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Customer Success Story:

Axiom Law

Axiom Law Sees Five-Fold Increase in Users’ Searches After Adding Micro Content to the Modern Documentation Websites it Delivers Using MadCap Flare and MadCap Central

New York, NY

INDUSTRY: Legal Professional Services

Axiom Hero Image

GOALS

  • Transform Axiom’s web-based application documentation into a complete user and employee education resource.
  • Reduce demands on the Axiom support team via intuitive, easy-to search content for employees to increase user adoption.
  • Keep pace with bi-weekly releases of the Axiom for HQ and Axiom for Talent applications.
  • Align the documentation with Axiom’s corporate and application branding.

SOLUTIONS

  • MadCap Flare native XML single-source, multi-channel content authoring software
  • MadCap Central cloud-based authoring, collaboration, workflow and project management
  • MadCap Capture screen capture and image editing software

BENEFITS

  • Complete resource for users: Using MadCap Flare, Axiom has created two documentation sites that enable users to get information about the applications they use, benefits, and other employee information all in one place.
  • Features for self-support: MadCap Flare-based easy-to-search documentation sites and micro content for top searches have led to a five-fold increase in user searches. Auto-reply support emails with links to common user questions are enabled by MadCap Flare and MadCap Central facilitate self-support. Meanwhile, Flare-based content is integrated into the Pendo user assistance components to help employees understand how to use the applications.
  • Streamlined content delivery: Content reuse facilitated by MadCap Flare along with content management and collaboration enabled by MadCap Central enable the Axiom team to ensure that documentation updates keep pace with bi-weekly releases of its applications.
  • Brand consistency: Templates and support for CSS in MadCap Flare make it easy to deliver documentation via a modern web experience that captures the look-and-feel of Axiom’s corporate and application branding.

When businesses need highly credentialed lawyers, they increasingly turn to Axiom Law, the global leader in highcaliber, on-demand legal talent. Companies worldwide, including more than 50% of Fortune 100, rely on Axiom and its 2,400-plus lawyers to build dynamic teams that can rapidly scale up or down to meet their needs, saving about half the costs of working with traditional law firms. Founded in 2000, Axiom now operates in North America, the U.K., Continental Europe and Asia Pacific.

To help grow and manage the supply and demand sides of its business, Axiom built the Axiom Platform, which currently includes two cloud-based applications. Axiom for HQ is used by internal business teams to power the sales and fulfillment cycle. Axiom for Talent is used by Axiom’s legal talent to create professional profiles that are featured on axiomlaw.com, and to manage their Axiom experience. To drive adoption and use of these applications, the company provides two modern documentation websites that lean on micro content to deliver fast answers to common questions, and search results that users have learned to trust.

Delivering Documentation for a New Technology Platform

In seeking to optimize its operations, Axiom established a technology unit to build a platform that would first replace manual, internal workstreams and then eventually power the company’s talent and client experiences. To support the rollout of its first application, Axiom for HQ, the company produced a 100-page PDF user guide and a training slide deck.

However, Axiom quickly realized that the company would need a more modern, dynamic way to deliver information to users of the application.

“We needed to provide more consumable online content that was easy to create, maintain and publish on a fast-paced, biweekly cadence,” recalled Lisa Hamilton, experience content manager at Axiom. “We also needed an authoring and publishing solution that could be implemented quickly, virtually out of the box, without a big engineering lift.”

Even though Axiom was starting small, the company wanted to feel confident that the solution they brought on could support additional but not clearly defined apps and audiences. It was also important for that solution to provide content reuse, single sourcing, multi-channel delivery, and some level of content management.

