Book Sharing Site Takes Advantage of Help Desk Customization Options

Published March 31, 2010
Last modified March 31, 2010

Customize your help-deskBorn Free Books is a brand-new, fun community that logs the journeys of books as they are shared by people all over the world.

The free service is the creation of the Hatchery, a London, U.K.-based web development agency. The Hatchery managing director Andrew Mobbs decided early on that he wanted to provide the Born Free Books community with first-class customer support right from day one.  Andrew said Zendesk was the obvious choice.

"We'd been working with Zendesk for the last two or so years,” Andrew explained. “Their help desks are perfect for our clients as they provide a streamlined, efficient and cost-effective way to ensure their own clients get the best possible support and service.”

Andrew said Born Free Books needed a help desk system that would have the same look-and-feel as the rest of Born Free Books’ website  -- and one that didn't require tools to be built directly into the core site.

'“The SaaS model provided by Zendesk, with the ability to manipulate the look of the help desk using widgets, made it easy to create consistency, so it was the perfect marriage,” he said.

Quick Tip from Andrew: "When customizing our Zendesk's look and feel using a series of JavaScript and CSS widgets, we found that if JavaScript was disabled in the user's browser, the page would became quite scrambled because the CSS widget wasn't disabled but the JavaScript widget we used to manipulate the DOM was.  The solution was to compress our CSS into one long string and inject it into the page using a JavaScript widget.  This allows the page to gracefully degrade back to Zendesk's default styling when JavaScript is disabled in the browser."

Everyone at Zendesk loves how the Born Free Books help desk has turned out and we think you'll love it too. Be sure to check out their site including the support pages and remember to spend some time on the cool service it provides. In a nutshell, here’s how it works:

  1. Pick out a book from your collection and enter its information (title, author) into the drop-off section of
  2. Type in where you will leave the book and at what time, how you rate the book and what condition is it in.
  3. When you click on the [Finish Registration] button you will be given your book's unique Born Free ID. This must be written on the inside front cover of the book along with the community website address:

Meantime, if you would like to learn about customizing the look and feel of your help desk check out this recording of Jake's webinar on the subject.