To help you understand the structure behind the template you can look at it as a decision tree. See how here.
A decision tree is generally used to visualize the decision-making process by mapping out possible outcomes based on different options. And it can be used in many cases both in business and in private.
Here you see an example of a decision tree. Maybe one you can relate to?
Going through a decision tree you start at the top and move from question to question based on your answers. At last, you will have the final outcome - the decision.
Why is it relevant to use a decision tree?
If you are wondering why it is relevant to use a decision tree here are three good reasons.
- They are flexible
A decision tree is not linear which makes it possible to embrace many different outcomes at once.
- They are manageable
The visualization of a decision tree gives you a good overview of the process and the possible outcomes.
- They are based on data
Instead of making decisions based on feelings, bias, and things you think you know, you can do it based on data, facts, and probability.
What does a decision tree consist of?
A decision tree consists of three elements:
- Root node
Is the top level of the decision tree and represents the ultimate goal.
Stems from the root and divides the three by representing the different options.
- Leaf nodes
Are attached to the end of the branches and represent the possible outcome for each option. Sometimes it is another decision to be made.
How to see the template as a decision tree
Building the template is not the same as making a decision - we recognize that. But if you will follow us in the analogy you may see a lot of similarities that will help you understand how to work with the elements and build the template.
The section is the root node
In the template, the section represents what needs to be written e.g. a product description.
It is the main goal; what should be written about this product?
Sentences are the "bearing" branches
All the sentences represent different elements in the text and are in some way their own little tree stemming from the root. We call them the bearing branches as they are the foundation of the template creating a structure for each path and together they form the final text.
Scenarios are the "side" branches
From each sentence, there will be one or more scenarios representing different options based on data (conditions) about the product. They thus spring from the bearing branches and we, therefore, call them side branches.
Variants are the leaf nodes
At the end of every branch, there are leaves. Sometimes there is only one leaf and sometimes there are many. In the template, these are our variants. Every variant represents an outcome of text to that specific scenario.
Does it make any sense? Or are we far off?
How about we start from the top and see how it looks going through the template with the view of a decision tree?
The template as a decision tree from the top down
The goal is to write a product description about a certain product. To do this we have information (data) about the product that we will send through the template to "decide" what to write.
The data will start from the top and run down the sentences and scenarios (branches) to see which options it matches and hence which outcome to choose.
This will, in the end, give you a final text with information only relevant to that specific product.
Here is an example to visualize how to see the template as a decision tree. We have turned the decision tree around so it matches the way you build the template.
Not bad, right?
And the good thing about a decision tree is that you can build it as big as you want. And the same goes for the template.
Best practice building a decision tree aka your template
- Include all possible outcomes
For the template to be effective it is important that you make sure to include all the possible outcomes. It is the only way to make sure that all your products will get the right text.
- Keep it simple
The simpler and more general you can keep the template, the more generic it will be. The more branches (sentences and scenarios) you create the more cluttered and complicated the template will seem.
- Use the data
To support the simplicity we recommend that you build the template based on data. Instead of saying "what do I want to write about the product" you can say "what information do I have on the product to write about?".