Building for Users: Design Decisions Behind 3 Refined Sites Explained

We use Refined to run 10+ sites from one Confluence/Jira instance. We show you how each one is purpose-built for its audience.

In 2020, after 10 years of running Confluence, Jira, and Jira Service Management on server, we migrated to Atlassian cloud.

The move enabled us to modernize and streamline our intranet, as well as our public Confluence- and Jira Service Management-based sites. Critically, it also unlocked a new level of flexibility in the way we use our Atlassian tools. Paired with Refined, we can use one Confluence/Jira instance to power a variety of sites, each serving its own unique purpose and user base.

Today we run more than 10 sites this way. They’re all different, but the strategy to make them successful is always the same: cater to users so they can easily find what they need and carry on.

Below I break down three Refined sites to shed light on our thinking behind the details and the choices we made in hopes it helps you build user-centric sites of your own.

Refined's intranet site.
Refined's intranet site.

Site #1: Our Intranet, “Reine”

The goal of our intranet was to help employees find relevant information as quickly and easily as possible upon arrival.

We achieved this by way of a carefully constructed navigation menu, templatized pages that streamline the user experience, and landing pages that use navigation elements and content modules to highlight relevant pages, links, etc.

More specifically, we used a few key customization options in Refined to optimize the user experience:

  • We set View Permissions to target certain user groups: For example, we built an onboarding section of the home page that’s only visible to new employees. These new employees are added into a specific user group and then this section is visible just to them. This keeps unnecessary onboarding info away from more-tenured employees, while putting it front and center for those who need it most.

  • We important icons and links in high-visibility areas: In a prominent spot on the landing page, we chose to highlight links to common resources including our employee handbook and company OKRs, for instance.

  • We added JSM support desk links on key Confluence pages to make requests easily accessible: To integrate request functionality with the content on our site, we included the vacation request capability within a regular Confluence page about our vacation policy. While reading about vacation time, employees can easily click to create an actual request without switching context.

Our documentation site, docs.refined.com.
Our documentation site, docs.refined.com.

Site #2: Documentation (docs.refined.com)

Our documentation site aims to help our customers get started with Refined and solve common problems. WIth that in mind, we try to make it as easy as possible for site visitors to find the content they’re looking for, whether they’re just getting started with our products or they are more advanced Refined users.

Here’s what we did to make our Documentation site as user-friendly as possible:

  • We mapped the site navigation to our products: Both the top-of-site navigation menu and navigation elements in the center of landing pages are oriented around the Refined product and hosting portfolio. As long as customers know which product and hosting they use, there’s no question they’ll be able to navigate to the right place.

  • We used a combination of search, navigation links, and content modules to make instructions and guides easy to find: Once a user selects a product/hosting-specific group of documentation—for example, Refined for Cloud Documentation—they have a number of ways to find the instructions they need: a search bar, which is placed prominently; links and icons to frequently accessed documents (Getting Started guide, Layout guide, etc.) showcased front and center; or by browsing Confluence page trees for a more-granular selection of links.

Our support site, support.refined.com.
Our support site, support.refined.com.

Site #3: Support (support.refined.com)

Like many other Atlassian customers, we use Jira Service Management projects for our Refined support site, and Confluence for the knowledge base. This site is built primarily for Refined customers who need help with our products, so it needs to clearly distinguish between the different hosting methods (cloud vs. data center), so that users are served with the most relevant self-help content. 

We opted to:

  • Use navigation icons on the site’s home page to help customers self-select the appropriate hosting: Can’t-miss navigation icons help users find to the appropriate subpages for their respective hosting method.

  • Help users help themselves with links on portal pages: We surface helpful links on JSM portal pages to direct users to popular support topics—and hopefully cut down on the number of requests filed.

  • Add request types to portal pages as links: We added all the request types in a project (technical support, performance issues, etc.) to portal pages, so it’s easy for users to find the correct request type when they need to submit a request.

More site-building strategies

For more inspiration on how you can embrace the same strategy and use Refined to build different sites for different purposes, watch the full Site Building Live webinar here.

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