Wikis are great for sharing, documenting and archiving information. We Recently launched one for our company’s intranet to improve communication and allow better collaboration. Because wikis are intended to be an open platform to promote communication and collaboration equally across the organization, we try to encourage everyone to contribute. Unfortunately, I quickly learned that people can have different ideas regarding good page format, or may not know how to properly format a page at all. This can quidkly lead to mess of unruly pages that are difficult to read and navigate. So, I put together a list of five tips that I thought would help make formating wiki page content a little easier and make the pages less challanging to read and navigate.
When creating a new page, or editing an existing one, keep these tips in mind.
- Say No To Word: Unless the wiki has a built-in feature to deal gracefully with Microsoft Word syntax, Please Please Please…avoid copy-and-paste from word documents. Word documents create ugly HTML syntax that is difficult to edit and manage within the wiki (or any wysiwyg or web editor for that matter). It also creates pages that are structurally difficult to read and navigate without additional formatting and editing. As an alternative, save word documents as Rich Text Files, or plain text files then copy-and-paste into the wiki from there, then edit and format the content in the wiki using the wiki editing tools.
- Use Headers and sub-headers: Add headers and sub-headers when appropriate to organize your content on the wiki page. Using headers will not only help to visually separate each important section of your page, but they will also auto-create a page index or TOC (Table of contents) making it easy for users to find and navigate page content.
- Making The list: Use Ordered (numbered) lists and Unordered (bulleted) lists when creating lists of items. This makes each item in a list easy to identify and improves readability.
- Use An Opening Introduction: If your creating a new wiki page, always try include some information in a small paragraph at the top of each page describing what the content is about, and how it can be used. It is also helpful to include a small description below each heading and sub-heading as well. This helps readers to quickly identify the content and how it can be used.
- Can I Quote You On That? : Provide citations and supporting links to references when possible. Besides giving credit where credit is due, citations allows readers to confirm the validity of your input and lead them to additional sources of reference.
Do you have any other tips? Please leave a comment and share them here.