The Help widget - improving the forum

Clement Oke
An image of an iPad showing the homepage of the forum

You might have noticed that question mark icon at the bottom right hand corner of your screen when visiting the forum. We explain the reason it's there and how it helps improve the forum.

When we redesigned My Stroke Guide back in 2021, we had been given a lot of feedback about what worked well and what didn't. This feedback came from our stroke survivor community as well as colleagues in the Stroke Association who wanted to reach out and interact with the online community.

We wanted to use the opportunity to provide a platform that we were able to quickly respond to questions and provide assistance to people trying to access the site. Previously, they would have to send an email and wait for a reply. Back and forth just for something as simple as resetting their password.

What problem were we trying to solve?

We wanted to make it easier for people who experienced problems trying to sign up to the forum or navigate their way, find a quick and easy way to get a solution. 

We also wanted to free up the time of the small team running My Stroke Guide to do other things to improve it. Having to email the same instructions on resetting a password to hundreds of people a month was not the best way of using our time. We wanted to use that time to interact more closely with the community and discover other ways and ideas we could improve the platform.

How has the Help widget .. er.. helped?

A list of requests submitted by the help widget

Since we introduced the widget we have responded to hundreds of requests. These include resetting passwords, signposting to other teams and content. We even provided information to users about other organisations that could help them with their query.

Once we receive a request to do with technical issues and challenges, we create a help article. This provides step by step instructions so that the next time someone asks a similar question using the widget, they are presented with the article. What that means is we are able to answer the same question once and use the time freed up to work on improvements. The user can quickly find the answer for themselves without having to get in touch. This makes it an easier and faster process for all.

We also use the help widget to get suggestions from the community for new features. This is used by the team to create a roadmap to improve the platform in bite-size chunks. We are working on a way to make the roadmap available to the community so they can see what’s coming next and how they can feed into the process.

A question typed into the help widget
A question typed into the help widget
Responses to the question appear in the help widget
Responses to the question appear in the help widget

The more we see the need for a certain feature come up in our tickets from different users, the more we can see where our improvements make an impact.

So the next time you see that purple circle at the bottom of your screen, know that it is quietly doing it’s bit to improve the forum.

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