iovation subscribers span many industries and use cases. Some are focused on stopping fraudsters. Others use iovation Customer Authentication to simplify the login experience. No matter the goal, all of our clients need the quickest path to content that will help them gain the most value from our services.

Our product and technical content must speak directly to their needs, these parallel tracks, with as little noise and clutter as possible. If a client is under significant pressure to alleviate fraud pain, we need to clear other content out of that client's way. Only give them what they need, when they need it. This has forever been the tech writer's mantra, but with cloud-based, hosted content delivery systems, it's easier than ever to achieve. We do this with a sophisticated mix of disciplined, modular content and cutting-edge content management technology.

We start with an example persona and then design the user information experience for that persona.

Defining User Personas for Fraud Prevention

iovation specializes in fraud detection and prevention, and in device-based authentication. We spot suspicious device activity and warn our clients of high-risk transactions. When we sell into a fraud team, we know that the members of this team may include:

  • Fraud analysts who study and understand fraud and crime trends for their business,
  • Fraud or risk managers who are responsible for designing implementations to address these trends,
  • And web software engineers who will code the iovation integration into their web or mobile apps (or both).

Our fraud content must speak to all of these roles.

Designing a Modular Content Experience for Each Persona

The first step is to design content that can be assembled as needed for any type of user, at any time. This means that all content must be modular and reusable. Modular content is designed to serve one primary goal at a time. For example, if I write a procedure to help a fraud manager create a set of business rules to address Account Takeover (ATO) Fraud:

  • This procedure must focus only on ATO, and only on business rules. It must not also address Account Verification Fraud or the use of third-party analytics tools.
  • The content must also be entirely self-contained so that it can be reused anywhere without worrying about dependencies. This means that it must use generic terminology that won't make it confusing or contradictory if it is reused out of the context of a particular document.
  • Finally, it must only deliver one TYPE of information - in this case, procedural, which is to say, steps to accomplish a particular goal.

The above tenets are all inherited from structured-writing disciplines, such as the highly influential Darwin Information Typing Architecture (DITA). These practices emphasize the semantic typing of content modules targeted to specific personas. You can learn much more about this from the team at OASIS that designed DITA here: Modular Content

Next, we organize modules into a content management system that enables us to easily recompile material for different users and purposes. In our case, this system is MindTouch. We use the following content management techniques to accomplish this:

  • Semantic and content tagging. All topics contain a specific type of content, such as conceptual, procedural, or reference. We use keyword meta-tags to track both the information type and the substance of the content. This makes it very easy for us to find the content we need when assembling new documents.
  • Separation of semantic purpose and formatting. DITA and other structured writing disciplines advocate for strict separation of content and format. For example, if you want a block of text to appear to your readers as a "note," apply a style to it called "note." Let your stylesheets handle the formatting.
  • Topic reuse. With simple include statements, we can reuse any topic, anywhere else. It is completely seamless to users.
  • Conditional variables that are dependent on the product. With simple variable statements, brand names change on-the-fly in topics that are reused across product lines.
  • Permissions to expose different content to different types of users. We haven't implemented this but expect to. We want users of one product to only see the content that is relevant to them. MindTouch provides tiered permissions that make this very easy to configure.

Providing a Guided Path Through Every Content Experience

  • Layout navigation paths that are specific to use cases, with headers and organizers that target business needs. Your users bought your product to solve specific problems. They should see their goals reflected at all levels in your content, from titles down through footers.
  • Your modular content design lends itself to logical paths. An integration engineer, having found the right place to start for deep technical API content, will follow the road from there without getting side-tracked into irrelevant tangents. This is why it is so critical to focus each path on a single primary information need; don't interrupt one user's journey with content that is only relevant to someone else.
  • If some of the same content serves different purposes, use your content management tools to include it wherever it's needed. You no longer need to send users from manual to manual, tripping over frustrating cross-references. If integration engineers need some conceptual content to succeed, put that content right up in front of them. Don't send them bouncing back and forth across pages and docs. Those days are over.
  • Make everything RIDICULOUSLY easy to find. Some content will end up buried under a heap of hierarchy. It happens. So, putting tagging and SEO best practices to work for you. Make sure that there is absolutely no way that those integration engineers won't find the APIs they need on their first try, with even the weirdest keyword searches imaginable. Use your analytics tools to stay on top of this. Add every search term on earth to make everything findable.

A Never-Ending Story

Realistically, we can't anticipate every path every user might take. But, modern CMSs allow us to revisit our hierarchies and navigation schemes with more agility than ever before.

It's fairly simple. Learn continuously and adapt continuously, and your users will succeed.