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Empowering the user experience by customizing the Confluence theme - Warfighter Made - Part 6

Confluence theme out of the box is great and good enough to please the users. When I designed and developed the collaboration environment for the Open Source EHR vxVistA ( I made the decision of just using the Atlassian delivered theme that was upgraded year after year. However, for the Warfigther Made Confluence environment, I faced the challenge of having a strong existing organization theme on their website. So, to accomplish the same or similar look and feel, the provided theme was not enough. I already made the decision of using RefinedWiki theme for the Jira Service Desk Portal, so I followed the same direction with Confluence.

The purpose of the new theme

Confluence add-ons addressing the theme are not only focused on the look and feel, they provide great tools to organize content and to facilitate navigation to those that are not familiar with the wiki.

The challenge that I faced was to mach their brand by improving the look of Confluence and use the same theme globally with a familiar and easy to use navigation. Despite I am still exploring the features of this great add on, I found a real value added after doing some minor testing and it helped me a lot on the organization of the content.

From the top to the bottom

The first part to tackle was the unified navigation, in order to accomplish that I started with the creation of a new dedicated theme. 


I selected the top menu navigation bar. This is configurable on the theme and there are other options as well.

themeconf-configuration 1.jpg

To change navigation you need to edit the active theme.


Themes Library contains the out of the box themes and the Active custom theme.



 On this screen capture of the theme configuration is easy to visualize the selected Navigation option and how the Categories will be interacting with the user

The second step, after selecting the navigation style that supports Warfighter Made branding, was to organize the content. That is part of RefinedWiki add on and it is called Categories and Subcategories and it is configured from the Organizer Tab.



Categories created on the organizer allows the user to set the layers of the navigation menu


Beyond navigation

I know that I am still scratching the surface of this Confluence Add-on, it is really powerful and navigation is just the beginning. when we get closer to the launch day i will write an additional blog post to show how we use the capability of the plugin to reinforce the category landing page and navigation. I really recommend to read more about this Add-on in the Atlassian Marketplace or in their product documentation available online.


Not just a product, a good team and company behind it!

I really enjoy testing new add-ons, but in fact the best part is when you discover a great team supporting the product. The RefinedWiki team not only donated their product to support Warfighter Made, they also jumped in and assist on the design and initial configuration, it was a great jump start for the project.

It didn't end it there... as you will see in the picture below, they also sponsored the Warfighter Made Open House (check this post from BFGoodrich). Thanks RefinedWiki team. (Coming soon... RefinedWiki for Jira Service Desk and Categories landing page customization)




More about this project

The goal is to share on this series of blog-posts how we are building the new collaboration platform for Warfighter Made. See below the list of completed and planned blog posts.


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