I’m sure we’ve all heard of a site called iFixit, the site which provides easy repair guides for a wide range of products, including Apple devices, games consoles, digital cameras and so on but I’d hazard a guess at the fact that not as many people have heard of Dozuki, which is the fantastic system that actually powers the website and makes creating and running a “how-to” guide on the Internet a piece of cake.
Read on after the break for my full review!
In A Nutshell
Dozuki is essentially an easy to create how-to guides on the internet. However, it can be used in a load of different situations so for example not only are Dozuki’s customers using the software to create online how-to guides but also support helpdesks (as an alternative to programs such as Desk.com and Zendesk) and internal training guides for employees.
Dozuki is very much aimed towards the business user and its pricing reflects this. The basic paid product starts at $49 monthly for their Garage plan and goes all the way up to $199 for a Medium combo bundle between the Guidebook and Answers plans. There is also a free account with limited features and support for up to 10 guides available as well and you can try all of Dozuki’s plans for 30 days before committing to buying them.
All of Dozuki’s paid plans support domain aliasing and your guide is hosted on their own servers so there’s absolutely no additional software to mess around with or install. With aliasing, although your support site is hosted externally, to the customer it is merely an extension of your own website. This is key to one of Dozuki’s core principles – brand consistency – across your entire site.
Working With Guides
Dozuki makes it really easy to create your how-to guide (or whatever you are creating using it) and you can be really accurate in your descriptions, meaning that your customers aren’t left scratching their heads afterwards. As everything relating to your guide is hosted on their servers, there’s no additional software to install and you don’t have to bother setting anything complicated up either: simply sign up, choose your plan and get cracking.
Let’s have a look at a sample how-to guide created with Dozuki – and what better place to start than with iFixit? Here is their guide to fixing that infamous “Red Ring of Death” on an Xbox 360. You’ll note that each step is broken down into clear instructions and is accompanied by a photo and creating a guide like that is really easy.
Apart from an explanation, you can also add pictures to each step in a guide (and Dozuki lets you edit them from within the app) and embed videos either in the introduction of a guide (for example if you want to provide a quick explanation about what the tutorial is about) or in each individual step (if you want to show the exact process).
When it comes to your explanations, Dozuki provides plenty of handy little tools to help you convey across exactly what needs doing. You can use coloured bullets and a range of different icons (which iFixit use very well and it makes the site look simply fantastic, click here for an example) and to mark out particular areas of a picture (just like in that example), you can easily drag coloured markers onto each uploaded photo.
All content and steps that are added to Dozuki are automatically indexed by search engines. This means that if someone comes across your guide, then they can often jump straight to the particular relevant section instead of having to sift through endless user guides. Dozuki claim that this is more efficient than guides in traditional formats such as PDF, as these are often not indexed by search engines.
Dozuki also offer a Wiki option which allows customers to create documentation without focusing on photos or as option where a step-by-step guide wouldn’t be suitable. As in all wikis, any changes can be tracked and reversed if necessary.
Customising Your Guide
One of Dozuki’s core principles, as I mentioned above, is brand consistency and the program lets you customise your guide so it blends in perfectly with your existing site and, with that domain aliasing, your customers never know that you are actually being diverted to another site for support. You can customise your site using either HTML or CSS style sheets with the Workshop plan.
Along with this, Dozuki is designed to integrate seamlessly with existing software (such as online stores) – again, brand consistency. Take Crucial as an example, where the option to purchase memory upgrades is integrated with their customer support system. I was particularly impressed by this as it really does highlight the flexibility that you get with Dozuki and that you aren’t just tied down to their specifications – you can tinker and tweak with it to your heart’s content.
Using Dozuki As A Support Platform
As we mentioned briefly above, Dozuki also doubles up as a support and ticketing platform such as Desk.com and this is the aim of the Answers range of plans. However, unlike Desk.com, where most of the customer support takes place on the back end, Dozuki takes a slightly more practical approach, in that customers can actually see whether the question they are asking has already been posted before.
Dozuki will build up a so-called Knowledge Base of all asked questions and customers can search this before they take to e-mailing you. This has two distinct advantages according to the company: firstly, you can reduce your customer support costs and secondly you actually improve your client’s user experience with your company. The support system can also be used internally as a corporate intranet (you can make sites private or public depending on how you want to use it) and questions and answers can also be “voted on”, allowing visitors to distinguish which are the best answers to a particular question and providing them with better and more accurate support.
There is also a wide range of support for enterprise users, such as SSO (single sign on) integration and Dozuki’s open embedding API makes it really easy to integrate it into your pages. To be perfectly honest, it’s actually far more than I was expecting from what looks like a relatively simple piece of software.
Well, Dozuki is another one of those web apps that amazes me with its complexion and flexibility yet still scores top points for features and usability. In a nutshell: it’s fantastic. You can do an awful lot with it besides creating a how-to for dishwasher repair or a step-by-step guide on how to rip apart the latest Apple gadget, and it’s precisely this flexibility that means that Dozuki will find a snug home in many companies. Yes, it’s not meant for the home user and you will only get the full benefits from this great package when you go for one of the paid plans but this app thoroughly deserves our prized and honoured 10 out of 10 score as for its target market, there is nothing better.
I’d also like to say a big thank for Brian Sallee, Business Development Manager at Dozuki for taking the time to video-conference with me and explain how this great product works. Thanks, Brian!