Content standards provide a level of consistency that increases the usability of your knowledgebase.
Content standard best practices
If you are following Knowledge Centered Support KCSSM best practices, the content standard is designed and developed by a cross-functional team of knowledge workers who have hands-on experience with creating knowledge in the workflow. This allows them to use real-world examples and keep the standard as simplified as possible to make it easy to follow.
A content standard should include:
- Knowledge article structure definitions - List the basic elements of each article type and define the information that should go into each area.
- Article Quality criteria - Define the expectations for a good, quality article, which is often communicated in the form of an Article Quality Index (AQI) checklist.
- Templates - List the templates created for each document type and instructions on how to complete all the content areas.
- Style Guide - Design the format of the document to emphasize usability.
- Supporting material - Define the format for references and links within an article.
- Visibility Matrix/Licensing Model - Establish the lifecycle that an article will follow and which users are allowed to see articles in certain stages. For example, as soon as an article is created in a Draft state, all internal users (employees) will be able to see that article.
- Article creation guidelines - Help knowledge workers determine when they should create a new article and why.
- Metadata definitions - Define what metadata should be used and how (including lifecycle state, type, product, etc.)
- Vocabulary - List preferred terms for each audience, level of expertise, voice, standards for environment statements.
- Multi-language considerations - Determine if the articles need to be translated for multiple languages and define the guidelines for Global English that may simplify machine or manual translations.
Tip: The Consortium for Service Innovation recommends in Appendix E of the Best Practices Guide making a quick reference guide with some guidelines from the content standards so knowledge workers can have a one-page, printable version at their desk to review when creating knowledge.
This is part of KM Path™ Phase 4
This article is part of Build and Test, the fourth step in Irrevo's KM Path methodology. Effective knowledge programs are complex systems with a lot of moving parts. By fully building out and rigorously testing your knowledge program, you ensure that it works well, right from the start.
Irrevo's KM Path is the proprietary methodology we designed to help you plan, build, launch, and optimize your knowledge program. Learn more
Get a free knowledge program analysis
Find out how your knowledge program measures up. The Irrevo KM Path™ Program Maturity Analysis is designed to quickly and accurately assess the health of your program based on industry-leading best practices, and clearly define the steps necessary to achieve your program vision and goals.
Download our free e-book
This e-book, How to Lead a Successful Content Migration, will help you navigate the complex, and often stressful, transition to a new content management platform.