Best practices: Four steps to a streamlined knowledge base Best practices: Four steps to a streamlined knowledge base

Best practices: Four steps to a streamlined knowledge base

Agent B2C Agent B2C

When it comes to organizing your knowledge base into categories and sections, it's important to consider the type of audience you have and their usual behavior. Some people like to search, while others like to browse, so think about how you'll group articles in a way that makes sense for your product or service, as well as your customers.

Start with a pen and paper

There's something about the act of writing with a pen and paper that makes formulating a logical outline a little easier. You could approach it like drawing a mind-map. Write a category name down and draw branches to the section headings you could use to divide your documentation into smaller groups of articles.

Keep it simple

It's a mantra we hear often, but it applies to knowledge bases, too. Stick to a smaller number of generalized categories. Over-structuring with too many categories that are too specific can lead to confusion for your authors as well as your readers. Over time, as more articles are added to your knowledge base, opportunities for more section headings or categories will become clear, so be prepared to grow your knowledge base organically.

Organize to your customers' preferences

It's easy to fall into the trap of breaking documentation down into a structure that makes sense to you. But, you've got a wealth of knowledge about your product or service that your customer doesn't yet have. Categorize to your customers' habits and preferences, using the words and phrases they would use when searching for help. Remember, you can always set up restricted categories and articles for your own internal reference, too.

Consistent category labels across formats

If you provide documentation to customers in hardcopy format, you'll avoid your customers feeling disoriented if you apply the same structure and labeling to your online knowledge base.

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