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  3. SupportPress


Important: This theme was retired in February 2014. Documentation is no longer being updated.

SupportPress is an app-style theme that transforms WordPress into a fully functional help desk for you and your customers.

Its main purpose is to give users an opportunity to make support requests and post bugs while also educating on existing issues via an intuitive knowledgebase.

Users can browse a catalog of useful information via the knowledgebase or report new issues via support tickets. Your team can then act upon tickets by appending ticket types/priorities and delegating tasks to peers.

Installation ↑ Back to top

After installing and activating the theme, go to Settings > Permalinks and click the Save Changes button, even if there are no changes. This registers custom post types and taxonomies used in the theme.

Also note:

  • SupportPress installs 1 new database table called supportpress_watching_tickets. This stores data about tickets and messages that you are watching.
  • SupportPress comes with 5 custom widgets.
  • SupportPress installs 3 custom post types (tickets, knowledgebase items, messages) and several new taxonomies.
  • SupportPress creates several new pages and page templates for its core functionality (i.e., a ticket submit page)
  • SupportPress uses its own email template.

User Roles ↑ Back to top

SupportPress is designed to be used by 3 user demographics. Guests, Members and Agents. These users each have different roles within SupportPress.

Guests are unregistered users. They have access to the knowledgebase only. If they sign up, they become members.

Members have access to a personal account area and can submit new tickets. When a member submits a ticket, they automatically start ‘watching’ it. They receive emails when any updates are made to that ticket.

Agents are staff. They administer SupportPress by managing the knowledgebase and tickets. Agents have the authority to update a ticket and assign tickets to peers as tasks. Agents also have access to Messages that can be thought of as an internal private blog.

The three roles use default WordPress user roles:

  • Guests are unregistered users.
  • Members are ‘subscribers’.
  • Agents are ‘administrators’, ‘editors’, ‘authors’ or ‘contributors’.

First Steps ↑ Back to top

After installing SupportPress, you are ready to go. If you go to the frontend of the site, you will notice the area in the header for logged in users/admin.

Clicking the avatar takes you to your profile page.

  • ‘Edit Profile’ takes you to a form on the frontend where users can update their profile.
  • ‘Log out’ logs you out of the system and takes you to the guest home page where this section is replaced with a login form.

Creating Users With Agent Roles ↑ Back to top

Setting up SupportPress registers an Agent user role, which is used if you want to create accounts for staff to edit tickets, the knowledgebase, etc.

If you set up SupportPress on WPMS, you won’t see the Agent user role. Setting a new user with the role of Author or above acts the same as Agent.

Navigation and Menus ↑ Back to top

At the top of the theme is a navigation area for standard pages. It is recommended that you put arbitrary pages in this navigation section.

This menu can be managed like any other standard WordPress menu via the backend (Appearance > Menus). Create a menu as normal and assign it to the ‘Top menu’ location. This menu can be switched off from the Woo control panel.

The main SupportPress navigation is straightforward and adjusts itself depending on user level.

  • Dashboard – all users see this link back to the homepage (dashboard).
  • Tickets – users and agents can view a list of tickets.
  • Messages – agents can view messages (explained later).
  • Knowledgebase – accessible by everyone (explained later).
  • Blog – accessible by everyone, a standard blog
  • New ticket – the new ticket form, accessible by users and agents
Due to the advanced nature of the main navigation, it does not support WP Menus. To customize it, you need to edit header.php.

Dashboard ↑ Back to top

The Guest Dashboard ↑ Back to top

The guest dashboard shows a notice (customizable from the Woo control panel) as well as recent knowledgebase articles (with AJAX powered search) and a signup form (optional, again turned on and off from the Woo control panel).

The User Dashboard ↑ Back to top

The user dashboard shows recent knowledgebase articles (with ajax powered search) and a list of the user’s submitted (open) tickets for quick access.

The Agent Dashboard ↑ Back to top

The agent dashboard shows an ‘at a glance’ notice which contains a quick list of ticket counts that apply to the logged in agent. Below that is a handy AJAX ticket search, latest messages, and a list of Active tickets that the agent is assigned to.

