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Article Quality Index (AQI)

An Article Quality Index (AQI) is a tool to measure and improve content quality.

To create a knowledge environment that drives customer success, you have to deliver high-quality content. Creating and ensuring quality can be very challenging, and this challenge is amplified by adding more contributors.

How do I create a basic quality standard for my content?

Some MindTouch customers employ complex quality standards that require very specific authoring practices. While your measure of quality may evolve to a complex level over time, it's good to start out simple. Here are some basic metrics to measure the quality of your MindTouch content:

Part 1: Manage duplicate articles

Duplicate articles can fragment your content and compromise your customer success experience. Additionally, duplicate content can leave your authors and content creators vulnerable to incorrect or obsolete content. Lastly, duplicate content requires double the amount of time to maintain, which can place a large strain on your content creators and content managers. 

How? While assessing the quality of an individual article, use MindTouch Search to look for similar or related articles. If you find duplicates, make sure you verify and consolidate the content.  

Part 2: Write clear titles

A poorly written title can eliminate both the value and adoption of an excellent article. It is important to create a title that is accurate and properly sets expectations. The example below shows a before and after title that was improved to meet the quality criteria. 

  • Before:  MindTouch and KCS
  • After:  Applying KCS methodologies to your MindTouch content

Part 3: Strive for content clarity

A simple way to measure the quality of your content is to assess whether or not the content is cohesive. Your articles should flow smoothly and not be just a collection of individual sentences.  

How?  First, make sure that the headings in your article contextually align with the page title. Second, make sure that the headings in the article are ordered in a way that is logical such as Why, What, How or Problem, Cause, Resolution. Lastly, make sure that the content under each heading (H1, H2, H3, etc.) strongly addresses the concept in the heading with supporting media.

Part 4: Optimize navigation

You cannot achieve the full potential of your content experience through one individual article. The full potential is achieved through a collection of well-crafted content that is contextually interlinked to facilitate learning and discovery. Your readers must have a way to go beyond the individual article. If you successfully enable learning and discovery, your users will advance their expertise and self-help learning. To measure the navigation quality of an article, make sure that your articles are accurately and thoroughly hyperlinked to related content. Also, make sure that your articles are accurately tagged with approximately 3 to 5 tags. 

  • How?  Add tags and classifications to your MindTouch articles. Tags are used to contextually generate recommended articles, and classifications are used for customer and agent search, as well as task-specific workflows.
  • How?  Add hyperlinks throughout your articles to contextually relate content. Don't add hyperlinks simply to add hyperlinks (Google will punish you), but make sure they lead to value material that is contextually relevant and will deliver value to your customers. 

Track the overall quality of your content

Once you have instituted a basic quality standard, you can then begin to measure the overall quality of your content. You do not need to measure the quality of all of your content for the analysis to yield value. A sample can provide adequate information that ultimately leads to higher quality content.  

Part 1: Get a list of articles to review

You can access a list of MindTouch articles in numerous ways:  

  • Use you the page classification manager to populate a list of articles by classifications and tags.  
  • Use your site history to analyze articles that were recently worked on and which author worked on them.
  • Use Google Analytics to get all sorts of different content lists to analyze. 

Keep in mind that different lists will inherently have different filters or orders that may sway your sample results. You may want to further randomize the list of articles that you go through to get wider coverage.

Part 2: Score each article

Once you have created a list of articles to review, go through each article and provide a pass or fail for each of the quality measurements. For instance, if you find a very similar article to the article you are analyzing, then the article would fail the duplicate article criteria. Another example, if the article had no tags and no hyperlinks, then the article would fail the navigation criteria

Article Author Duplicate Article Title Clarity Content Clarity Navigation
Save content as PDF John Doe X X
Double-Line Spacing Joe Doe X X

To make it easier to aggregate the data, you can simply put a "1" for fail and leave blank for pass.

Record your analysis in a spreadsheet with the URL of the article so you can review and fix issues later on.

Part 3: Aggregate the results

The diagram (produced by the Consortium of Service Innovation) showcases an analysis of 141 articles that were written by 5 authors. You can see that each author is given an article quality index (AQI) for the sample of articles that were reviewed.  

This example includes six (6) quality metrics that can pass or fail. The total possible points is the number of articles reviewed multiplied by the number of quality metrics (6).   


Source:  Scoring the Article Quality Index from the Consortium for Service Innovation

Part 4: Share with your authors

It is crucial that you share both the measurements and results of the analysis with your authors. You should reinforce the measurements through process and training. You should keep a regular interval for reviewing the measurements and the results of the analysis.

Additional measures to include in an AQI

Once you have successfully analyzed and improved your content according to a basic quality standard, you can consider more complex quality metrics. Of course, each company's quality standards will vary based on industry, audience, material, etc.  

The only basic rule for adding to your quality criteria is to make sure that criteria is measurable and can clearly pass or fail. For instance, adding "The article must be wonderful" to the criteria is not going to get valuable results. On the other hand, adding "The article must include a page summary" will yield measurable results.  

Beyond the basic quality standard, consider adding the following measurements to your quality criteria:

  • Density - Does the article contain enough material to sufficiently address the topic?
  • Completeness - Does the article address all aspects of the topic?
  • Terminology - Does the article use standardized company terminology?
  • Overkill - Is the article too wordy and granular?
  • Inappropriate - Is the article appropriate for the audience?
  • Incorrect - Is the article wrong or obsolete?

Use the AQI to help authors improve

Analyzing the quality of your content is not just a one-time initiative. Your content will evolve, and you should analyze a sample of content with regularity. Analyzing your content on a monthly or quarterly basis will also provide you with data to determine the quality of your authors.  

The table below is an example of how you might record author quality scores throughout the year to determine if your authors are progressing.

Author Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4
John Doe  86% 91%  92%  94%  
Joe Doe  56% 62%  54%  52%  

It is important to share quality scores with authors to provide an opportunity for improvement. You can even establish employee goals and objectives according to their average AQI score.  

Incorporate customer feedback into your process

The most powerful and useful content feedback comes from your end users. Whether it's from your customer, partners, sales reps or support agents, it is crucial to act on your customer feedback. At MindTouch, we use a knowledge queue to ensure that all feedback (both internal and external) is queued and acted upon.  

Implement a knowledge queue

A knowledge queue is very simple to implement. Configure your feedback email (Control panel > Configuration > Email Address for User Feedback) to point to a group email address or to a ticket management system such as SalesForce, Zendesk or YouTrack. Typically, ticket management systems will provide an email address for ticket creation.  

  1. Configure your MindTouch email address for user feedback to
  2. Set up your ticketing system so that any emails sent to are added to a queue.  
  3. Require your authors to review the queue daily or weekly and take ownership of the feedback.
  4. Use your ticketing system to report on KQ MTTR (mean time to resolution), KQ activity, completion ratios, author activity and more.
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