The “dark box”: a simple analogy to understand Zendesk Views

Whether it’s Zendesk or another help desk software that includes this kind of feature, a View is basically a filter you set up to present tickets that obey to specific criteria.

This explanation isn’t always clear to many people starting with Zendesk, though, so here’s an analogy that usually gets this one out of the way when providing training.

All Zendesk tickets live inside a dark box

Imagine a dark box inside which all your tickets live… Every now and then, a slot opens, and a new ticket goes in.

I know, I know…

It doesn’t matter if the ticket channel is email, web widget, social network, API, and so on. All your tickets go inside this box.

Although you know all tickets are in the box, you can’t see anything. So you pierce a hole in the box, and light shines in a specific angle, illuminating some of these tickets, which you can now visualize. You just created a View!

Light through holes on the box will shine on specific tickets

This ray of light might not show you all the tickets you need, though. It depends where on the box you made the hole (the side and/or angle), and/or how big the hole is… That is, it depends on your View conditions.

In practical Zendesk terms, a View that has the conditions Status is less than Pending, and Channel is Email, is very different from a View where Status is less than Solved, and Channel is Email (the former will show you less email tickets than the latter).

In the end, it’s not about how many holes you make on the box, it’s about if they’re in the right place, angle, and/or if they’re the right size.

It’s probably not the best one, but this analogy usually does the trick whenever I have to introduce Views to someone who never heard or used Zendesk.

What tricks and tips do you use to easily explain Zendesk-related stuff to a layperson? Feel free to share in the comments below.

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