Uses for Micro Content

There are multiple potential uses for micro content, but some take more effort than others. As the diagram shows, there is one use—featured snippets in search results—that is quite easy to produce, and all steps can be completed in a matter of minutes in Flare. As for other possible uses, you can create the phrase/responses in Flare, but then you would also need to do additional work outside of your project (possibly with the assistance of a third-party application) in order to produce the final result. Just how much work depends on what you are trying to accomplish.

Featured Snippets in Search Results

If you have used Google—and who hasn’t?—you have definitely seen objects that are known as “Google Search Engine Results Page (SERP) features” that display on the page with regular search results. There are all kinds of SERP features that you come across from time to time. One of these is called a “featured snippet,” which provides an answer to a query, such as “How to change a tire.”

Micro content that is created in a Flare project can result in custom featured snippets in your output’s search results. This is the easiest, most immediate way to use micro content from Flare.

As with most of the SERP features that you see in Google, the featured snippets in Flare output appear above regular search results, thus making them especially valuable. In other words, you can always ensure that this targeted information is seen before anything else, rather than buried among the rest of the results.

Although these are referred to as “featured snippets,” don’t confuse them with the regular snippets in a Flare project. As you will see, micro content can be created with the help of regular snippets, but that is purely optional.

Note To create featured snippets for your search results, you need to be using either Elasticsearch or MadCap Search as your search engine (see Setting Up a Search Engine). Also, this feature is supported only with HTML5 skins (Side Navigation, Top Navigation, Tripane), as well as skinless outputs.

Field-Level Context-Sensitive Help

You can set context-sensitive Help (CSH) identifiers (IDs) on micro content phrases, therefore connecting the corresponding responses to specific parts of a software interface. And since micro content is intended to be quite short, this makes it ideal for field-level Help, as opposed to say, window- or dialog-level Help. Flare handles the connection between your micro content phrase/response combinations and CSH IDs; however, to link these IDs to a desktop application, your programmers would need to use whatever third-party software they normally use to complete their part of the work.

The process of creating CSH for micro content is essentially the same as it is for topics. See Process for Context-Sensitive Help.

  • Author After assigning the IDs to the appropriate micro content phrases, you need to build the output and make it available to the developer. You also need to share the header file with the developer if you are responsible for creating it.
  • Developer Based on the information in the header file, the developer associates the IDs with each area of your software's interface. The developer can use a JavaScript or URL method. See CSH Calls for HTML5 Output.

Chatbots and Other Uses for Micro Content

Featured snippets and field-level Help are quite easy to create and use right away, but there are other potential uses for micro content as well. The list of possibilities is limited only by your imagination and available resources. Following are just a few that you might consider. To accomplish any of these, you might need the assistance of an experienced programmer and/or third-party applications.

For more information, see Using Micro Content for Advanced Purposes.


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