Top tips on how to build a great project homepage
Best-practices to ensure that your project scales, is easy to navigate and is discoverable.
We’ve all seen it before across the internet. You stumble across a homepage and it doesn’t tell you exactly what you want to know from the get-go. You either have to spend time searching for what you need, or you give up and click away. User experience is at the heart of what makes a good homepage on the web, the same can be said for your project homepages in Confluence.
The project homepage is the highest level for a specific piece of work; they don’t necessarily need to be a homepage of a space or even the highest level of a particular hierarchy. It does however, need to tell the user a few key things about its project.
What’s wrong with this homepage?
As the audience of this Confluence page, what can you tell about this page, besides it having something to do with HR policy?
There’s no way to tell that there is any descendant content, it doesn’t tell the story of any children pages (or that the user should navigate to the content children) and the lack of indexing, through labels, means that this page is next to impossible to search for. All of these combine to result in a project that is at risk of being missed.
Here are some tips and tricks to stop your team creating homepages that look like this.
What do you need to communicate on a project homepage?
Before you start creating your homepage, you should take a step back and consider exactly what needs to be communicated. The tendency is to put too much information on your homepage and overwhelm the user. Keep the information on the page high-level but informative. Ask yourself who your target audience is - is it an engineer or the head of marketing? - and include only the bare bones of information they need to know about the project and where they need to go next.
Think about how users will be interacting with the homepage and how they will navigate on from it - if your information is well presented and your navigation is clear, then your battle is already half won.
How does Confluence allow you to build an awesome project homepage?
Your straight out-of-the-box version of Confluence is a good place to start, and now that you have the basics of what should be communicated on your homepage, let’s have a look at how Confluence can set you on the right path with a couple of neat features.
Recommend:Templates are one of the easiest ways to promote good page structure and prevent blank pages. Take a look at our blog, Confluence templates made easy, for best practices on implementing this effectively in your instance.
Child page display macro
The child page display macro allows you to surface all child pages in your hierarchy, by creating a table of contents at the top of your Confluence page. This ensures that at the highest level a user is able to understand the relationship between this page and all pages in the hierarchy. As an added bonus, the macro defeats encountering an empty page.
The Jira Issues macro enables users to tie content in Confluence to Jira epics, tasks, or bugs, allowing you or your stakeholders to keep track of how much work a project contains. The macro also allows you to be as granular as you want, giving you the ability to simply display a link to the Jira issue or be specific, displaying info like priority, description and when the issue was last updated.
Isn’t it just the worst when you know a project homepage exists but you cannot find it for the life of you? Fortunately, Confluence makes it very straight forward for you to index your homepage, ensuring that you can discover content more easily by using labels to organise your content.
For example, adding the label “project-homepage” and a label specific to your team like “marketing” or “year” you can get very granular with your search results enabling you, your team, and key stakeholders to find your project quickly.
Powering up your project homepages with ScriptRunner
Thanks to ScriptRunner, you can further enhance your Confluence experience with a range of features that make administering your project homepages even more straight forward.
The Create Page macro provides a simple solution to building clear project homepages. This simple, one-click solution, gives you full control to specify the template and location of new pages in your hierarchy.
With the Lock Content macro you can show, hide or lock specific content for different teams, allowing you to build project pages that are targeted.
Let’s say you’re working on a technical release that requires a specific communication strategy to be delivered as well. The Lock Content macro enables you to only show the communication plan to the team that needs to work on it. That way the comms team can do their work without bothering everyone else on the project.
CQL Search Macro (Confluence Query Language)
Another challenge that we often run into is keeping track of projects across various spaces or page hierarchies in Confluence. While searching for them through labels or adding a link to them directly on a Confluence yields results, it takes time to find the right pages in the case of labels and is prone to requiring updates in the case of page links.
The CQL Search macro allows you to display page results based on a range of different parameters, such as labels. This means that as pages are moved and new projects are created, you’ll automatically keep track of them in a table.
To continue reading about how you can more easily discover content and make it more discoverable, take a look at our blog about supercharging your Confluence searches with ScriptRunner.
Customisations for the ScriptRunner power users
If you would like to get drastic in your instance and have an understanding of Groovy, then ScriptRunner can take your project homepages to the next level. Here are a few examples:
- Using Script Fragments and Rest Endpoints you can integrate your Confluence instance with any other third party system, allowing you to display vital content from external systems on your Confluence project homepage.
- With Event Handlers you can update your Confluence project homepage automatically anytime a certain event occurs. For instance, you could set up a rule that would add users from a group automatically to a page when it’s created, ensuring that your project stakeholders stay on top of your teams work at all times.
Unlock the full power of homepages in Confluence
It’s so important that your project homepage is as great as your project itself. A clear and informative homepage will help your team save time when navigating through the projects pages and offer easy-to-access information about the project to outside stakeholders.
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