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If you’ve ever worked on a team that uses Confluence, this is probably a familiar story:
You know that you should be using Confluence as a knowledge base, but it’s hard to find the time to read through long pages to find what you need. And you might not even know where to begin, because the amount of information is so overwhelming.
Or maybe you’re on the other side, creating Confluence pages full of important information that your team needs, but you’re not getting the engagement you hoped for. Your team just isn’t using the resources you’ve created for them.
Whether you’re a creator or a reader, ineffective Confluence pages are frustrating, inconvenient, and don’t take advantage of all that Confluence has to offer as a collaborative workspace.
So how do you fix these problems and create Confluence pages your team will actually want to read? Here are three keys to better engagement on Confluence, and we’ll dive into each one:
To follow along with some of these tips and best practices, you'll want to get started with your free trial of Gliffy for Confluence!
The way a page is set up has a major impact on how readers interact with written content, and how easily they can comprehend and remember what they’re reading. If a page isn’t formatted for readability, it’s common for readers’ eyes to glaze over and for them to miss important information or stop reading altogether. If it is, on the other hand, it’s easier for readers to find the information they need.
Confluence has several options for templates that you can choose from when you are creating a new page. They are specific to various purposes, such as status updates or business processes, so choose one that fits the page’s content and allow it to help you organize information.
The Confluence team has built hundreds of templates that make creating Confluence pages even easier — Gliffy even helped create an event planning template for Confluence that’ll give you a head start.
A page full of paragraphs that all look exactly the same will be difficult for your team to read. That’s why it’s important to use headings to indicate different sections and a hierarchy of information on a Confluence page.
Not only do headings make a page more readable, they also make it easy for readers to find the information they are looking for quickly without having to read the entire page. It’s more effective, efficient, and less of a headache for your team.
You can quickly add headings to your Confluence pages by using the “/h” command to pull up your options or by clicking the dropdown that says “normal text” in the upper left of your editing screen.
Once you have content on a page, you can use Confluence’s Layouts feature to organize it all in blocks of information that are more manageable to the eyes than a long, unstructured document. Adding columns and horizontal blocks, and breaking up the content of a page into bite-size sections, can be helpful when you’re dealing with a complex page with lots of content.
The layouts button is just to the right of the tables option and to the left of the “insert” plus icon in the toolbar across the top of the page you’re editing. You can also type “/info” to add a colored block and icon to your page that highlights a paragraph or section of text.
Did you know Atlassian’s own research shows that more visually appealing Confluence pages tend to get higher engagement? If that’s not a reason to spend a little extra time creating Confluence pages with a little extra sparkle, we don’t know what is.
Readability is an important first step toward visual appeal, but it doesn’t end there. There are many ways to add eye-catching visuals to your Confluence pages that grab the attention of your readers and communicate important information quickly and effectively.
The easiest way to add a little visual pop to a page is by adding a header image. When you are in edit mode on a Confluence page, just hover over the space above the page title, and the option to add a header image should appear.
If you’re going to add a header image, though, make sure it’s something that relates to the content of the page in some way. If you can’t think of anything that fits, it might be better to not include one at all. There are other ways to make a page visually stand out that don’t involve distracting or confusing your readers.
You can include images throughout the page as necessary, too — just type “/image” to get started. When applicable, use the text wrapping functionality to add images without breaking the flow of the text.
Confluence recently introduced a feature called Table Visualization, which allows you to use data from a table to create bar, pie, or line charts directly in Confluence. When you have a lot of data in a table on a page, including a chart will make it easier for your team to understand the meaning of the data at a glance.
Insert a table by typing “/table” or selecting the option from the toolbar at the top of your page.
The built-in ability of Confluence to create charts and graphs is helpful, but what about when you want to visualize something a little more specific or detailed? For example, maybe you have a Confluence page about an important process, or the structure of a network or database.
Visually illustrating complex structures or processes is more effective than trying to write a description, allowing readers to understand them at a glance and providing a helpful resource for them to refer to in the future.
Creating and importing diagrams to your Confluence pages can be a time consuming practice, especially if they need to be updated frequently, but thankfully, there is a faster and easier way. Apps like Gliffy allow you to create professional-looking diagrams in minutes—without ever leaving your Confluence page.
When you’re in edit mode on a page and have Gliffy installed, all you need to do is type “/gliffy”and you will be able to create, save, and publish a diagram that can be placed anywhere in your Confluence instance, with all the duplicates automatically updated every time you edit the original.
🎥 Watch our tutorial to see how to add diagrams and create flowcharts in Confluence >>
Plus, with Gliffy, you can create interactive diagrams that provide a more dynamic, customizable experience for your users, allowing them to filter out the information they don’t need and focus on what they do. To see this feature in action, check out our interactive diagrams demo.
Macros are a valuable tool for anyone creating content in Confluence—they add extra functionalities to Confluence and allow you to incorporate more variety in the way your content is displayed.
Gliffy, which we’ve already discussed as a method of adding powerful visuals to Confluence pages, is one example of a macro, but there are plenty of others you can use to make your pages more functional and visually appealing. These include apps that increase the functionality of tables in Confluence, content formatting tools, and macros that allow you to manage reviews and approvals of your content.
The Table of Contents macro is incredibly helpful to readers when they’re trying to locate information. It organizes all the headings on a page in a bulleted, indented list that readers can use to find the section they’re looking for or as a preview for what they can expect to find on the page.
You can’t have a good table of contents without a good page structure, though, so that’s another reason to make sure you’re using headings and subheadings on all pages to organize information!
If you’re using Confluence to manage and collaborate on a project, you’ll want to take advantage of the Roadmap Planner macro. Not only does it help you create a helpful visual that shows the timeline of a project, you can also link parts of the roadmap to other Confluence pages, making it a great base for project documentation.
There are many more macros you can implement depending on how you’re using Confluence and what kind of information you need to convey. Some of them are included in Confluence, and others are add-ons that you can find on the Atlassian Marketplace.
If there’s something you wish you could do in Confluence to give your pages an extra visual boost that we haven’t covered here, make sure to investigate macros—there just might be one that meets your needs.
With a few formatting tips and macros at your disposal, you’ll be ready to create more powerful Confluence pages that your team will want to read.
While you’re at it, make sure to check out some of our other Confluence best practices or documentation tips to help you make the most out of your team’s workspace. If you're new to Confluence, our Confluence guide for beginners can also help you as you're getting started.
If you’re interested in learning more about how Gliffy can help you bring your Confluence pages to life and make Confluence a better source of information and collaboration for your team, it’s free to try it out, so you can get started today!
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