“I had years of experience using MadCap Flare for content projects and knew that it could support our needs,” said Lisa Hamilton, experience content manager at Axiom. “I immediately showed the team what we could do with Flare, and they were wowed.” Perhaps, the biggest selling point of MadCap Flare was how fast it was to spin up a project, but several other factors led Axiom to choose MadCap Flare, including:

  • its customizable HTML project templates
  • the ease of single-sourcing via condition tags, targets and variables
  • the ability to create and publish multiple sites with a single project
  • cloud-based review and publishing via MadCap Central
  • the always-there, easy-to reach platinum support team

One final requirement was the ability to use MadCap Flare on the Apple Mac computers used at Axiom. This was accomplished by using Amazon Workspaces and Build automation via a separate Flare Build license and machine to publish output to secure Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3).

Getting Flare to run on a Mac with Amazon Workspaces was mostly a set-it-and-forget-it implementation that the engineering team set up one time in less than a day
photo of Lisa Hamilton

LISA HAMILTONExperience Content Manager,
Axiom Law

“Getting Flare to run on a Mac with Amazon Workspaces was mostly a set-it-and-forget-it implementation that the engineering team set up one time in less than a day,” Lisa noted. “We have to remember to keep the author and build machine licenses in sync, but there is zero downtime, since we’re running on Workspaces.”

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With MadCap Flare, Axiom can manage both of their documentation sites from a single project, then use master pages to differentiate between home pages.

Offering a Single Point of Access for Information

Today, Axiom has two modern, HTML5-based web documentation sites, one each for Axiom for HQ and Axiom for Talent. Because these support a common platform and synced release cadence, the team can easily manage the sites from a single MadCap Flare project with some shared resources, such as the skin, style sheet, images and snippets. Master pages differentiate the home pages of the two sites.

I can write one workflow in Flare and simply condition tag it to publish it for both targets. It’s just so easy to manage multiple sites with one Flare project.

LISA HAMILTON | Experience Content Manager, Axiom Law

“We started with the documentation site for Axiom for HQ,” Lisa explains. “Then, when we introduced Axiom for Talent, it was really simple to add a Talent folder to the same project. Now, I can write one workflow in Flare and simply condition tag it to publish it for both targets. It’s just so easy to manage multiple sites with one Flare project.”

Once Axiom employees began using the documentation sites for the applications, the team noticed that users were starting to search for other business information, such as paid time off (PTO), benefits and how to fill out timesheets. This realization led the technology unit to work with Axiom’s talent support and benefits teams in porting content from their respective websites into the MadCap Flare project. From there, the information was published to both the Axiom for HQ and Axiom for Talent documentation sites—giving each set of employees a single, go-to resource.

“Adding the benefits and resources folders was super simple with Flare,” says Lisa. “Now users can go to one site where they can, for example, find out how to create their profile in the application or how to submit an expense report. It’s been very popular with our employees.”

Keeping Pace with Product Updates

A top priority is synchronizing release communications with Axiom’s biweekly product updates. One of the most important aspects of MadCap Flare in supporting this effort is the ability to conditionally tag text down to a single character.

“Our platform has a lot of common workflows and data across apps and audiences, but with slightly different use cases,” Lisa explains. “For example, we write one article for a profile completion workflow, which is something both HQ and Talent users do in their respective applications, though they use different steps. With Flare, we can condition-tag it for both use cases, then publish the one article to both the two HQ and Talent documentation sites.”

Axiom also relies heavily on snippets functionality in MadCap Flare to facilitate content reuse, as well as ensure that users never have to experience inconsistent information.

Because we move really fast, being able to update live content in minutes with Flare, with zero dependencies on our engineering resources, is huge.

LISA HAMILTON | Experience Content Manager, Axiom Law

“With snippets in MadCap Flare, I can write an instruction set, or note, or any piece of content once and use it in multiple articles and channels, which means I never have to remember how I wrote it the first time,” Lisa says. “Also, because we move really fast, being able to update live content in minutes with Flare, with zero dependencies on our engineering resources, is huge.”

Additionally, Axiom streamlines content development and delivery using MadCap Central for content management and collaboration. Internal site reviews are conducted there before the team stages or promotes content to production. Axiom also relies on MadCap Central for enabling subject matter experts (SMEs) to review and revise draft content. Importantly, all of Axiom’s different contributors and reviewers can easily access MadCap Central since the solution is based in the cloud.

