Knowledge Management Tools
Our learnings from building knowledge management migrations
Recently, we've had customers requesting migrations from legacy knowledge management tools to more modern help center solutions. When we analyze a customer's desired migration path, we find that many concepts map cleanly between providers, but for features that don't have an equivalent, we have to compromise. In this post, we'll investigate the features and incompatibilities we've found between HelpDocs, Intercom, Re:amaze, and Zendesk.
We'll use the following features to compare providers:
- Translation support
- Subcategory support
- Attachment handling
- Comment support
Many companies we work with are global and want to reach their audience in their native language. Most help centers support multilingual use-cases, though they often charge more for the feature.
HelpDocs, Intercom, and Zendesk support a global default language. After enabling additional languages, you can specify a new translation for each article or category. If a translation does not exist, the article or category will not appear in the help center. The translation feature is unavailable on the lowest pricing tier of any of the products.
Re:amaze has no support for translations. They do allow customizing most text in the headers and footers if you need to support one, non-English language.
Much like folders organize files, categories help organize help center articles. When a help center becomes too complex, dividing categories into subcategories can be helpful. The concept of categories are shared across all providers, but not all providers support subcategories.
HelpDocs support top-level categories with nested categories. There’s no published limit to how deeply subcategories can be nested.
Intercom supports top-level categories with sections. Sections can only be defined in a top-level category, so there’s no support for nesting. In Intercom, a category appears as a document that lists articles. The sections in Intercom are less like folders and more similar to headers that organize articles in the category document.
Re:amaze only supports top-level categories.
Zendesk supports top-level categories that can be divided into sections. These sections can further be divided into subsections and can be nested up to 5 levels deep. Note that subsections are only available on their Enterprise plans.
Many customers find that images and video are more instructive than text. Platforms handle each attachment type differently.
HelpDocs, Intercom, and Zendesk allow you to upload images to their servers. They each provide a way to embed videos using urls from YouTube, Vimeo, Wistia, JWPlayer, Brightcove, Vidyard, or Loom.
Additionally, HelpDocs and Zendesk allow uploading arbitrary files like a pdf or zip file. These files can then be downloaded when viewing an article.
Re:amaze doesn’t support asset uploads. Any images or videos must be uploaded elsewhere, then embedded in an article using markdown, their wysiwyg, or html.
While it’s not common to allow comments on articles in your help center, it’s a feature supported by some help centers.
HelpDocs supports comments using their integrations with Doorbell, Disqus, and Feedier. This allows you to use a platform dedicated to comments and moderation. The downside is you’ll need another subscription.
Zendesk allows comments from users that first register using their email. This functionality is included with each plan, but you can disable the feature if you’d like.
Neither Re:amaze or Intercom support comments in any way.
Here's a table that maps the concepts between the different products:
|HelpDocs||Help center||Top Level Category||Category (∞ levels deep)||Article|
|Intercom||Help center||Collection||Section (1 level deep)||Article|
|Zendesk||Guide||Category||Sections (5 levels deep)||Article|
In this article, we covered how HelpDocs, Intercom, Re:amaze, and Zendesk differ. If there's something you'd like to see covered, or you're interested in migrations for your product, let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org