Structure 101: Taming Confluence and Jira with Sites and Categories

We explain how Refined Sites and Categories can bring structure and order to Confluence, Jira and Jira Service Management.

Pages, spaces, projects, desks—if you’re not careful, Confluence and Jira content could explode on you. That’s especially true if you have a high or fast-growing user count and it’s been a while since you took a hard look at how you organize your instances.

Luckily there are tools to help you manage Confluence and Jira content and deliver it to users in a way that’s easy to navigate and, critically, organized.

Read on to learn how you can structure your content with Refined sites and categories.

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Refined sites explained

Sites allow you to build an infinite number of separate experiences for users—each with unique navigation, theme, organization, user base, etc. To that end, sites make it possible to use every Confluence, Jira and Jira Service Management instance for a variety of purposes.

Refined Sites can be whatever you need them to be: 

  • themed homes for Confluence or Jira/JSM
  • a collection of help desks or support sites 
  • intranets
  • documentation sites
  • knowledge bases
  • crisis portals
  • etc.

Refined categories explained

Categories (called Refined Pages on cloud) are a level of organization above spaces but below sites. Spaces can be organized into categories, and categories can be organized into sites. (And Confluence and Jira with Refined can have infinite sites). Categories translate into a drop-down menu on site homes, and they also serve as landing pages for the spaces and pages within.

How to add structure to Confluence with sites and categories

In standard Confluence, pages live in spaces accessible from the Confluence dashboard. 

In Refined for Confluence, pages live in a space, spaces live in categories, and categories are accessed from a top-of-site navigation menu. 

Here is how the category structure translates to navigation structure: 

Categories translate to navigation top-of-site.
Categories translate to navigation top-of-site.

Sites make it easy to juggle multiple use cases, teams, initiates, geographies, and so on. For example, you can build:

  • Sites for multiple locations: Build sites for multiple office locations; each location has its own site connected to one Confluence, Jira or JSM instance. E.g., One Refined Confluence site for the Tokyo office and one for the New York office.
  • Sites for multiple use cases: Use Confluence for multiple use cases and purposes. E.g., One Refined Confluence site is a knowledge base for the company; another site is a project collaboration tool for the IT team. 
  • Sites for large enterprise instances:  Large Confluence instances can generate a high volume of spaces and content and can get messy. Better to organize spaces and split the content into sites. E.g., One site per department.

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How to add structure to Jira & Jira Service Management with sites and categories

In standard Jira Service Management, customer portals live in the service desks accessible from the help center. In Refined, customer portals can be grouped into Categories (or Refined Pages on cloud), which act like landing pages that direct users to the correct portal and display helpful resources to boot. 

Both categories and customer portals are accessible from the themed and tailored Refined help center. Just as they do in Refined for Confluence, Categories serve as navigation top-of-page.

We’ve seen customers use the site and category function to organize Jira in the following ways: 

  • Group customer portals into Categories. A common example of this would be IT customer portals grouped into an IT Service and Support category, while HR portals are grouped into an HR Support category. The category itself acts like a landing page in which self-service content can be easily added. 
  • Separate internal support customers from external ones. For example, if an organization has a B2B service offering, they would send their customers to a site directly meeting their B2B customer needs. Here the customer portals are only relevant to the B2B service offering. Meanwhile, internal employees would visit a different site designed to meet their needs as employees. Both sites are connected to the same Jira Service Desk. Customers can be assigned to a specific site using permissions
  • For large enterprise instances. These are organizations that tend to have a lot of customer portals and need a way of grouping the portals. This in turn serves the customers better as they are more likely to visit a help center, category or customer portal relevant to them. 

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