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Case Study | Unqork, Inc.

Unqork Delivers State-of-the-Art, Persona-Based Learning Management System Website and In-product Help Documentation Using MadCap Flare for Single-Source Publishing and MadCap Central for Collaboration

Company Website

www.unqork.com

Location

New York, NY

Industry

Software

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Goals:

  • Deliver a persona-driven Learning Management System that empowers Unqork customers to educate themselves on using its application platform.
  • Facilitate content re-use across the Unqork Academy LMS, embedded product Help, so the client enablement team can keep pace with the business’ rapid product rollouts and company growth.
  • Foster collaboration among the many Unqork teams that contribute to the company’s educational content.
  • Create attractive content that aligns with the Unqork brand and creates an inviting experience for users.

Solutions:

  • MadCap Flare native XML single-source, multi-channel content authoring software
  • MadCap Central for collaboration and content management

Benefits:

  • Enablement: The persona-driven Academy LMS uses MadCap Flare to provide the learning paths, expandable text, search, and side navigation that helps users of all experience levels find the information they need, reducing their reliance on the support team.
  • Efficiency: Topic-based authoring, single-source publishing, and Snippets in MadCap Flare enable Unqork to deliver the LMS, embedded product Help, and sales enablement documents in HTML5 and PDFs while keeping pace with weekly product updates.
  • Collaboration: MadCap Central allows Unqork technical writers to get edits and updates directly into their draft documents from SMEs across the company using a cloud-based workflow.
  • Attractive Design: Using MadCap Flare, Unqork incorporates logos, fonts, colors and other branding elements that align with the company’s playful brand, and it provides a responsive design for users in the Academy LMS.

Since 2017, Unqork, Inc. has been empowering Fortune 500 companies to create custom applications faster and more cost-effectively using its visual, no-code application platform. To help customers use its platform, the company built the Unqork Academy learning management platform using MadCap Flare and MadCap Central.

Large enterprises spend nearly $1.5 trillion annually to build and service custom software, but the complexity of these projects leads many of them to fail. Unqork, Inc. addresses the challenge by providing a cloud-hosted application platform that brings a visual, drag-and-drop, no-code simplicity to building apps quickly and cost-effectively. Today, its platform is used by Fortune 500 companies, such as Goldman Sachs, John Hancock Life Insurance Company, Liberty Mutual, Prudential, and HSBC.

Because Unqork provides a radically new approach to application development, education is critical to enabling customers’ success. The Unqork Academy learning management system (LMS) assists these users in understanding the technology and best practices for building apps with the platform. To deliver the modern LMS website, Unqork leverages MadCap Flare for single-source publishing along with MadCap Central for content management and collaboration.

The Need to Rapidly Expand Customer Enablement

When Unqork was founded in 2017, it first created content for the Academy LMS by collaborating on the cloud-based Google Docs word processor and then publishing the final documentation as PDFs. However, within a year it became clear that Unqork needed a professional technical authoring solution to produce content for the Academy that would keep pace with the business’ rapid pace of development.

“We were creating multiple versions of documents: one for our platform, another for our LMS, and a PDF to send to customers,” recalled Olga Gomonova, Unqork head of client enablement. ”For a really young, fast-growing organization with updates happening weekly, that approach quickly became difficult to manage.”

The Unqork team soon determined that they needed a robust single-source publishing platform that would let them create a document once and then push it across different channels. Other important considerations were the ability to integrate with the Academy and Unqork’s platform, as well as create attractive documentation that aligned with the company’s brand.

“Flare stood out for its usability, single-sourcing, support for integrating with everything, and the ability to create gorgeous state-of-the-art documentation.”
photo of Olga Gomonova

Olga Gomonova
Head of Client Enablement | Unqork, Inc.

“Flare stood out for its usability, single-sourcing, support for integrating with everything, and the ability to create gorgeous state-of-the-art documentation,” Olga explained. “We also hired a lead technical communications writer who understood how to use Flare, so there was a lot of trust in the platform.”

Maintaining Multiple Learning Paths

Today, the enablement team uses MadCap Flare to deliver educational content on the Unqork Academy, a standalone LMS website. Users range widely from skilled developers to business professionals. The site supports these different personas by letting them start on different learning paths based on their level of experience—from foundational technology concepts to the core Unqork platform to different vertical areas of functionality. Collectively, there are hundreds of topics covering different capabilities of the platform and various best practices.

Unqork image 1

The persona-driven Academy LMS uses MadCap Flare to provide the learning paths, expandable text, search, and side navigation that helps users of all experience levels find the information they need.

At the same time, Unqork has a major initiative around integrating documentation into the application platform as Help content, so users can access information on the fly when they need it while using the product. Because the platform is constantly evolving, Unqork’s enablement is continually updating the content. Finally, the team also creates PDFs or HTML5 files for partners or prospective clients, typically as part of the sales cycle from the same core content.

“MadCap Flare is so critical to us in making sure all of our documentation is organized. We have hundreds of small projects, like tickets or articles for the platform, plus hundreds of topics for the Academy. These would be unmanageable if it wasn't for Flare.”
photo of Olga Gomonova

Olga Gomonova
Head of Client Enablement | Unqork, Inc.

“MadCap Flare is so critical to us in making sure all of our documentation is organized,” Olga observes. “All the content is in a Flare project that serves as the master content source. From that, we can create a really robust version that we push into the Academy and a simplified version that goes into the product. We have hundreds of small projects, like tickets or articles for the platform, plus hundreds of topics for the Academy. These would be unmanageable if it wasn't for Flare.”

Beyond addressing different personas, the client enablement team also needs to update naming to reflect new developments within the Unqork application platform. The snippets functionality in MadCap Flare helps the team to quickly make these updates across all the documentation in just one place.

