What is a content tree?

Before building your bot, it’s useful to create a content tree showing the hierarchy of content and various narrative journeys that are available to your users. Though similar to a website site map, a content tree has increased emphasis on narrative and flow of content.

Spending time on this will ensure that the flow of content, linking of content and the journeys available to users are correct. A content tree also ensures the goals you want from your bot are achieved.

Here’s how to create a content tree:

Step One

Define the goals

Begin with the outcomes – the goals you’d like your user to achieve. Thinking about the user goals from the very start and working backwards will give laser focus to the user journeys you’re providing.

Write down each user goal on a separate post-it note or use an online tool like Popplet.

Step Two

How will the user achieve these goals?

Now you have the goals, how will the user achieve them?

Select a goal and work out the optimum user journey from entry point to achievement. Centre around intent, accomplishment and actions. Map the journeys from a top level perspective only at this stage, don’t get bogged down in the details of content just yet. At the end of this stage you should have a journey pointing to each goal contained within a comprehensive content tree.

Step Three

Label the message parts

Begin to label which message parts will feature at each stage of the user journey. Some messages may require text whereas others may need a carousel. Here’s a list of message parts to help you decide. At the end of this process you should have a detailed content tree and an idea of the types of content needed for each message.

Step Four

Message linking

Finally check that each message in your content tree links to another message in some way. Some message chains may be linear, with one button leading to the next message whereas other may have multiple buttons providing multiple journey options for the user. Now is the time to make sure you have thought of every eventuality in the journey and there are no dead ends in the narrative.

*A dead end is a message presented without buttons. The user should always have an option to progress their journey. Therefore dead ends have a negative impact on the bot experience for the user.

  • centre around intent, accomplishment and actions
  • multiple versions of each message to create diverse interactions
  • if you pose a question, provide buttons with specific answers rather than encouraging free form text
  • use responses to help expand bot

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