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April 11, 2019 By Stacy Kornluebke

People-driven Documentation

Introducing Docs for the People

Democratizing data is one of our key product goals, and we share a similar approach to content. With over half a million words, our Sumo Logic documentation set is a substantial amount of information to provide to our users on the various ways you can collect logs and metrics, query that information, and turn it into meaningful visualizations. But the real trick is making sure that people can find what they need quickly.

It would be easy to focus the deeply technical aspects of what we have to communicate or the words we’d like to bring into your vocabulary, but the people who need our docs most drive our development of new features and information architecture. Our goal is to make sure that everyone finds the right answers to their Sumo Logic questions. This can range from task-based information such as how to set up a Collector to best practices information around metrics rules creation or whitelisting a dashboard.

There are over 1400 articles on our Help site, this one on Metrics Rules has seen a recent update based on user feedback.

How We Analyze Success

Last May at WriteTheDocs, I ran into many people who were data experts except when it came to monitoring their own content. They worked for some of the best technologies in the world, but they were still working on the KPIs for success. Is longer average site time a sign things are improving, or does it mean it’s taking longer for your customers to find what they need? At Sumo, we look at about 5 minutes of average reading time and 2-3 pages of documentation as a good sign that customers are finding the content they want, and looking at another related page or two. Anything beyond that and we may need to change the structure of our information.

Another key indicator of success for us, is how easily can advanced users navigate our content. Where they begin and end tells us a lot about what they want to learn and need. And for assessment, we study analytics on how readers flow between key sections of our docs

Does this Sankey Flow diagram of docs usage captivate your imagination? If so we have a spot open on the team.

Leaving the Door Open for Feedback

Just as in a democracy everyone can vote, whether they actually do or not, another key part of democratizing your documentation is allowing everyone to provide feedback. While we seek out comments through customer satisfaction tools, the best place to gather feedback is on each article we create. If you’re looking for it, the feedback mechanism at the end of each article lets users reach out to us with positive or negative sentiments, or with direct comments on how we can help and improve:

We get feedback almost daily from users, both on the technical aspects of the article and sometimes on the information structure. They tend to favor leaving comments over just choosing happy or sad sentiments, but we welcome either response as it gives us a sense of which articles receive significant feedback over time compared to articles that are often visited, but never commented on.

Soliciting Direct Feedback

Voluntary feedback allows for very holistic and organic analysis, but sometimes you want to focus improvements on key groups of users and for that we specifically reach out to specific customer groups. Thanks to Bret Scofield our UX Manager, we got to have a lot of fun during the last two months during direct feedback sessions with our customers. With a simple card sort, she and our intern, Caleb Castro, worked with a group of customers directly on how they saw the structure of our information. This direct and interactive research helps us think of new ways to improve user interaction with the documentation.

There’s also a digital version but we found that you think longer with cards physically in your hands.

From that research we’ve been working on some site changes to help users focus on particular tasks as well as navigation changes to make specific tasks easy to find. For example, our users love our integrations and simply moving the Sumo Apps to the top of the table of contents allowed them to find how to send data to Sumo Logic that much faster for their log type.


At the end of the day, we have a lot of fun learning how our readers interact with the documentation and we’re grateful for all the ways we can learn about them. It may sound cliche but it’s gratifying to know what users need and want in the docs as they are our customers, our purpose for creating the content in the first place. One of the best things about writing for Sumo Logic is the openness everyone brings to a problem and their ability to see ways we can make changes.

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Stacy Kornluebke

Stacy Kornluebke

Stacy Kornluebke has been at Sumo Logic for two years, managing the Documentation and Training Teams. When not trying to find new ways to improve Sumo Logic Education, Stacy enjoys travelling with her sons, failing to smile for headshots, cooking, and glasswork.

More posts by Stacy Kornluebke.

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The Insider’s Guide to Sumo Cert Jams

What are Sumo Cert Jams? Sumo Logic Cert Jams are one and two-day training events held in major cities all over the world to help you ramp up your product knowledge, improve your skills and walk away with a certification confirming your product mastery. We started doing Cert Jams about a year ago to help educate our users around the world on what Sumo can really do and give you a chance to network and share use cases with other Sumo Logic users. Not to mention, you get a t-shirt. So far, we’ve had over 4,700 certifications from 2,700+ unique users across 650+ organizations worldwide. And we only launched the Sumo Cert Jam program in April! If you’re still undecided, check out this short video where our very own Mario Sanchez, Director of the Sumo Logic Learn team, shares why you should get the credit and recognition you deserve! Currently there are four certifications for Sumo Logic: Pro User Power User Power Admin Security User And these are offered in a choose-your-own-adventure format. While everyone starts out with the Pro User certification to learn the fundamentals, you can take any of the remaining exams depending on your interest in DevOps (Power User), Security, or Admin. Once you complete Sumo Pro User, you can choose your own path to Certification success. For a more detailed breakdown on the different certification levels, check out our web page, or our Top Reasons to Get Sumo Certified blog. What’s the Value? Often customers ask me in one-on-one situations what is the value of certification, and I tell them that we have seen significant gains in user understanding, operator usage and search performance once we get users certified. Our first Cert Jam in Delhi, India with members from the Bed, Bath and Beyond team showing their certification swag! First, there’s the ability to rise above “Mere Mortals” (those who haven’t been certified) and write better and more complex queries. From parsing to correlation, there’s a significant increase by certified users taking Pro (Level 1), Power User (Level 2), Admin (Level 3) and Security. Certified users are taking advantage of more Sumo Logic features, not only getting more value out of their investment, but also creating more efficient/performant queries. And from a more general perspective, once you know how to write better queries and dashboards, you can create the kind of custom content that you want. When it comes to monitoring and alerting, certified users are more likely to create dashboards and alerts to stay on top of what’s important to their organizations, further benefiting from Sumo Logic as a part of their daily workload. Here we can see that certified users show an increase in the creation of searches, dashboards and alerts, as well as key optimization features such as Field Extraction Rules (FERs), scheduled views and partitions: Join Us If you’re looking to host a Cert Jam at your company, and have classroom space for 50, reach out to our team. We are happy to work with you and see if we can host one in your area. If you’re looking for ways to get certified, or know someone who would benefit, check out our list of upcoming Cert Jams we’re offering. Don’t have Sumo Logic, but want to get started? Sign up for Sumo Logic for free! Our Cert Jam hosted by Tealium in May. Everyone was so enthusiastic to be certified.