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Design Your Knowledge Management Future

Designing a knowledge base involves more than just categorizing a set of content and indexing it onto a page. In fact, a well-formed knowledge base can seem almost magical in its ease of use, power of search, and quality of results.

So, how can we create these types of intuitive, efficient experiences? We do it by working carefully and continuously to map the user’s questions and queries to well-structured content objects that directly reflect those requests.KM_screen_capture_from_microsite_JChmaj_blog_Aug_26_resized

A useful metaphor in designing a knowledge base is designing ‘paths for travel.’ In one sense a knowledge base is like a map of a territory of information, which each user traverses to get to their specific ‘knowledge destination.’ Consider the customer experience as a whole: What is their true destination?

As we keep this focus in mind, we should be able to clearly see how we want browse and search to behave, and how content should be organized and modeled to provide the best results.

This requires a series of specific steps:

1. Map your territory—where do users go?

2. Design the pathways

3. Provide an appropriate variety and richness of content ‘destinations’ by offering:

4. Guide travelers onto/across paths as needed

Give users choices about how to evolve their session. Perhaps present search as an evolving option during the process, provide process-focused knowledge interactions when appropriate (e.g., scripts, decision trees), and avoid “game over”—a termination of path with no options.

Notice this “path” metaphor doesn’t focus on search algorithms, detailed metadata attribute specifications, user experience wireframes, etc. Those are elements of the delivery vehicles for your knowledge.

The knowledge is the asset being delivered, of course! By keeping the focus on how best to marry users’intent with the best information you have, the right technology design decisions will more easily be made.

At the end of the day, one still needs to execute the core design elements of an effective knowledge base—here are the focus areas that help make that happen:

All too often, those designing a knowledge base become distracted or preoccupied with the technical minutiae of these components. By mapping out your journey in advance, you will both enable and optimize the design of these core elements, and help ensure that your users and content marry up happily ever after.

The post Design Your Knowledge Management Future appeared first on Customer Experience Management Blog.

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