Publishing technical documentation is an interesting business, and a lot of discussion & deliberation goes into the creation process for articles and videos that we produce at Microsoft. For example, when I am writing an article for IIS, should I publish that on www.iis.net, or technet.microsoft.com, or msdn.microsoft.com? Or should I just write a blog about it? And after I have published an article, how will my intended audience find it? As we continue to publish hundreds of technical articles to the websites that I just mentioned, the navigation hierarchy becomes increasingly complex, and content discoverability suffers.
Some time ago a few of our writers began to experiment with a new way to consolidate lists of related content into something that we called a "Content Map." The following pages will show you an example of what the Content Map concept looks like:
Each of these articles received a great deal of positive feedback from customers, but our team wanted to see if there was a way that customers could help us to improve on this design. We know that there is a great deal of third-party content on the Internet, and we wanted a way to recognize that. We also asked several customers about what kinds of content they need to be successful, and we added their suggestions to our deliberation process.
As a result of our collective discussions, we came up with an idea for what we are internally calling "Curated Content Views." These "views" are lists of related content topics that are organized to answer a particular question or customer need. A view is assembled by someone at Microsoft based on input from anyone who thinks that an article, blog, video, or code sample might be beneficial as part of the view.
With that in mind, here are three conceptual content views that a few of the writers on our content team have assembled:
Our team is requesting feedback from members of the community regarding these conceptual views with regard to the level of detail that is included in each view, the conceptual layouts that were used, and any thoughts about how this content compares with existing table of contents topics or content maps. You can reply to our content team via email, or you can post a response to this blog.
While we are interested in any feedback you may have, our team has put together the following list of specific questions to think about: