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="javascript:void(0)" title="&lt;Project title&gt;">
            &lt;Project title&gt;
          </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>&lt;Current section&gt;</span>
          </button>

          <ul id="basic-nav-section-one" class="usa-nav__submenu">
            <li class="usa-nav__submenu-item">
              <a href="#"> &lt;Navigation link&gt; </a>
            </li>
            <li class="usa-nav__submenu-item">
              <a href="#"> &lt;Navigation link&gt; </a>
            </li>
            <li class="usa-nav__submenu-item">
              <a href="#"> &lt;Navigation link&gt; </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>&lt;Section&gt;</span>
          </button>

          <ul id="basic-nav-section-two" class="usa-nav__submenu">
            <li class="usa-nav__submenu-item">
              <a href="#"> &lt;Navigation link&gt; </a>
            </li>
            <li class="usa-nav__submenu-item">
              <a href="#"> &lt;Navigation link&gt; </a>
            </li>
            <li class="usa-nav__submenu-item">
              <a href="#"> &lt;Navigation link&gt; </a>
            </li>
          </ul>
        </li>
        <li class="usa-nav__primary-item">
          <a href="javascript:void(0)" class="usa-nav__link">
            <span>&lt;Simple link&gt;</span>
          </a>
        </li>
      </ul>

      <form class="usa-search usa-search--small" role="search">
        <label class="usa-sr-only" for="basic-search-field-en-small">
          Search
        </label>
        <input
          class="usa-input"
          id="basic-search-field-en-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="javascript:void(0);">Parent link</a>
            </li>
            <li class="usa-sidenav__item">
              <a href="javascript:void(0);" class="usa-current">Current page</a>
              <ul class="usa-sidenav__sublist">
                <li class="usa-sidenav__item">
                  <a href="javascript:void(0);">Child link</a>
                </li>
                <li class="usa-sidenav__item">
                  <a href="javascript:void(0);" class="usa-current"
                    >Child link</a
                  >
                  <ul class="usa-sidenav__sublist">
                    <li class="usa-sidenav__item">
                      <a href="javascript:void(0);">Grandchild link</a>
                    </li>
                    <li class="usa-sidenav__item">
                      <a href="javascript:void(0);">Grandchild link</a>
                    </li>
                    <li class="usa-sidenav__item">
                      <a href="javascript:void(0);" class="usa-current"
                        >Grandchild link</a
                      >
                    </li>
                    <li class="usa-sidenav__item">
                      <a href="javascript:void(0);">Grandchild link</a>
                    </li>
                  </ul>
                </li>
                <li class="usa-sidenav__item">
                  <a href="javascript:void(0);">Child link</a>
                </li>
                <li class="usa-sidenav__item">
                  <a href="javascript:void(0);">Child link</a>
                </li>
                <li class="usa-sidenav__item">
                  <a href="javascript:void(0);">Child link</a>
                </li>
              </ul>
            </li>
            <li class="usa-sidenav__item">
              <a href="javascript:void(0);">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