5 improvements coming to the CFEngine Docs

Posted by ChiaCheng Lu
May 20, 2022

This year, we are improving CFEngine’s ease of use, so it should come as no surprise that we need to rethink our documentation site. For software like CFEngine, great documentation is not just “nice to have”, but a must for our users, both beginners and experienced.

CFEngine has helped DevOps teams to automate their day-to-day tasks and make better decisions by providing a holistic overview of their systems. Part of our responsibility is to help users quickly understand how to conduct standard jobs while giving them insight into the possibilities of the product and features they might find useful next.

In starting the revamping of our docs site, we assessed the content available on docs.cfengine.com and listed the most fundamental improvements that can maximize the user experience. In this blog post, we will share the top 5 things we do to improve CFEngine docs and why we do it. Enjoy!

Work in progress

We’ve already started working on the following 5 topics, and so we’d like to share some teasers of what to expect.

1. New look

For the new docs site, we are updating the visual design to be more modern, intuitive, and in line with our other new websites, cfengine.com and build.cfengine.com. This brings consistency throughout different platforms of CFEngine.

2. New information architecture

We started the project by reviewing the information architecture of the content because it is the essence of the site and a key criteria for user satisfaction. After listing all the existing content and comparing them to other sites, we came up with a more logical and easy-to-use structure.

We increased the main categories from four items to eight. Those will cover a holistic overview of the content and offer users a good and fast entry to find the information they need in the most logical way.

3. New homepage

A good homepage allows users to orient themselves and look for information effectively. Therefore, we designed a brand new homepage for the CFEngine docs site. Here we divided the page into two sections which aim to serve different user competence levels. The getting started section enables users to find the installation instructions easily, and the popular section is where some of the key resources are highlighted and easily accessible to users.

4. New Navigation

In the past, we have received feedback from the users that navigation was hard to understand and use. For this reason, we simplified the site navigation by integrating the top navigation bar into side one and alleviating its functionality to expand the content without jumping to another page. Users can, therefore, get a good overview of where they currently are and where they can go next. Since the top navigation bar is removed and all navigation happens in the left navigation tree, the experience is a lot more consistent, and you avoid the situations where the left navigation menu was changing unexpectedly.

5. Mobile view

Do you need to find something on the go? No problem! We’ve got you covered. The new design is responsive, with custom navigation for mobile so that you can find the information you need while having lunch!

What’s next?

We’re excited about the improvements that are in progress and we plan to continue improving the site. Here are a few more things to look forward to:

  • Better in-site search
  • More examples throughout the documentation
  • Simplified and updated getting started tutorial series with videos

Like always, we value your feedback and would love to hear from you. You can share your ideas, and thoughts by sending us an email. If you would like to contribute to our documentation, you can find the information here https://github.com/cfengine/documentation.

I hope you enjoy the new CFEngine Docs.

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