A content type is a coherent collection of information elements that form an item a user will read and use, for example, a policy. Content types, available in the Content Management System (CMS), allow content producers to add content to their website in a structured and coherent way. Research and analysis are used to identify the fields required in a given content type as well as related metadata.
Structured content makes it possible to list content, which facilitates search and filtering (both for internal and end users). Content types ‘knit together’ as part of the data model. For example, the Event content type draws on the Person content type to organise content covering the speakers at an event.
Content types help end-users to find and understand information more easily by ensuring content is relevant and consistently organised. Fields help avoid superfluous content. Agreed metadata help navigation where users can refine and focus the content, based on the task they wish to complete on the site.
Content types support content producers by providing the structures to facilitate drafting content and by making information easier to manage, maintain, re-use and distribute. Content types can also form the basis on which to establish an agreed workflow, e.g. around the development and validation of policy content; around archiving news articles, after a given period.
Content types help webmasters and reduce production costs by providing a common approach for pages addressing a given type of content (for example, policy, event, person, etc.). The common elements are available from the Europa Components Library (ECL).
Given the devolved approach in which DGs are responsible for content on standardised sites, content types are critical. Investing in and deploying content types maintains a level of ‘control’ and helps deliver the Commission's objective of creating a coherent, relevant and cost-effective web presence:
From experience, if the provided (corporate) content type is not fit for purpose (i.e. it is 'too rigid', does not cater for all possible options, offers only a couple of fields):
(Verbatims from user research)
If the Commission’s web presence communicates Funding programmes, for example, in a consistent way, users quickly become familiar with the approach, find the information they're looking for and can easily compare programmes.
Content types - along with taxonomies - play a central role in meeting user needs and organisational goals, as well as delivering a coherent, relevant, cost-efficient European Commission online experience based on a solid metadata model.
The Europa Web Guide is the official rulebook for the European Commission's web presence, covering editorial, legal, technical, visual and contractual aspects.
All European Commission web sites must observe the rules and guidelines it contains.
Web practitioners are invited to observe its contents and keep abreast of updates. More information about the web guide.