What Is Content Modeling?

This article will introduce you to content modeling and explain how you can apply it to your project.


At Prismic, we think of content modeling as the process of taking a website design and using it to structure the content in a CMS. This notion connects developers, who are the ones that usually set up the CMS, with content managers, writers, and editors.

It is important to understand this concept before jumping into a project; once a content model is put in place, it is difficult to go back and modify it.

The process of content modeling

Your content model should be the starting point when planning a new project.

The workflow varies from project to project, as each team has its own best practices. Here’s a linear workflow that we consider optimal:

Project specs → Information architecture → Wireframes → Visual design → Content modeling → Content creation → Front-end development

There can be many variations to this. Some parts can happen simultaneously. Sometimes the content writers can create the content in the beginning.

A content model largely defines the UX of a CMS for both developers and authors. Once a content model is in place, content managers start creating content, and developers start building the front-end.

Image that showcases the process of content modeling

Elements of a Content Model

Three elements make up a Content Model: Custom Types, Slices, and Fields.

Fields

Fields are the elements that build Custom Types. Each field is designed to hold different data types to cover every possible content case. Prismic has 18 different types of fields. Refer to each field's documentation to learn more details about them all.

Slices

Slices allow you to create a structured group of fields. They allow you to define reusable content component templates for rich page layouts. This gives writers the freedom to compose documents by arranging and ordering Slices as they want.

Custom Types

Custom Types are a collection of fields and Slices. They allow you to define and configure fields for your content using the drag-and-drop builder. They can be Single or Repeatable.

Single Types are for elements that only need one document, like a homepage. Repeatable Types for content that requires more than one. Such as articles, products, and authors.

Best practices

The way you model your content and build your Custom Types will directly impact how you create and edit pages. Here are some of our recommendations to improve your Content Modeling journey:

  • Use Slices. This is probably the most important step of this process. Think of them as the components of your project content. You need to take your design and think of ways to split it into logical building blocks that you can then build as Slices.
  • Content modeling should start once you know what the content of your website will look like. Otherwise, a content model might turn out to be irrelevant, which would lead to either a lot of hacks and inconveniences on the front-end or redoing the content model and extra work for content managers.
  • Organize your Custom Types by using tabs. One way to make Custom Types easier to use is by organizing your content fields into relevant tabs. This makes the fields easier to find and prevents documents from growing too long and becoming difficult to edit.

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