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Understand the MindTouch structure

Once your site goes live, your end users will be astonished at the depth of information they will be able to access in your MindTouch instance and the ease with which to find information (granted you follow our recommendations throughout these pages). Any solid structure is build with distinct building blocks that serve a very specific function. MindTouch is no different. 

 

Categories, guides, articles, oh my!

That's really just it. In MindTouch, you will structure content into categories, guides and articles. Simple. But what does that really mean?
 

Categories 


Categories are your products (or personas or languages). We realize that sometimes one structural level may not be enough to guide your end users to the specific information they are seeking, so keep in mind that MindTouch allows you to create sub-categories. Structuring with sub-categories, for example, allows customers to choose an initial product, and then dive deeper into specific models or versions.

Use case 

Your company sells computers, specifically laptops and desktops with two models each. In that case, you may want to structure your categories as follows:​

►  Laptop (category)
        ►  L-model 1 (category)
        ►  L-model 2 (category)

►  Desktop (category)
        ►  D-model 1 (category)
        ►  D-model 2 (category)

 

Guides 


Once your customer has chosen the appropriate product, they will see various guides. In the past, you may have placed all your documentation into a single folder for your customer to access, become overwhelmed with, and eventually give up. It's a new era, so break it up. Guides are a wonderful tool to allow your users to quickly scan help topics, so group content based on specific use cases and tasks. Consider creating a Get Started guide for the day-to-day use of your product and then create additional guides that focus on more advanced topics.

And how about a guide that outlines ways to get help when you're stuck? Traditionally, these are articles from your former knowledge base, those troubleshooting articles focus on a single, short topic and are of great help once your users are already familiar with the product.

  You cannot create guides within guides. If you find yourself tempted to nest guides, create another navigational level of categories.

Use case 

Your main product is computers, and your company offers laptops and desktops. You have created your categories and now need guides for each category.

►  Laptop (category)
        ►  L-model 1 (category)
                ►  User guide (guide)
                ►  FAQ (guide)
        ►  L-model 2 (category)
                ►  User guide (guide)
                ►  FAQ (guide)

►  Desktop (category)
        ►  D-model 1 (category)
               ►  User guide (guide)
               ►  FAQ (guide)
        ►  D-model 2 (category)
               ►  User guide (guide)
               ►  FAQ (guide)



 

Articles 


Now that you have put your top navigational structure in place, it is time to work on creating your content--articles! Articles live in guides. While each article should be focused on smaller microcontent, consider also how many levels of articles you'll create within your guide, which may determine the article type you should create.

Types of articles

There are three types of articles, each allowing you to create various types of content.

  • Topics are articles that (as the name suggests) organize other articles by topic and often provide an overview or outline of the articles it organizes. 
  • How-Tos outline how to use a specific feature and typically provide your end users with step-by-step guidance.
  • References provide a glossary of terminology, a set of diagrams, or even document code examples.

  Although articles can be nested, guides only display up to two-levels of articles. Research has shown that users who cannot find what they're looking for within a few levels of content will simply give up and contact your Support team. For this reason, feel free to nest articles, though we do not recommend creating more than two levels of articles in your guides.


Use case 

One of your main product is laptops, and your company provides two models. You have created your category and guide structure and now want to add some articles to your L-model 1 user guide.

►  Laptop (category)
        ►  L-model 1 (category)
                ►  User guide (guide)
                         ►  Setup (topic)
                            ►  How to connect to WiFi (article)
                            ►  How to connect to your printer (article)
                ►  FAQ (guide)
        ►  L-model 2 (category)
                ►  User guide (guide)
                ►  FAQ (guide)

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