Best Practices for Formatting Knowledge Base Sources

Learn how to properly format knowledge base sources, best practices, and general writing guidelines to effectively train your Bot

Formatting PDFs, DOC, DOCX, TXT Files and Website Pages

Why is proper formatting important?

Structuring your knowledge base with your users in mind is crucial for ensuring its usefulness.

To optimize the knowledge base for both humans and AI, it is essential to structure the content with clear titles and headings. Proper headings guide both humans and AI through the content, showing them the way to the information they need.

When an AI chatbot processes the knowledge base, it looks at the titles and headings to understand what each section is about. Therefore, by providing each piece of information proper context by using clear titles and headings, your AI chatbot is less likely to give your users irrelevant answers.

Title vs Headings

By definition, a heading is a short phrase describing what the next section is all about. Think of it as the title of that particular section. Splitting the content into sections helps the AI chatbot navigate and understand the content better. On the other hand, the title represents the entire reading and sums it up in a few words.

Best practices for writing your headings

  • Use HTML Tags: Instead of just making text bigger or bold to show headings, use proper HTML tags like h1, h2, etc. It keeps your formatting consistent across your website or document. This makes it easier for both humans and AI to understand.
  • Be Clear: Make sure your heading clearly describes the content that follows. Keep it simple and to the point.
  • Use Keywords: Include keywords that accurately reflect the topic of the section. This helps both humans and AI understand the content.
  • Be Consistent: Use a consistent style and format for your headings throughout your document or website. This makes it easier for readers to navigate.
  • Keep it Concise: Headings should be brief and easy to read at a glance. Avoid long sentences or complex wording.
  • Organize Hierarchically: Structure your headings in a logical hierarchy, with main headings for major sections and subheadings for subsections. This helps both humans and AI to understand the organization of your content
  • Test for Clarity: Before finalizing your headings, ask yourself if they would make sense to someone unfamiliar with the topic. If not, consider revising for clarity.
  • Avoid Jargon: Use language that your target audience will understand, and avoid technical or industry-specific jargon unless necessary.

Formatting FAQs

  • Keep Questions Clear and Concise: Clear and concise questions are easier AI models to understand and process. Ambiguous or convoluted questions may confuse the AI, leading to inaccurate responses.
  • Provide Complete Answers: Complete answers give the AI sufficient context to formulate accurate responses. Fragmented or incomplete answers may result in the AI providing incomplete or irrelevant information to users. For example, instead of a "Yes" to a question like "Do you have a free plan or trial?", provide a more informative response like, "Yes, you can sign up for our free plan. No credit card required."
  • Avoid Ambiguity: Ambiguous questions or answers can lead to misinterpretation by the AI, resulting in incorrect responses. Clarity helps the AI accurately comprehend user queries and provide relevant information.
  • Ensure Consistency: Consistency in style and tone helps the AI understand how the FAQs are organized. It enables the AI to process information more efficiently and provide cohesive responses to users.
  • Organize FAQs logically: Logical organization helps AI models navigate and understand the relationships between different questions and answers. This enhances the AI's ability to retrieve relevant information and provide coherent responses based on user queries.
  • Use Keywords: Keywords play a crucial role in helping AI algorithms understand the context of questions and answers. Including relevant keywords improves the AI's ability to identify and retrieve appropriate information from the knowledge base.

General Writing Guidelines

  • Use clear and consistent terminology: If a word means different things in your knowledge base, it can confuse both users and AI.
  • Keep it simple: Long, complicated sentences can be confusing for both users and AI. Trim unnecessary content to make it easier for everyone to understand your message.
  • Limit reliance on images and videos: AI can't understand content in images, so it's best to provide information in text form whenever possible. This also helps users with visual impairments who rely on text-based tools like screen readers.
  • Check your tables: Some tables confuse AI, making it harder for it to provide accurate information. Test your AI's ability to understand table content and consider adjusting the format if needed to improve comprehension.
  • Provide basic background for advanced content: If your article contains sections with advanced content, make sure to provide some basic background or information within that section. If a piece of content doesn't make sense without a lot of background, your AI chatbot might send users information without properly explaining it, leading to a frustrating experience.
  • Avoid referencing other sections: Users interacting with your AI chatbot won't have the same context as if they were reading through your knowledge base directly. Therefore, avoid referencing other parts of your content like "As previously mentioned..." Such references can confuse users and might make them feel as if they're missing out on some crucial information.
  • Provide examples if necessary: Examples can provide additional context and clarification for both users and AI models. They help the AI understand how concepts are applied in real-life scenarios, leading to more accurate responses.
  • Include links sparingly: AI models may not be able to follow links or access external sources directly. Therefore, providing concise explanations instead of relying on links ensures that the AI can access all necessary information within the knowledge base to generate responses.

Continuously Improve your knowledge base content

  • Regular Updates: Schedule regular reviews of your knowledge base content to ensure it stays current and accurate. Regular updates ensure that the information available to your AI chatbot remains accurate and up-to-date. Outdated information may lead to incorrect responses or misinformation being provided to users by the AI
  • User Feedback: Encourage users to provide feedback on the content and use it to identify areas for improvement.
  • Analytics Monitoring: Keep an eye on analytics data to see which articles are most popular or where users encounter issues, then adjust content accordingly.
  • New Information: Stay updated on industry trends, developments, and customer inquiries to incorporate new information into your knowledge base.
  • Quality Assurance: Implement quality checks to review content for accuracy, relevance, and consistency.
  • Accessibility: Regularly audit content to ensure it is accessible to all users, including those with disabilities, by providing alternative text for images and videos, and ensuring compatibility with screen readers.