Templates

Documentation page

Present information on a certain theme, topic, or idea.

About the documentation page template

People often arrive at a documentation page after visiting the landing page or after searching for a specific piece of information, so documentation pages don’t need to provide as much contextualizing information as more introductory pages would. The copy should be clear, focused, and concise.
<a class="usa-skipnav" href="#main-content">Skip to main content</a>
  






<section class="usa-banner" aria-label="Official government website">
  <div class="usa-accordion">
    <header class="usa-banner__header">
      <div class="usa-banner__inner">
        <div class="grid-col-auto">
          <img class="usa-banner__header-flag" src="/assets/img/us_flag_small.png" alt="U.S. flag">
        </div>
        <div class="grid-col-fill tablet:grid-col-auto">
          <p class="usa-banner__header-text">An official website of the United States government</p>
          <p class="usa-banner__header-action" aria-hidden="true">Here’s how you know</p>
        </div>
        <button class="usa-accordion__button usa-banner__button"
          aria-expanded="false" aria-controls="gov-banner">
          <span class="usa-banner__button-text">Here’s how you know</span>
        </button>
      </div>
    </header>
    <div class="usa-banner__content usa-accordion__content" id="gov-banner">
      <div class="grid-row grid-gap-lg">
        <div class="usa-banner__guidance tablet:grid-col-6">
          <img class="usa-banner__icon usa-media-block__img" src="/assets/img/icon-dot-gov.svg" role="img" alt="" aria-hidden="true">
          <div class="usa-media-block__body">
            <p>
              <strong>
                Official websites use .gov
</strong>
              <br/>
              A <strong>.gov</strong> website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

            </p>
          </div>
        </div>
        <div class="usa-banner__guidance tablet:grid-col-6">
          <img class="usa-banner__icon usa-media-block__img" src="/assets/img/icon-https.svg" role="img" alt="" aria-hidden="true">
          <div class="usa-media-block__body">
            <p>
              <strong>
                Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
</strong>
              <br/>
              A <strong>lock</strong> (
<span class="icon-lock"><svg xmlns="http://www.w3.org/2000/svg" width="52" height="64" viewBox="0 0 52 64" class="usa-banner__lock-image" role="img" aria-labelledby="banner-lock-title banner-lock-description" focusable="false"><title id="banner-lock-title">Lock</title><desc id="banner-lock-description">A locked padlock</desc><path fill="#000000" fill-rule="evenodd" d="M26 0c10.493 0 19 8.507 19 19v9h3a4 4 0 0 1 4 4v28a4 4 0 0 1-4 4H4a4 4 0 0 1-4-4V32a4 4 0 0 1 4-4h3v-9C7 8.507 15.507 0 26 0zm0 8c-5.979 0-10.843 4.77-10.996 10.712L15 19v9h22v-9c0-6.075-4.925-11-11-11z"/></svg></span>
) or <strong>https://</strong> means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

            </p>
          </div>
        </div>
      </div>
    </div>
  </div>
</section>


  

<div class="usa-overlay"></div>
<header class="usa-header usa-header--basic">
  <div class="usa-nav-container">
    <div class="usa-navbar">
  <div class="usa-logo" id="basic-logo">
    <em class="usa-logo__text"><a href="/" title="Home" aria-label="Home">Project title</a></em>
  </div>
  <button class="usa-menu-btn">Menu</button>
</div>
<nav aria-label="Primary navigation" class="usa-nav">
      <button class="usa-nav__close"><img src="/assets/img/usa-icons/close.svg" role="img" alt="close"></button>
<ul class="usa-nav__primary usa-accordion"><li class="usa-nav__primary-item">
    <button class="usa-accordion__button usa-nav__link  usa-current" aria-expanded="false" aria-controls="basic-nav-section-one"><span>Current section</span></button>
    <ul id="basic-nav-section-one" class="usa-nav__submenu"><li class="usa-nav__submenu-item">
              <a href="#" class=""> Navigation link</a>
            </li><li class="usa-nav__submenu-item">
              <a href="#" class=""> Navigation link</a>
            </li><li class="usa-nav__submenu-item">
              <a href="#" class=""> Navigation link</a>
            </li></ul></li><li class="usa-nav__primary-item">
    <button class="usa-accordion__button usa-nav__link" aria-expanded="false" aria-controls="basic-nav-section-two"><span>Section</span></button>
    <ul id="basic-nav-section-two" class="usa-nav__submenu"><li class="usa-nav__submenu-item">
              <a href="#" class=""> Navigation link</a>
            </li><li class="usa-nav__submenu-item">
              <a href="#" class=""> Navigation link</a>
            </li><li class="usa-nav__submenu-item">
              <a href="#" class=""> Navigation link</a>
            </li></ul></li><li class="usa-nav__primary-item">
    <a class="usa-nav__link" href="javascript:void(0)"><span>Simple link</span></a>
    </li></ul><form class="usa-search usa-search--small " role="search">
  <label class="usa-sr-only" for="basic-search-field-small">Search small</label>
  <input class="usa-input" id="basic-search-field-small" type="search" name="search">
  <button class="usa-button" type="submit"><span class="usa-sr-only">Search</span></button>
</form>
</nav>
  </div>
</header>


