Creating Content Types That Support Intent Not Design

Mar 1 / Marcelo Lewin
When first starting out in content modeling, we all make the mistake of creating content types that are tied to some sort of UI or UX experience for a particular delivery channel. In this article, I'll introduce you the concept of content intent, what it means and how we can create a Content Model Intent Diagram (CMID) that we can use to help us create content types that captures the intent of the content and not where and how that content will be displayed.

Content Modeling Defined

If you are new to content modeling, you may not be aware of what it is and why it's, in my opinion, the most critical part of your headless CMS project.

With structured content, a document is made up of multiple types of content (known as Content Types). For example, a blog article may be made up of the "Article" content type and the "Author" content type.  A content model documents all content types and defines the relationships between those content types.  Continuing with the example of blog and author, the Content Model for the blog site includes 2 content types, Article and Author, and a relationship between them, where an Article is written by an Author (or sometimes, many authors).

Content Model Tied to Design

The first mistake content modeling newbies make is to analyze a document and create a content model that not only represents the content in it, but also how it looks (in general, on a web site).  The idea behind content modeling is that you create a content model that supports the content only and completely ignores how that content looks for a specific delivery channel. This then allows you to use that content and content model and deliver it to different channels in different ways.  For example, the content in a blog article on the web may look one way, a different way on your mobile app, and even not have any look when it's being read by Alexa.

Document Sample

Below you will find a sample document, taken from Google's SEO documentation site, that I analyzed and identified all the communication elements needed to create this document.
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