Best Practice: Outcome Chain Structure


Outcome Chains are 3-D roadmaps, ideally designed in a way that provides a comprehensive view of the subject, breaks down complex ideas into consumable bits of information, and addresses the supporting ideas in-depth.

  • Height – Visually conveyed by the number of Topic Groups
  • Width – Visually conveyed by amount of content (“topics”) in the Topic Group
  • Depth – Determined by the details contained within the topic

Topic Groups: provide a high-level of organization to the ideas contained within the Outcome Chains. Topic Groups should have no more than 6 topics within the Topic Group; this is generally sufficient to paint a high-level visual roadmap.

Sub-Topics: create parent-child relationship to other topics and allow users to explore related sub-topics.

Topics: capture key ideas needing to be surfaced to support a comprehensive view re: the topic addressed. As a best practice, the audience should be able to see the entire OC on the screen without having to scroll down.

Topic Space: within each topic, a dedicated microsite provides space for additional content like attachments and external web sources.

Filters: users can define and apply attributes to groups of related topics to form a critical path that conveys cause-and-effect relationship among topics. We call this critical path a Filter.