Customize look and feel of Confluence

Hello. I'm hoping someone can give me a bit more information and clarity around customizing the look and feel of Confluence.

As a brief background, we use Confluence as a knowledge base for external clients and partners. We share product documentation, how-to articles, how-to videos, and we have a Q&A forum. We have documentation for each product in it's own space and are trying to look for an easier way for clients and partners to navigate between production documentation (spaces), as well as improving the overall look.

We want to customize the look of the external knowledge base to better align with our company. Currently we have slightly customized an existing theme to contain our colors and logo, but that's about it. We want to create better navigation between pages and spaces, better layout of documentation (more visual, less text), just an overall better experience for our clients and customers.

That being said, we need to find someone to assist with the changes noted above. I'm looking for more information around what is needed to customize the theme, layout, and page templates. Also, looking for any information on the skills necessary to complete these tasks.

I know there are add-ons for helping with the themes, which may be a possible option, however I still need to know what is required when using the add-ons and what skills the user should have.

Any assistance would be greatly appreciated. 

Thanks!

2 answers

Hi Nicole, 

You mentioned potentially using an add-on, in order to find an easier way for your clients/partners to navigate between your production documentation, whilst also improving the overall look – had you considered using Scroll Viewport?

If you activated a Viewport within your Confluence space, it would provide you with the option of having an alternative view for your content. This means you could author your knowledge base articles in Confluence and then display this same content in a way that suits your clients and partners needs. Once configured, the Viewport is available at a configurable URL and uses themes to output the content. 

In regards to the skills required, you can customise the look and feel of the Viewport theme via HTML, CSS and JavaScript to meet your specific requirements. Atlassian uses Scroll Viewport in this way for its own documentation

Should you want to find out further information or trial the app, please see our Atlassian Marketplace listing.  

I hope this information helps. 

Thanks, Thomas (K15t Software)

0 votes

I think you're going down the right route, by looking at the theme.  Reformatting the content isn't going to get you a long way.

I would probably reach for one of the theming engines in the marketplace though.  They allow you a lot more power in the theme and mean you don't have to build, package and deploy your own theme.  There are three I would look at first - Brikit and Refined Wiki both make it easy to build themes with reasonably intuitive guis done inside Confluence, and come with lots of examples and pre-built themes that already look good.  They would probably be good for 90% of the people here who need something better than the off-the-shelf stuff in Confluence.  Then there's Adaptativist's Theme Builder.  This is even more powerful again - you can make Confluence spaces not look like Confluence in the slightest.  But you need to invest time in learning and building.

As for help with themes in general, most Solution Partners have experience with themes and those add-ons, and would be more than happy to help, whether it's helping you learn how to build your own, work with the add-ons, or do some theming for you.

I've worked with all three for years (and written my own themes, but I much prefer the add-ons), although I joined Adaptavist a few years ago, so obviously I have an interest in Theme Builder.  We do do theming without it a lot though, as it's overkill for a lot of people.

Thanks Nic.

I guess I'm still trying to understand what can be done in Confluence (with the Look and Feel options), and when it is best to look at customizing a theme.

How much can you do within the Confluence options? Are they easy to configure and work with? Are there limits to what can be changed?

What are the benefits of customizing a theme?

Cheers,

Nicole

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