Once a user has found the article they need, they then shouldn’t have to go through another search to find the exact snippet of info they're looking for. This is where article structuring and formatting becomes important. Thinking you’ve found an answer only to be met the fact you’ll need to search again is very frustrating for users and overall bad UI.
Please note, this article is intended to be read in tandem with our category structure piece which you can find here. Another related article which you might find helpful is our piece on Optimal article length which you can find here.
Here at Elevio, in general there are 3 things we've found help when it comes to structuring individual articles. Specifically, these are anchor links, highlighting, and consistent templating across all content can help the right part of the article.
Most importantly, use a template where information is listed in descending importance. Most users are opening articles to find 1 or 2 pieces of information, and so by top loading articles with the most important bits, users are more likely to find what they need and get back to what they're doing quickly.
After all, even if you have the best content in the world, both you and your users would rather they be in your product, and not in your knowledge base.
Take for example this article from our own content store:
This is a short piece explaining a new(ish) feature we’ve just built here at Elevio.
The title, opening phrase and first image all work together to explain 90% of what most users will be looking for when viewing this content. This means that the vast majority of users will get the exact info they need just at first glance and can get back to what they were doing almost instantly.
Underneath there is some extra information if needed, with important snippets highlighted for users who'd like more details, all keeping with the concept of descending importance.
Or this article
Which again explains quickly the majority of required information and moves on to other slightly less important things. Notice the links to other related topics should the user want to expand on what they’ve learnt, without trying to cram all the info into what would become one bloated article.
These are just a couple of quick examples from our own knowledge base, but the model is easy enough to copy. Articles are short (long articles are separated into multiple articles for clarity), the most important info is given straight away, and anything that needs to be explained is done so through highlighted snippets and images. No giant articles, no long slogs through thousands of words. An easier time for you when it comes to editing, and your users when it comes to reading.