The MindTouch Guided Content Framework structure offers both a hierarchical structure (expanding downward and outward) and a taxonomical structure (relationship mapping). The hierarchy is used to organize content for navigation, while MindTouch simultaneously builds content relationships, which helps to focus search results.
Customize information architecture for your users
The MindTouch structure is designed to adapt to your company's content and customer experience. There are some key things to consider when planning or modifying your site structure.
Outside-in approach: Plan your site structure from the perspective of how your users look for information. Their perspective may mirror your product offerings or functionality, but it may not. Look at direct customer feedback via ticket submission or search logs to get ideas about how your customers talk about your product. Consult your customer-facing teams, especially Support or Customer Success, to get additional insight.
Top-level Categories and Guides: Plan the highest level of your structure to have enough choices, but not too many. Offering between 2-5 options is generally a good range, but will differ for your users and content. Make sure all top level choices are oriented from same perspective. For example, do not mix task-based and persona-based choices at the same level.
Scalability: Plan ahead for your content to expand. This may mean creating Categories or Guides that do not contain many sub-pages at first, or creating top-level titles that are more generic in case your products change. Leave room for new or different content to live together. For example, try to avoid naming Categories or Guides based on internal naming conventions, company department names, or content types that are likely to change over time.
MindTouch capabilities: Leverage MindTouch features to enhance your site experience.
- Enable the Top Level Navigation to create a completely custom homepage and still adhere to MindTouch structure.
- For Categories or Guides with longer titles or titles that may change, modify page URL to be different from page title. For example, the System Administration Category URL in Success Center is shortened to just "Admin" so all sub-page URLs can be shorter. Another benefit is that decoupled Category titles can be changed without creating redirects for all sub-pages.
Building blocks of the MindTouch hierarchy
There are four structural levels to a MindTouch site:
Your success homepage is the top of your hierarchy and consists of a Category page. This homepage is the starting point of your navigation and houses your different subordinate information segments (categories).
Category pages organize contents for specific divisions such as personas, products, services, languages, etc. Categories can contain other categories and guides. Example: Ford has a Car category, a Truck category and a Van category living on the homepage.
Guides live inside categories and house articles. Guides act as directories for information on specific subjects such as persona types, product systems, individual services, and specific languages. Guides can only contain articles. Example: Ford has Commercial Trucks, Large Trucks and Small Recreational Trucks in its Truck category.
- Subpages within Guides
Articles contained inside guides can be Topics, How-Tos, or References depending on the specific information you want to relate to your readers. Topics are unique in that they can contain subarticles (how-tos or references). Example: Ford has an article titled How to choose the appropriate work truck in their Commercial Trucks guide.
The example below of a possible Ford MindTouch structure depicts the downward and outward structure adhering to four levels of content: Home Page (Category) > Category > Guide > Article. This structure can have as many branches as your site needs while MindTouch intuitively connects and links pages.