“We have multiple renaming exercises to ensure that names reflect the evolving functionality of products on our platform,” Olga says. “When we have to change a name across multiple communications, we can make the adjustment on the fly using snippets in Flare, which is really helpful.”

To further manage multiple product updates and tracking, Unqork uses advanced formatting capabilities in MadCap Flare to place a corporate mark, date, and version number on every page of the LMS.

“Using Flare, we designed a style sheet that ensures every page not only includes the corporate mark but also is immediately time stamped and has the correct version number,” Olga notes. “This allows us to readily keep track of our content versions.”

Facilitating Collaboration

Educational content is created by different employees across Unqork, including members of the solutions, product and sales teams in addition to the enablement team. Technical writers then will develop the documentation and review it with the subject matter expert (SME) to make sure everything was captured correctly. Additionally, the head of instructional design may review instructional content to ensure that it is written in the correct sequence and covers the right information to support a given learning path.

In the past, collaboration was accomplished by using Google Docs, sending PDFs, or communicating over Slack or email. However, these channels became difficult to manage as the team scaled up, and the number of documents grew.

“If we had 10 documents with three people involved in the production of each, that meant there were 30 versions flying around in the course of a week. Coordination became very difficult,” Olga recalled.

Because the technical writers at Unqork were using MadCap Flare, it was a natural evolution for the company to add MadCap Central, the cloud-based solution for content management, collaboration and version control.

“We love MadCap Central because it allows us to do everything within one portal. For us, it has cut out an insane amount of work, and operationally the process has become so much better.”

Olga Gomonova
Head of Client Enablement | Unqork, Inc.

Unqork image 1

Unqork’s educational content has been very popular with users and encourages them to rely on it for self-paced learning.

Now, with MadCap Central, a technical writer can send an invitation to an SME or other team member to review a document. The invitation is picked up, and the person is taken to the MadCap Central portal where he or she can review, edit, or comment on the content using MadCap Central’s cloud-based editor. These changes are saved automatically, and then the technical writer is notified when the document has been reviewed. Everything is integrated with the original documents, so team members no longer have to copy and paste content multiple times.

“We love MadCap Central because it allows us to do everything within one portal. For us, it has cut out an insane amount of work, and operationally the process has become so much better,” Olga says.

MadCap Central also has made it easier for the enablement team to produce documentation for a new software version in advance, so that it can be published in conjunction with the software release.

“Product timelines can shift, and the technical writing team has to be there ahead of the product,” Olga explains. “Using MadCap Central, we can be ahead of the game, get all the markups and all the information over to the SMEs for review and create all the documentation; then we will wait until the new product feature comes out to publish it.”

Creating an Inviting Educational Experience

While the internal efficiencies have been important, a top priority for Unqork has been creating attractive and inviting educational content for its customers that is an extension of the company’s brand and marketing.

“Unqork is a bit of a playful brand. We have a magical quality to our platform, where you can do anything you want. It's very creative. We have to make sure our educational content matches that,” Olga explains.

Using MadCap Flare, the client enablement team has built the Academy as a modern website that features a responsive design to automatically adjust to users’ screens, native search, and side navigation that lets users skip through pages to get to the lessons they want.

“With Flare, we can get the right colors, font-size and other style elements that fit with our branding precisely. It is amazing how beautiful you can make documentation with Flare.”

Olga Gomonova
Head of Client Enablement | Unqork, Inc.

“Our technical writers are well versed in taking advantage of the more advanced features in Flare to design the look and feel of our educational content,” Olga observes. “With Flare, we can get the right colors, font-size and other style elements that fit with our branding precisely. It is amazing how beautiful you can make documentation with Flare.”

Unqork also takes advantage of MadCap Flare’s functionality for expanding and collapsing text, so that users with different skill sets can see as much or as little detail as they need.

“In many cases, we have extensive details for best practices or lessons, which would be too long if we were to display it all,” Olga notes. “With Flare, we can collapse the text to fit a single page that is more attractive, inviting and accessible. Then users can click on this text to expand it if they want to go deeper.”

Unqork image 2

Using MadCap Flare, Unqork’s standalone LMS offers users a modern website that features unique learning paths based on level of experience.

“With Flare, we can collapse the text to fit a single page that is more attractive, inviting and accessible. Then users can click on this text to expand it if they want to go deeper.”

Olga Gomonova
Head of Client Enablement | Unqork, Inc.

Additionally, Unqork makes extensive use of GIF animations to illustrate best practices. These are incorporated into educational content using the MadCap Flare snippets feature.

“The GIFs draw users’ attention to the right places or move them through a configuration,” Olga explains. “Using Flare snippets, it’s easy to edit the images into our content.”

Unqork’s educational content has been very popular with users and encourages them to rely on it for self-paced learning.

“Users really love the Academy LMS and product Help experience we’ve created with Flare. This has helped us to create a well-enabled, do-it-yourself community that is more adept at using our platform and requires less help from the support team.”

Olga Gomonova
Head of Client Enablement | Unqork, Inc.

“Users really love the Academy LMS and product Help experience we’ve created with Flare because it lets them find the right piece of information at the right time,” Olga says. “This has helped us to create a well-enabled, do-it-yourself community that is more adept at using our platform and requires less help from the support team.”

“As we continue rapidly growing the business, we look to expand our use of MadCap Central and Flare to deliver educational content that keeps customers wanting to come back for more.”

Olga Gomonova
Head of Client Enablement | Unqork, Inc.

Olga adds, “As we continue rapidly growing the business, we look to expand our use of MadCap Central and Flare to deliver educational content that keeps customers wanting to come back for more.”

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