“We went from creating one simple documentation site to designing, developing and innovating on two full-featured sites for a technology platform with biweekly releases, then adding and managing content from talent resources and employee benefits, while also taking ownership of all associated release communications,” Lisa observed. “This is possible because of how Flare and Central make it so simple to manage our documentation site content. It’s really the easiest part of my job.”

Providing an Intuitive, Article-Based Approach

Given the ability to quickly create and publish content using MadCap Flare, has allowed Axiom to focus most of its efforts on creating a better content experience. One approach has been to move to article-based authoring—think super-topics rather than the traditional chapter-style approach of applications, such as Adobe FrameMaker. The articles deliver information users without making them jump between topics. At the same time drop-down text allows employees to see only the topics within the article that they want to read.

“ Often users find one answer, and then they immediately have other related questions. With Flare, we’re able to create longer, article-style content that is, at the same time, scannable, readable, and easily navigated thanks to features like dropdown text, menu proxies, and responsive design layouts,” Lisa explains. “ It’s the best of both worlds to let users scan an article for what they need or expand all for a more immersive experience, all while still being easily searchable.”

Axiom has found that article-based authoring using MadCap Flare provides other benefits. For authors, the articles mean there are fewer “topics” to maintain, it is easy to create printable job aid without the extra effort of pulling together individual topics. For users, it allows for broad or poorly formed searches to still yield the desired information. “

Article-based authoring to me is one of the flagships of our design principle,” Lisa says. “It serves all different types of content consumers, from the headline readers, to the have-a-glass-of-wineand-read-a-book people.”

Providing Micro Content with MadCap Flare and MadCap Central

Discoverability is a top priority at Axiom, so the company was an early adopter of the micro content functionality in MadCap Flare. So for example, when users go to either of the documentation sites, they can search for how to submit a timesheet, and they will get a short description, “Here’s how you submit a timesheet...”; they don’t have to open a page. Additionally, just as in a standard web search, employees can see other related topics below the micro content in case it doesn’t fully answer their question.

We have spent a lot of time writing thoughtful content for our users, and we want them to be able to find it. Using Flare, we have rolled out a ton of micro content to help surface the information employees need.

LISA HAMILTON | Experience Content Manager, Axiom Law

“We have spent a lot of time writing thoughtful content for our users, and we want them to be able to find it,” Lisa notes. “Using Flare, we have rolled out a ton of micro content to help surface the information employees need, prioritized by the support team’s most-asked questions list.”

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Micro content allows Axiom to promote popular content in search results, such as how to submit a timesheet, so that it is easily found by users

To determine what information also needs to be delivered as micro content, the Axiom team turns to the Analytics capabilities in MadCap Central.

With Google Analytics, we only see what pages users are going to. With MadCap Central Analytics, we can literally see what they’re searching on, the results that phrase is returning, and then which results don’t have micro content.

LISA HAMILTON | Experience Content Manager, Axiom Law

“With Google Analytics, we only see what pages users are going to. With MadCap Central Analytics, we can literally see what they’re searching on, the results that phrase is returning, and then which results don’t have micro content,” Lisa explains. “If I find there’s no micro content for a search result, I can use Flare to put something together in 10 minutes and get it out there. It’s amazing how fast we can move.”

Beyond the two documentation sites, Axiom is also using MadCap Central to provide more informative support emails. Typically, when users submit a support request, they get an automated email saying they will get a response in 24 to 48 hours. However, using MadCap Central Analytics, the Axiom team has been able to identify the most searched, most popular articles and include links to those in the auto replies.

Because our support auto-reply emails include links to popular articles we’ve identified using Central Analytics, there’s a good chance users will be able to get their questions answered simply by clicking on a link in the email.

LISA HAMILTON | Experience Content Manager, Axiom Law

“Because our support auto-reply emails include links to popular articles we’ve identified using Central Analytics, there’s a good chance users will be able to get their questions answered simply by clicking on a link in the email and not waiting one to two days for a response,” Lisa observes.

