API Quick Help Guide

by Adrienne Johnson, Technical Writer


Processes created to navigate the new database had not been outlined. Yet, the team was being inundated by end users with questions and asking for help with the new site. Based on data collected from the help tickets, I created a quick help guide for my team to not only document database processes but assist the customers in a timely manner.

problem + process

Complex Organizational Needs and Obsolete Processes

  • Developer/Organization Mismatch - The database the organization migrated to was designed by developers who had previously worked with much smaller child sponsorship organizations. It was difficult for the system they designed to account for all the complexities of a larger organization.

  • Outdated Processes - The previously established processes of the organization were paper-centric. These processes did not take into account the new database.

  • Low Organizational Capacity - Serving customers proved to be overwhelming for an office staff of eight due to there being no newly established processes in place.

  • Donor Unfamiliar with Using an API - The new API was being hosted on a completely redesigned website that launched at the same time. Not only were the donors unfamiliar with the website, they had not previously used a donor portal with this organization.


To determine which material would be included in the Quick Help Guide, I researched which problems were the cause of the most incoming calls. I polled my team members for their input and set up an email account for customers to request help with the website.


Utilizing incoming emails, calls, and Google Analytics most visited pages, I put the data onto a spreadsheet to not only track help tickets, but determine the subjects. (See Figure 1.)

I narrowed down the list to the top four recurring problems: 


  • Logging into the website (target audience: team and customers) 

  • Merging donor accounts (target audience: team/internal)

  • Setting up recurring giving (target audience: customers/internal + team/external)

  • Setting up a non-sponsorship pledge (target audience: team/internal)

SME Interviews

All internal topics required interviewing the SMEs involved - the finance department. After interviewing the SMEs I drafted a process outline that correlated with the finance department’s processes in place.


Ultimately, I designed and created a five-page quick guide complete with screenshots for my team to utilize on a daily basis. See Figures 2-7.

view it live


Figure 1: Sample trouble tickets
Figure 2: Cover
Figure 3: Table of Contents
Figure 4: Article
Figure 5: Article
Figure 6: Article
Figure 7: Article
Figure 8: Article
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