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AI friendly content

Technical Writing Guidelines to Create AI Friendly Content

Artificial intelligence is going to be ubiquitous. There is a big shift in the way in which content consumers are utilizing your knowledge base. This is propelled by technological innovation through Generative AI tools such as ChatGPT, Bard, and so on. The behavioral patterns of content consumers are

  1. Ability to accomplish tasks quicker
  2. Access documentation at any time, on any device, and in any format
  3. Wants accurate answers to their questions

This paradigm shift offers new responsibilities being added to technical communicators’ roles. The need to provide accurate answers involves digital trust that is bestowed upon technical writers. Building trust into answers to customers’ questions via GenAI tools comes with huge responsibility!! Integrating GenAI tools on top of your knowledge base might be a quick win for your organization. However, the underlying contents need to be revised to suit the characteristics of the GenAI-based agents. The GenAI-based agent could be a chatbot, assistive search, Q&A bot, and so on.

Characteristics of GenAI-based agents

If your customers are utilizing ChatGPT-like assistive search, and your existing content is not tailored to accommodate the characteristics of GenAI-based agents, it is high time to conduct a content audit. The underlying content must be GenAI-friendly to ensure that it serves your customers with trustworthy responses. The GenAI-based agents are text-hungry thus underlying content must be as explanatory as possible. More importantly, the underlying content must be written in a conversational style in a more generic persona. Guidelines to write content for GenAI-based agents are evolving. The technical writer’s community is also suggesting various tips for improvising the existing content. Let’s look at some of the emerging guidelines to produce GenAI-friendly content.

Also Checkout: How Technical Writers Can Utilize ChatGPT?

Top 8 Guidelines to Create GenAI-friendly Content

Writing content that is easily understood by GenAI-based agents involves incorporating clear language, structured formatting, and adherence to some specific guidelines. These guidelines are listed below:

Guideline #1: Write elaborate content

Rather than choosing brevity for your content, write the content as explanatory as possible. Elaborate content with more information that helps GenAI-based agents get a holistic perspective of the topic covered in your article. Use simple English words to write content rather than bombastic words. This helps in assimilating content and helps to answer your user queries. E.g. For this getting started article from Airtable is about a 16-minute read.

Airtable knowledge base

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Guideline #2: Create FAQs for each article

Create at least 5 – 10 FAQs for each article content. The questions for these FAQs can be sourced from the customer support team, customer success team, sales team, product team, and so on. These FAQs help with quick retrieval of information for GenAI-based agents to produce an accurate response to their queries in a short period. Here is an example of writing FAQs.

Managing content

Guideline #3: Use consistent business terms

Use consistent business terms across your knowledge base. The common definitions of business vocabulary help large language models to understand the context better. E.g. if you are using terms such as clients, customers, users, and stakeholders synonymously but they have different business definitions, GenAI might get confused as the “sentence similarity” between those terms is very close. GenAI-based might produce inconsistent responses if those terms are used in the customer’s questions. Here is an example of a business glossary built with a list of all terms that are consistently used across all knowledge base articles.

Business terms

Guideline #4: Use of pronouns

Do not use 2nd person plural & 3rd person singular pronouns while writing content as it is hard for GenAI-based agents to infer what you are referring to with other pronouns such as “We”, and “they”. The best practice is to write it in the second person singular.

Guideline #5: Inclusive language

Use Inclusive terms so that content reflects global brand image. This eliminated biases at the root level. Avoid using slang, idioms, and cultural references in your knowledge base content. Further protection can be done at the orchestration layer of your GenAI-based agent via some moderation rules.

Guideline #6: Use of “It” pronoun

The use of the pronoun “It” can be used within a paragraph. However, it cannot be used to reference anything in the following paragraph. It is better to repeat the “subject” once again! The rationale behind this is that GenAI-based agents use a Retrieval Augmented Generation (RAG) framework that works on chunking content to generate apt contexts. If “It” is used in the chunked content, it might lose the relevance of the context!

Guideline #7: Article labels – New, updated, deprecated

Suppose your knowledge base tool has some features to create labels for your content. In that case, technical writers must understand how GenAI-based agents would pre-process these labels and provide context for answering customers’ questions.

Guideline #8: Structured format

The article content hierarchy in terms of H1 – H6 tags shall be adhered to. This semantic structuring of content helps GenAI-based agents retrieve relevant information inside appropriate sub-sections of your article to answer the customers’ questions. Use clear headings and subheadings to organize information. Employ bullet points and numbered lists to present step-by-step instructions. Also having a good structure in writing each article helps. E.g. The first section of your article could be about purpose followed by the scope and then your topic-related content.

Conclusion

The existing knowledge base content must be revamped to cater to the characteristics of your GenAI-based agent. Having timely and accurate content builds trust in your knowledge base which enables GenAI-based agents to provide reliable and consistent responses. Utilizing consistent business terms across your knowledge base will empower GenAI-based agents to generate responses with utmost clarity and reduce hallucination. Let’s get your content ready for GenAI-based agents to engage with our customers for a richer knowledge experience.

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