  

<div class="usa-section">
  <div class="grid-container">
    <div class="grid-row grid-gap">
      <div class="usa-layout-docs__sidenav desktop:grid-col-3">
        <nav aria-label="Secondary navigation">
  <ul class="usa-sidenav">
    <li class="usa-sidenav__item">
    <a href="">Parent link</a>
  </li><li class="usa-sidenav__item">
    <a href="" class="usa-current">Current page</a><ul class="usa-sidenav__sublist">
      <li class="usa-sidenav__item">
    <a href="">Child link</a>
  </li><li class="usa-sidenav__item">
    <a href="" class="usa-current">Child link</a><ul class="usa-sidenav__sublist">
      <li class="usa-sidenav__item">
    <a href="">Grandchild link</a>
  </li><li class="usa-sidenav__item">
    <a href="">Grandchild link</a>
  </li><li class="usa-sidenav__item">
    <a href="" class="usa-current">Grandchild link</a>
  </li><li class="usa-sidenav__item">
    <a href="">Grandchild link</a>
  </li>
    </ul>
  </li><li class="usa-sidenav__item">
    <a href="">Child link</a>
  </li><li class="usa-sidenav__item">
    <a href="">Child link</a>
  </li><li class="usa-sidenav__item">
    <a href="">Child link</a>
  </li>
    </ul>
  </li><li class="usa-sidenav__item">
    <a href="">Parent link</a>
  </li>
  </ul>
</nav>

      </div>

      <main class="usa-layout-docs__main desktop:grid-col-9 usa-prose usa-layout-docs" id="main-content">
        <h1>Page heading (h1)</h1>

        <p class="usa-intro">The page heading communicates the main focus of the page. Make your page heading descriptive and keep it succinct.</p>

        <h2 id="section-heading-h2">Section heading (h2)</h2>

        <p>These headings introduce, respectively, sections and subsections within your body copy. As you create these headings, follow the same guidelines that you use when writing section headings: Be succinct, descriptive, and precise.</p>

        <h3 id="section-heading-h3">Subsection heading (h3)</h3>

        <p>The particulars of your body copy will be determined by the topic of your page. Regardless of topic, it’s a good practice to follow the inverted pyramid structure when writing copy: Begin with the information that’s most important to your users and then present information of less importance.</p>

        <p>Keep each section and subsection focused — a good approach is to include one theme (topic) per section.</p>

        <h4 id="section-heading-h4">Subsection heading (h4)</h4>

        <p>Use the side navigation menu to help your users quickly skip to different sections of your page. The menu is best suited to displaying a hierarchy with one to three levels and, as we mentioned, to display the sub-navigation of a given page.</p>

        <p>Read the full documentation on our side navigation on the component page.</p>
      </main>
    </div>
  </div>
</div>

Guidance

When to use the documentation page template

  • Detailed information on a specific topic. If you’re presenting detailed information on a specific topic or theme that has already been contextualized by a landing page. Some topics that can be nicely represented on this type of page include guides or how-tos, technical documentation, and program descriptions — in short, any subject that requires in-depth explanation.

When to consider something else

  • Introducing a new program. Don’t use a documentation page to introduce your users to your agency or organization — the landing page is better suited to that purpose. The level of detail present on documentation pages can overwhelm users who are just becoming acquainted with your organization.

Usability guidance

  • Use a precise headline. A precise headline quickly communicates your page’s purpose. If the page content is especially complex, you may consider using a subheadline to further clarify its meaning.
  • Write concise copy. Favor short sentences (and paragraphs) over longer ones, and use straightforward language, avoiding jargon. Remember, copy blocks don’t need to be long to be comprehensive.
  • See component-specific guidance. For guidance on specific components, see the page for the individual components.

Components used in this template