headings and other content options.


December 5

Use icons and images as links.

If you are adding a link from a page, make sure you consider using a navigation icon, navigation highlight or navigation content module. This is a super simple way to vastly improve the look and navigation from any landing page. These modules are available in all of our theme apps (both Server and Cloud) using the inbuilt layout editor.


December 6

Customize the space layout then save as template.

Customize the space navigation and layout to place important elements first. Then save your space layout as a template to keep things clean and consistent. An example could be saving a customized ‘team project’ space template and using the same template for all ‘team project’ spaces. This is possible with our app RefinedTheme for Confluence. Click here for more on space layouts.


December 7

Improve Confluence navigation with category organization.

Group Confluence spaces into categories to make it easy to navigate to a space in context. Categories sit in a drop down menu making access to spaces far more accessible. This feature is one of our most loved features in RefinedTheme for Confluence Server and also available in RefinedTheme for Jira Service Desk.


December 8

It’s possible to combine vanilla Confluence with themed Confluence.

Have both vanilla Confluence and themed Confluence in one. A common scenario for this could be when your IT team are used to the the classic Confluence look and feel but external customers, or other departments are struggling to adopt the platform. In this case you can keep vanilla Confluence on a site for the IT team, and theme additional sites for the external customers and other teams. The same option is available in Jira Service Desk. I.e., You can have a vanilla Jira Service Desk help center and additional themed sites and customer portals. We go into more detail on this here.


December 9

Define who can see what site, category, portals and content sections.

Use view permissions to display the content that matters to whom it matters to. Define which users see a site and/or category (for server theme apps). On a site home, category home, and on customer portals you can define which users see the content sections by adding view permissions to the sections in the layout editor (true to our server and cloud theme apps excluding RefinedSpaces).


December 10

Use CQL to personalize content.

Use CQL for RefinedTheme for Confluence and RefinedSpaces for Confluence Cloud modules including news, activity, search and pages to tailor the content to the user. Common examples of CQL include showing the user’s favorite pages (page module), fetching specific blog posts for a news feed, tailoring the search to include mentions, or users. We have a list of examples to give you some ideas.


December 11

Make the search stand out.

The search bar is often the first thing your users will go to to find answers so it’s important both that it is obvious and that the answers are there. All of our theme apps include a search highlight module to improve both the search results, to define the source of the search and the look and feel.


December 12

Copy a bundled theme as a shortcut to creating a well designed theme.

It’s easy to create a theme from scratch with the theme editor built into Refined apps. A helpful shortcut when creating a theme for Confluence or Jira Service Desk is to copy one of the bundled themes and adjust the colors to match your branding. Learn more in our tutorial on creating a Confluence theme.


December 13

Work your layout in with your theme.

Try to make your layouts in Confluence (dashboards, site and category homes) and Jira Service Desk (help center and customer portals) work with your theme. For example, if you add a photo as an image to your layout (see navigation highlight), use a block colour in your theme. Don’t add a photo to your layout when you have a photo as your background theme. These are likely to clash. Theme theme editor and layout editor are tools included in our theme apps (Cloud and Server).


December 14

Make use of the inbuilt Confluence blog tool.

If you haven’t already done so, we recommend getting an internal blog running on your Confluence instance. It’s super simple for users to use and has been shown to have a positive impact on workplace culture. Make your blogs more visual and engaging with the RefinedTheme internal blog tool.


December 15

Spend with pages. Save with spaces.

A good rule of thumb when it comes to maintaining a clean and organized Confluence is to think twice when creating a space. Pages on the other hand can be used quite liberally.


December 16

Make use of recommended links.

Recommended links is a unique feature comes with our Jira Service Desk apps, and means that your agents can add search results with links to anywhere on the web. This is super helpful when you know there is already a perfectly good article answering a common question external to the support center. Your agent simply needs to add the match keywords to this search and you’re in business.


December 17

Replace Jira Service Desk Request Type icons with your own.

In Jira Service Desk, you can upload your own icons as Request Types. This is a simple yet effective way of lifting the UX on any customer portal.


December 18…

Use our free app for Confluence – RefinedToolkit.

Everyone loves a freeby. We have a free app called RefinedToolkit that comes with a bunch of UI macros for Confluence pages. The macros include UI buttons, UI steps, UI children. You can find it on the Atlassian Marketplace.


December 19

Set start sites for specified users.

This is a super useful tip when using Confluence sites. A common scenario where this could be used is when the team working on product X can start at the product X collaboration site, while the product Y team can start at the product Y site. We have a tutorial on this to show you how to set it up.


December 20

Go agile with your theme and design.

Creating good looking designs with the theme editor and layout editor is simple. This means you don’t need to limit ‘agile’ methodology to workflows, you can use it in your design. We are making this especially easy for you this holiday season by gifting you a “happy holidays” theme. Find the ready-made theme for Confluence and Jira Service Desk here.


December 21

Optimal sizes for your layout images.

This is a super helpful UX tip for working with images and layouts. When adding images to Confluence and Jira Service Desk here are some go-to image sizes to ensure you have a clean finish.


December 22

Choose your colors with care.

Think carefully about the look and feel you want to achieve and find a well balanced color scheme for this purpose. Your corporate identity is a great starting point for this. Once you have a color scheme, aim to use it consistently across your design.


December 23

Use visual elements.

They are great for attracting attention, informing, and engaging the user. In the layout editor you will find several modules focusing on visual elements such as navigation highlights, navigation icons, and a visual news feed for blogs.


December 24

Hoorah! The grand finale of RefinedAdventTips! This tip is to make use of all the tips provided this Advent. The team at Refined wish you a wonderful Christmas and a happy new year.


God Jul!