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How do you structure/layout your Knowledgebase articles?

Dakota_GreenDakota_Green Member Advanced IT Monkey ✭✭✭
As someone who has a eye for creativity, I have a tendency to keep within a specific structure when developing content, whether it is a Knowledgebase article for Cireson, or a simple email to a customer.

With that, how do you, as a company or organization, design your articles or content for customer consumption?

One of the great things about the existing Cireson Portal is the ability to use HTML and CSS to customize your content, either based on your web site's look and feel and/or your Portal's look and feel. Do you take advantage of this capability?

Images are one of the biggest advantages towards creating a quality article, as it creates a visual of what the customer is looking for, or what the customer needs to accomplish in order to reach their objective (resolving an issue, installing software, etc.). Does your company use Data URI (supported in the Portal!) or hosted images?

I would love to hear from some of our customers on how creative they get with their Knowledgebase articles!


  • Brett_MoffettBrett_Moffett Cireson PACE Super IT Monkey ✭✭✭✭✭
    There hasn't been much action on this thread for a while so I would like to put forward how I like to suggest to customers that they structure their KB articles.

    I always suggest that customers break their KB articles in to 3 sub types:
    • How To
    • FAQ
    • Issues
    How To's: These describe a way to achieve something. Instruction manuals or install guides are a perfect example here. Step by step and as simple as possible. The more pictures the better.

    FAQ's: These should be formatted in the form of a question and an answer. A good place to start with creating these is to ask the service desk for the most common question they have to answer repeatedly and give a detailed description of the answer and any links that customers may need.

    Issues: This last one is the one I use the most. I format it with 3 headings:
    • Issue
    • Cause
    • Solution
    Issue describes in detail what the user sees from an error perspective and gives as much description as possible and screen shots if appropriate.
    Cause describes why the issue is happening and how we go to this point.
    Solution is the work around or fix that can be applied to get a resolution to the issue.

    Often I will create these with just the Issue filled in and "Investigating" in the cause section. This allows people to identify that this is a known issue and someone is working on it. They can then either live with it until a solution is found or link to the KB article when they report the issue. This helps to link Incidents to one parent Incident or a Problem record.

    I'm keen to see what everyone else is doing out there.
  • Rick_HancksRick_Hancks Customer Adept IT Monkey ✭✭
    Brett I like your suggestions on structuring content and in fact we are using something very similar.  We are using Word templates for our three article types; 1) How To, 2) Issues, and 3) Application Overview.  We're definitely in favor of structuring the content and giving the users a consistent look and feel when searching content.  It would be great to have these templates available within the authoring tool.
  • Candice_YeudallCandice_Yeudall Customer Advanced IT Monkey ✭✭✭

    I have been using a structure for the articles themselves as well so that they all look the same and have the same feel even when multiple people are authoring the articles. The format that I am using is

    <span style="font-family:'Tahoma','sans-serif';font-size:12pt;">
    <h1 style="font-weight:bold;margin-bottom:0px;">Version History</h1>
    Article Release: 1.0 | Release Date: January 23, 2014
    <h1 style="font-weight:bold;margin-bottom:0px;">Overview</h1>
    <h1 style="font-weight:bold;margin-bottom:0px;">Who Article Applies To</h1>
    <h1 style="font-weight:bold;margin-bottom:0px;">Prerequisites</h1>
    <h1 style="font-weight:bold;margin-bottom:0px;">Main Article</h1>
    <h2 style="font-weight:bold;margin-bottom:0px;">Sub-Section</h2>
    <h3 style="font-weight:bold;margin-bottom:0px;">Sub-Sub-Section</h3>
    <h1 style="font-weight:bold;margin-bottom:0px;">Tips</h1>

    This allows for easy use of the TOC and tracking of the last update of a given article.

  • Paul_DalkinPaul_Dalkin Member IT Monkey ✭
    How do we apply this style and structure to the KB article template?
  • Brett_MoffettBrett_Moffett Cireson PACE Super IT Monkey ✭✭✭✭✭
    At this stage @Paul_Dalkin most people use cut and paste from other editors or use a specific HTML editing software (Like CoffeeCup)
    Until we get the votes we need to get this idea up in front of the dev team this will be the best approach.

    If anyone on the community see's this as a critical feature, please vote for this feature here: https://community.cireson.com/discussion/1165/knowledge-base-templates
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