When using a third-party custom application with Dynamics 365, you need to take extra care to make sure that the app works with your company’s implementation of Dynamics 365. This is because different third-party applications have different means of providing help and documentation. Each application may provide its own set of help panes, their own user interface layout, and even their own developer portal. To make sure that you’re actually getting the help you need, check out the following list of best practices. Best Practices for Using Custom Help Panes for Dynamics 365
Use your Company’s user Interface as the Starting Point for the Help Panes
If you’re designing your Dynamics 365 custom help application to integrate with a specific third-party tool, it’s a good idea to start by designing the user interface for that tool. As the initial basis for the help panes, you can use the information and resources from the corresponding tool documentation.
Explain how to use your tool in the Help Builder.
In order to make sure that your customers actually receive the help they need, it’s a good idea to show them how to use your product. This means that you should provide a detailed Help Builder guide, setting out not only how to use the application but also what options are available and the likely outcomes of each option. You should also include any troubleshooting or advanced usage guides that your tool provides.
Have a Centralized Developer support Portal.
It can be tempting to create a separate portal for each third-party software you integrate with. However, doing so will make it difficult for users to find the right support; it will also make it hard for developers to find the right questions to tackle. A centralized developer support portal will do two things for you: make it easy for users to find the right support, and allow developers to find the right questions to tackle. A central support portal will also provide consistency across all of your integrations, making it easy for developers to find the right questions to answer.
Distinguish Between tool Usage and Help-building Scenarios.
A helpful way to distinguish between usage scenarios and help-building scenarios is to add a help-building note to the relevant action. For example, if a customer has an issue with a specific functionality, you can note in the user interface where they can find help on that issue. This will help users to easily find the right information and can also help developers to better understand their users’ needs.
Conduct a Comprehensive Test Drive
Similar to how you would conduct a user study before adding a new feature, you should carry out a test drive of your tool before letting it live in your customer’s environment. By running through your application’s paces, you can make sure that your customers aren’t experiencing any significant issues. You can also use this time to ensure that you understand how your users experience your product. What challenges are they experiencing? What are they trying to accomplish? By clarifying these aspects of your application, you can better guide your development team as they work to solve those challenges.
Custom help panes offer a great way to provide documentation and help for your customers. They’re easy to create, maintain, and use. What’s more, they sync well with the rest of the application, so users won’t find yourself hunting down documentation or help from across the company network. In short, they’re great for when you want to quickly provide help to a large number of users without having to jump through as many hoops.
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