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Recent Updates to’s Support Page

- February 16, 2011 - 3 Comments

We’ve made some subtle updates to the support site in the last few weeks to improve the experience in a variety of ways:

On the support home page, we made numerous adjustments directed by these four themes:

  • Update some link labels to better reflect the language of the audience
  • Emphasize frequently used content and remove links that are infrequently used
  • Link directly to some of the most popular resources on the home page — providing a sort of ‘fast track’ to these items
  • Added a few standard page components such as the footer at the bottom of the home page

We also made some adjustments to the product finder on the home page will help more users find product support information quickly.

  • Added more than 1000 synonyms to increase the likelihood of matches with common query strings.
  • Updated the null results page to offer more useful suggestions
  • Added some intelligence to prevent null results when certain high-frequency words are used

We know a lot of folks enter the support site on a ‘product support page’ from a search on Google. These pages provide information for an entire series, which can include numerous models. We picked about 10 of the most popular product support pages and made some updates:

  • Added a list of the names of all the models associated with the series
  • Revised the section that provided links to our support communities; now the links point directly to the discussion thread in the community and are strictly relevant to the product series.

Finally, there was a concerted effort to sweep through the site and fix a lot of broken links.

In addition to all the changes specifically on the support site, we’ve been working to improve the speed of  Numerous enhancements to page architecture, implementation of compression techniques and infrastructure improvements — among other things — have lead to some significant improvements in page load times according to our metrics. These improvements touched the vast majority of

When you step back, it’s quite a lot of effort for changes that will likely go virtually unnoticed by users.  Let’s face it, it’s much easier to notice a slow web site than a fast one.  And, no one is going to send a note to let us know that they just clicked 20 links and every one of them worked!

Good web design is like a well-designed network: it is best when transparent and unnoticed.  Of course, that doesn’t mean it isn’t appreciated. Let us know what you think.

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  1. Actually, I have noticed in the last couple of days (just back from vacation) that the site has been quicker and much more ... reliable, I guess. Less dead-end links, more consistent listings. Good work!!

  2. Yeah, it's kind of like housework, you only notice it when it's not done. But the improvement is so striking, I wouldn't be surprised if it did get some comments. In the late '80s or early '90s before my part of BBN was acquired, we had our own router product that never really got beyond DARPA. I remember the main developer on the project complaining "Those people at Cisco, they just listen to whatever the customer wants, and then they do it! How can we compete?" I think there might be a theme here. ;->

  3. Bill, I watched the teams labor intently on these updates, and was heartened to watch the usability testing as it progressed. Great work, and I know you guys are starting to work on another batch of improvements now.