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New To Confluence? Here are some tips to help with your first steps.

Welcome to the Confluence world!. It is just the beginning and I am sure that you are trying to figure out how to start. I would like to help you by providing some tips and considerations.

First of all, Do Not Panic and go slow!. As in any Atlassian products you will find a lot of great features available just few clicks away. I am listing some of them below so you can organize your learning path.

But before going right into the product, let's review some generic concepts (some of the links are pointing to old Atlassian material but still current in essence)

1. What is Confluence?

It is basically a powerful wiki environment.

"Single source of truth: Transparency and organization are key for modern teams. Confluence gives you a central place to keep your team's work organized and accessible, making it easier to find the information needed to keep work moving forward.

A better way to work: High performing teams work together to maximize productivity. Confluence combines the speed of creating on your own with the advantages of working together. Confluence makes it easy to create documents as a team, provide feedback in context and quickly iterate until your work is finalized.

Made for every team: Teams change and teams grow. Confluence is a flexible platform that supports the way your team works and can be customized to fit any and every type of need."

 

2. Watch this video about "What is WIKI and the 10 reason to use Atlassian Confluence

 

3. Start building your foundation with key concepts

Wiki

Space

Pages and Blogs

The Confluence Editor

Add-Ons / Plugins

Macro

Template

Blueprint

Keyboard Shortcuts

Gadgets

Page Layout

Macro Browser

4. Building blocks. Now that you know basic concepts you can improve the look and feel of your pages and spaces by using advanced macros and add ons. (The links go to the documentation for Confluence Server, but most of them have the same behavior in Confluence Cloud)

Excerpt

Multi-excerpt (add on)

Page Property

Page Property Report

Loremipsum

Info, Tip, Note and Warning

Panel

JIRA Macro

JIRA Gadget

Code Block

Expand

Anchor

Content by Label

Include Page

Children Display

Visit this page to review the Full List of Confluence macros.

5. Marketplace add ons: Check the Macro Browser to verify if you have additional macros installed. Those macros are added by installed marketplace add ons and usually the documentation could be found on the same macro edit window.

Some additional tips:

1. Keep in mind that Confluence is a great tool to radiate information. So if you master the use of Excerpt Macro (and Multiexcerpt macro if it is installed) you can easily repurpose your content in different locations, without the need of updating each one of them. In fact, you need to update only the page that contain the excerpt macro.

2. Get familiar with Page Properties and Page Properties report, that will help organizing your children pages and have a smart parent page displaying key information, avoiding the need of opening each individual page.

3. Labels are great and useful in order to repurpose content and optimize search.

4. Build your "information web" inside your environment by combining and linking pages. this will reduce your bounce rate and it will keep your readers navigating your environment.

5. Pages look and feel: Your confluence pages need to have a good design so the consumers can easily find the information. Do the extra mile and learn more about page layouts. As analogy, check this video that contains the evolution of the New York Times Front pages since 1852 to see the different perception for the readers based on the covers design and the use and impact of images. 

6. Use icons and images to facilitate the navigation: by adding a couple of graphics to the Confluence page to facilitate navigation you will improve the user experience. Please check the collaboration environment that I designed and developed for vxVistA Open Source Community  to see how I use icons and graphics to motivate and foster collaboration and navigation. (The site is public, feel free to navigate the site and contact me if you need more information about how a specific page was designed)

vxvista.org.jpg

  • Home Page: I am using some icons in the landing page to direct the visitor to our sections.
  • Recorded Webinars: In this page I am using out of the box macros combined with marketplace add ons. (Advanced Tables for Confluence)
  • Questions: in this section we are using the add on called Questions from Atlassian.
  • Information Radiation: In this page we are answering a question embedding information already available in other section of the environment.
  • Documentation Development: Confluence is ideal to develop product documentation. There are some add ons in the market place like Scroll Viewport and Scroll Versions that are used by Atlassian on their documentation that will help improving the user navigation experience.

7. Sharing pages: Please be sure you use the Share option from the page and DO NOT COPY THE BROWSER url to share a page. Usually the address bar in the browser contains the full url based on the name of the page and not the unique tiny url. If you share what you have on the address bar and then the name of the page is changed, the link sent to your team will be broken. On the other hand, if you copy the share link available from the Share option it won't be affected by the page name change.

8. Keep in mind that Confluence and Jira are better together. Bottom line and to differentiate: Confluence = Content development | Jira = Tracking engine. Do not overload Jira with information when a quick link to a nice developed page will improve the user experience and it will keep the information in context.

9. Foster collaboration: create key templates, facilitate the use of the tools, motivate the team to use comments and to avoid the use of emails. As soon as you see that an email will spark conversation, create a page and send the link to the team. That simple step will keep the conversation in context and it will allow new team members to find the supporting documentation to any discussion topic.

10. Think about the overall taxonomy and provide an initial layout to keep some consistency among spaces and pages and at the same time provide freedom so spaces can grow organically. (I really recommend this book about  Wikipatterns, the full text is available on author (Stewart Mader) website: http://stewartmader.com/wikipatterns/  )

 Wikipatterns-cover-pagesjpg.jpg

 I hope you find this information useful for your endeavor. Keep in mind that the users's community is there for you. Look for a local Atlassian User Group and check this article that I created providing information about additional resources available. Enjoy the ride!

Related article about Resources from the Users' Community:

Part 1 of this serie of articles - Resources that are solely developed and provided by Atlassian. 

Part 2 I addressed resources that are sponsored or created by Atlassian 

Part 3 and Part 4 - Resources that are created by Community members including Atlassian Partners. 

 

Learn more about Confluence Dashboard Spaces and Pages:

dashboard-space-page-hierarchy_02.png

 

5 comments

Great insights. 

Like # people like this

That's good stuff.

I have a similar into -- resident in Confluence, so demonstrates at the same time. Mine is a bit more oriented toward the operational benefits of some of the baked in capabilities and features, a bit more aimed at sponsorship / policy-level folks.  You need them, too, they care about operational results from what the tool can do, and they have been pitches similar payoff before without getting them.

Glad to compare notes sometime if that seems useful.

Like # people like this

Great article @Fabian A. Lopez -ACL -Mentor- ! I especially love #5. The Marketplace is a beautiful world of endless possibilities! 🤘💝🥇

I love using confluence and these points indicate why! It's such a powerful collaboration tool.... for me it's replaced most governance documents/databases and also eradicated most email chains! HUZZAH ! ! !

Like # people like this
Kesha Thill Atlassian Team Feb 01, 2019

Oooh this is so detailed, and full of great resources and links. What a wealth of knowledge - thanks for sharing!

Like # people like this

Thx for that page. Help me to get an faster onboarding of new CONFLUENCers 👍

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