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3 minute read

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Go behind the scenes to see how Appcues documents and shares flows internally

A common struggle for marketers and content creators the world over—keeping internal team members in the loop on your projects. Everyone seems to miss when you shared that updated doc or latest email. Documenting flows reduces questions (“Hey, what does our onboarding look like?”) and gives other teams insight into what you’re building.

The background:

What does our onboarding look like these days? Do we have any in-app messaging for our new integration? How is that old tooltip performing, anyway? If your team members are coming to you with questions like these, I’ve got you.

There’s no easy way to fix general communication, but you can get better at surfacing what flows you’re building and how they’re performing with a few simple habits.

Plan of action:

First, determine your audience. Ask a few questions:

  • Who needs to see what flows are live in Appcues?
  • Who doesn’t have access to Appcues, and won’t need it in the future?
  • Of that group, what tools do they use to communicate and share information?

For us at Appcues, it was:

  • Basically everyone (hopefully this isn’t the same for you! No pressure! 😅 )
  • Almost anyone can access our internal Appcues account, but lots of people are busy helping with customer flows or building improvements
  • Notion and Slack

How we built it:

Two quick notes before I dive in. First,this process was more time consuming than difficult. Every one of these Made with Appcues guides has a time estimate on it, but honestly, this could be anywhere from an hour to a weeks-long project. Start small and grow! Secondly, it needs to become a habit or it’s just going to fade away. It almost faded for me only 60 days in—don’t let it slip!

Ok, so, as I mentioned above, I determined Notion and Slack are where most of my audience spends their time, so that is where my lovely archive will live. I researched our information architecture and found a good spot for my docs, then I decided to start building a table.

I recommend the table format because it’s searchable, filterable, and usually makes it easiest for people to find information. If you’re not using Notion, maybe Airtable or a Google Sheet would be the best option. 

notion table showing the flow archive
I built a Notion page with an embedded table to help folks easily find our flows and results without needing Appcues access.

I added a table to a Notion page within our Marketing section that included key columns I thought people would be interested in:

  • Flow name (same as what’s in Appcues)
  • A brief description
  • Screenshots of the whole flow (I’ll talk more about this later)
  • Status (is it live or not?)
  • Pattern 
  • Results
  • Test Link
  • Link to settings page in Appcues
  • Date published

I added columns to filter and search quickly.

I also created specific views to make it easier for folks who might not be as familiar with filtering and searching tables to easily see what flows they were interested in. 

I added specific filter views to make it easy for anyone to find what they need.

I realize that I added a lot of columns that might not be relevant for everyone. Even if your organization doesn’t need as much detail as we do here at Appcues, almost everyone who is curious about what flows are live wants to see:

  • A screenshot, GIF or video recording
  • Who receives this message
  • Results
  • Status (live or not)

Setting this up for the first time is where that time commitment I mentioned earlier comes in. You gotta be strong, my friends. Just put on some good tunes or your favorite show in the background and start screenshotting and cataloguing. You’ll be surprised how happy everyone is that they now see what users see! Transparency and showcasing your hard work never gets old.

Once your table is live, everyone can see the hard work you’ve put into Appcues. Next, you’ll need to make sure you’ve got a regular cadence for updating this dang thing. I set myself a regular reminder on my calendar, but there are plenty of ways to give yourself a friendly ping.

I use Google Calendar’s reminders to keep me honest and updating the table.

Lastly, make sure everyone knows that you’re adding to this table! Why go through all the effort if people keep asking you what’s live? We have a dedicated Slack channel for our internal Appcues usage here, and that’s where I make our announcements. 

I announce when a new flow is live with a link to the record in the table.

I bet some of you are asking, why bother? Why duplicate efforts? All of this info is in Appcues, right? Let me spell out with a lovely bulleted list why you might want to build a flow repository outside of Appcues:

  • Not everyone has Appcues access, and that won’t change.
  • Experiences change depending on user type, plan, etc., and it’s not easy to share what those experiences look like without screenshots or a specific test link.
  • It’s easy to miss when a flow goes live, especially if you’re publishing fairly often. Creating a list and being accountable for adding new flows helps you keep in the communication rhythm.
  • Tracking results or knowing if something worked can easily get lost in the shuffle. If you put it all down in one spot, you’ll have an easy point of reference for the future.

What am I missing here? How did you build your internal flows catalogue? Send me a note at lyla@appcues.com or reach out to me on LinkedIn.