The automated support emails even link to an article that outlines what issues employees need to reach out to support for assistance versus which ones they can self-serve, so that they don’t have to guess.

“Using Analytics in Central, we’re able to filter support requests down to those that truly can’t be answered in the help site, and that really require human resolution,” Lisa notes. “We’ve also added a feedback mechanism to every page where users can email us about how helpful the information was, which helps us to fine-tune our content further. It's one big circle of awesomeness.”

Enhancing the User Experience by Pairing MadCap Flare and Pendo

More recently, Axiom has enhanced users’ experiences with its Axiom for HQ and Axiom for Talent applications by importing MadCap Flare-based content into the Pendo product experience platform. One of the Pendo features Axiom takes advantage of is the user assistance component, which provides “micro guides” to walk through how to use the product. Axiom’s cascading style sheets (CSS) expert incorporated supporting content from MadCap Flare by rendering it with an iFrame in Pendo.

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The ability to create and publish content using MadCap Flare has allowed Axiom to focus most of its efforts on creating a better content experience for its users.

“We have been looking at ways that we can move content closer to the user and keep them focused on the app,” Lisa explains. “To accomplish that goal, we leveraged the Pendo resource center iFrame to publish Flare content—giving users a full, searchable version of our documentation site completely within the iFrame and done entirely via CSS in the Flare master pages.”

Lisa adds, “Now when I make all the bi-weekly documentation center updates, I can update the Pendo guides at the same time. “With Flare, it's just so easy and fast.”

Axiom’s CSS expert also contributed to the design of documentation site pages that were attractive and intuitive for users and reflected the corporate branding. Both the HQ and Talent documentation sites were first developed using an out-of-the-box template provided by MadCap Flare. Then, the CSS expert added in design elements that aligned the look and feel with Axiom’s brand and application design.

Our online documentation is very intuitive because the Flare templates and design elements make it easy to create modernlooking websites that most people are familiar and comfortable with.

LISA HAMILTON | Experience Content Manager, Axiom Law

“Our online documentation is very intuitive because the Flare templates and design elements make it easy to create modern-looking websites that most people are familiar and comfortable with,” Lisa notes. “I love that I can create a site with zero design skills using Flare and then just hand it over to our design team to polish the design and bring it to life.”

The Axiom team has used additional features in MadCap Flare to make content easier for users to discover. Responsive design ensures that information automatically adjusts to users’ screens. Meanwhile, the addition of highly targeted article metadata to descriptions in the topic properties ensures that each search will return relevant articles, and the search result descriptions are concise, helpful and meaningful. Another is moving from top-navigation to left-navigation.

Using Flare, we switched designs to left-navigation and added a giant search. Suddenly we had five times as many people searching our documentation sites. It shows how a small design change can influence users’ behavior, and Flare makes it so easy to do.

LISA HAMILTON | Experience Content Manager, Axiom Law

“I noticed that people weren't searching for content with our top-navigation design, so using Flare, we switched designs to left-navigation and added a giant search bar,” Lisa recalls. “Suddenly we had five times as many people searching our documentation sites. It shows how a small design change can influence users’ behavior, and Flare makes it so easy to do.”

Today, Axiom incorporates screenshots into its articles, using MadCap Capture to edit them within seconds. Looking ahead, the company will soon add videos being created by the benefits team.

With the documentation sites for HQ and Talent we’re delivering with Flare and Central, we’re empowering users to get the content they need faster and letting our product managers and support/ operations teams to focus on growing the business.

LISA HAMILTON | Experience Content Manager, Axiom Law

“Adding multimedia using Flare is so fast and easy with Capture, and it is one more way that we are moving from dependency on human support channels to a self-service, on-demand content model,” Lisa says. With the documentation sites for HQ and Talent we’re delivering with Flare and Central, we’re empowering users to get the content they need faster and letting our product managers and support/operations teams to focus on growing the business.”


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