Creating a ticket ↑ Back to top

Now for the most important part of SupportPress. Tickets. To submit a new ticket, users click the green button on the right hand side of navigation.

Tickets can be given a type:

  • Question
  • Incident
  • Problem
  • Task

And assigned a priority:

  • Low
  • Medium
  • High
  • Urgent

Urgent tickets stand out on the tickets page, with the ticket number fading from pink to red.

A user submitting a ticket will use best judgement in choosing a type/priority, but agents have the authority to edit this information at any time. Once a ticket is created by a user, agents can also assign tickets to other team members and give tickets a status:

  • New – new tickets
  • Open – open tickets
  • Pending – for tickets awaiting further discussion before action, or tickets that don’t need to be resolved at present.
  • Resolved – for tickets/bugs which have been fixed/resolved

Tags can be added to the ticket to make it easy to find , and you can attach a single file to the ticket using the file uploader.

After adding a ticket, it appears on the ‘tickets’ page and shows as an ‘Open ticket’ on agent dashboards.

Managing and updating tickets ↑ Back to top

View any ticket and you will see an ‘update’ form below it’s details. This lets you update the status of a ticket (for example, when you resolve it). Other users can comment on the ticket from here also.

If you’re an agent / admin and don’t want to update the ticket, but need to edit it, use the edit button. Editing a ticket takes you to the WordPress admin panel.

Ticket Listings ↑ Back to top

Viewing any ticket archive you will notice several links above the tickets, such as status, #, age etc – clicking these will sort the list of tickets.

Watching tickets and messages ↑ Back to top

When creating a ticket, or being assigned to a ticket, you will ‘watch’ it. This simply means that you will be alerted via email when it is updated. To change your email update notifications edit your profile from the front-end (the link for this is in the top right navigiation). You can also unwatch a ticket by going to its page and click the unwatch button.

Messages ↑ Back to top

Messages function similarly to the blog with the key difference being that they are made private for internal use.

Only your team members / agents are able to read and post comments; this makes them a great way to privately discuss matters that do not directly relate to a ticket or milestone.

Widgets ↑ Back to top

SupportPress comes with a variety of useful widgets for you to use in the sidebar:

  • Attachments – Shows a list of recently attached files which have been added to tickets and messages.
  • Agents – Lists agents with links to profiles.
  • My Tickets – Lists tickets you are assigned to organized by status.
  • Ticket tags – Shows a tag cloud of ticket tags.
  • KB categories – Shows a tag cloud of knowledgebase tags.
  • KB tags – Shows a list of knowledgebase categories.

To learn more, see: How to Add Widgets.

Custom Post Types ↑ Back to top

Once you’ve installed SupportPress, it automatically creates the custom post types for different sections of the site.

The post types are:

  • Tickets – Support tickets
  • Messages – Team notes
  • Knowledgebase articles – Frequently asked questions and help.

Custom Taxonomies ↑ Back to top

SupportPress has taxonomies:

  • Ticket Status – Stores a tickets status
  • Ticket Priority – Stores the tickets priority
  • Ticket Type – The type of support needed, e.g. a question or a bug.
  • Ticket Tags – As with blog posts, you may want to attach tags to tickets. This works in exactly the same way as the blog section so should come naturally to any seasoned WordPress user.
  • KB Tags – Tags for knowledgebase articles.
  • KB Cats – Categories for knowledgebase articles.

Mobile Support ↑ Back to top

SupportPress offers mobile support out of the box via CSS3 Media Queries with variations:

  • Standard
  • iPad Landscape
  • iPad Portrait
  • iPhone Landscape
  • iPhone Portrait

Test them by resizing your browser window.

Styling SupportPress ↑ Back to top

SupportPress was built using LESS CSS (a dynamic stylesheet language), which allows  you restyle the entire theme by changing a few variables. For example, at the top of the style.less file:

@color1: #eee; /* Background */
@color2: #326b7c; /* Links */
@color3: #777; /* Body Copy */
@color4: #84a910; /* cta */
@color5: #EEF9D3; /* update comments */

You can change these values and compile your .less file to a .css file. The color scheme is then modified.

If you prefer, you can still edit the .css files.

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