Inverted Pyramid Structure
The main idea of the inverted pyramid structure is to present information in descending order of importance so that the most important concepts and statements are located at the top of the topic.
Why to Use Inverted Pyramid
The inverted pyramid structure has the following benefits:
- You can get user attention from the first line.
- Users can quickly understand if they really need to read the whole text.
- Users can stop reading at any point and still get the main idea.
- If you apply the inverted pyramid structure to every paragraph, users can quickly scan through the text.
- The inverted pyramid structure has SEO benefits since the first few sentences with the most relevant keywords will appear in search results.
When to Use Inverted Pyramid
There are 2 topic types that do not follow the inverted pyramid structure: task topics and reference topics. These topics are a supplementary yet substantial part of technical documentation, and thus must have their own structure. For more information, see Task Topic and Reference Topic.
How to Use Inverted Pyramid
When planning the structure of a new topic, follow the next principles:
- Think of a heading as a summary for the topic. Add keywords to the heading.
- Identify essential statements that users must know before they proceed to other information in the topic. Include the most important keywords at the beginning of the topic.
- Outline secondary information. Move down the topic from more important to less important details.
- Provide context. Address related questions to bind topics together and make the document more useful.
- Stick to plain English. Write concisely, use headings and subheadings to organize the topic into sections, and split information into short paragraphs and lists.