Learning The Ropes
The first project of my internship at Atlassian this summer was to create a video demonstrating how I built my personal page inside Confluence 3.0. This was an intimidating task because I had never used Confluence before. I didn’t even have any experience with HTML or programming, but somehow I had to learn to use a new product then make it seem effortless in the video. All I had to guide me were the personal pages of other employees.
That was all I needed. After scanning through several of my coworkers’ pages, I found a number of interesting ways to customize my space. I could see what they did in Wiki Markup, and that allowed me to implement the same techniques when building my page. I quickly learned how they used the personal page as a way to creatively express themselves and communicate their story and interests.
Before building my page, I decided on what it should convey. I wanted to have a brief description of myself at the top of the page accompanied by my recent company blog posts. I quickly realized that columns would make my page easier to view, so I messed around with column widths until I was satisfied with their size. Then I wanted to share some of my favorite books/music/movies/TV shows followed by some of my hobbies. Finally, I thought my fellow Atlassians would like to see what blogs I read. Below is a quick video tutorial so that you can make an awesome personal space too. After you finish the video, keep reading for step-by-step instructions on how to use the tools shown in the video.

Putting Tools To Use
Making Columns
Columns allowed me to display the information on my page in a more engaging and friendly manner. It also gave me more freedom to choose where I put certain things. You can create a column by:
1. Typing: {section}
2. Then typing: {column:width=_%} use whatever width you would like
3. Add whatever you would like in the column
4. Typing: {column}
5. Repeat steps 2-4 to add another column
6. Type {section} again
Adding Panels Thumbnail image for about me.png
I wrote a short description of myself so that visitors to my page could quickly learn some important facts about me. I wanted it to stand out a little, so I put it in a panel (a strategy I learned from looking at other pages). You make use of this feature by:
1. Typing: {panel}
2. Writing the text you would like to be in the panel
3. Then type: {panel} again
Displaying Your Blog
Then I wanted to give my company blog more visibility by including some of the recent entries on my page. You can do this with the Macro Browser:
1. Open the browser
2. Select the Blog Posts tool
3. Choose from a number of different ways to display your blog
4. Then click insert
Adding Movies movies.png
I wanted my personal page to show my coworkers what my interests are as well as what I’m working on. I play lacrosse in college and love to ski, and my personal page provided me with the opportunity to show other employees some videos of me taking part in those activities. This turned out to be a great way to meet people with similar interests because they saw my personal page and came up to me to talk about lacrosse or skiing. The Macro Browser made it much easier than I had expected to display videos on my page. All you have to do is:
1. Place the cursor where you would like the video
2. Open the browser
3. Select the Widget Connector tool
4. Enter the URL for the video
5. And click insert
Adding RSS Feeds
There are a number of blogs that I check everyday, and I wanted to include some of my favorites on my page. Again the Macro Browser made the task astonishingly easy. After a few clicks, I had three RSS feeds displayed on my page so my coworkers could get an even better idea of what my interests are. To add RSS feeds to your space just:
1. Place the cursor where you would like the feed RSS.png
2. Open the browser
3. Select the RSS Feed tool
4. Enter the URL for the RSS feed
5. Specify the amount of entries to display
6. Then click insert
Benefits of Using Personal Pages in Confluence
The whole process of deciding what I wanted to show on my page, learning how to navigate through Confluence, observing different methods of presenting information, learning how to use those techniques, and actually building the page took only a couple of hours. For a new user with zero relevant experience, Confluence 3.0 was incredibly easy to use. At the same time, I anticipate that the Macro Browser will enable experienced users to construct their pages more quickly and easily.
Within a couple of days, several employees had commented on my blog and personal space. Coworkers that shared some of my interests remarked on the movies or mentioned a related experience they have had. This allowed me to connect with several employees who I had not met yet or who lived in Sydney. Confluence made it easy for me to create an identity and network with other employees who have the same interests.
I felt like it took me less than a few hours of messing around to become comfortable using Confluence. I was so impressed that I started promoting the product around my family friends. In no way is this part of my job description, but it’s not every day you come across software that combines utility and ease of use so effectively.
What are your favorite techniques for customizing your personal page? What has your personal page enabled you to do in your organization?

New User Experience with Personal Pages in Confluence 3.0