Content Channel usage

This article is from before the rebranding to SelfGuide. Text and images can include the old product name ProductivityPerformer or its abbreviation PP.

Content Channels are a frequently-requested feature. They provide powerful capabilities, but can also conflict with the open character we strive to achieve within the SelfGuide platform. In this article we explain the vision towards the Content Channel functionality, advise on best practices, and warn of some potential risks.


With SelfGuide it is our goal to make knowledge centrally available, in a uniform style and easy to digest for users. By keeping the platform as open as possible, an organization benefits from knowledge sharing and self-reliant employees. Sharing knowledge requires openness and trust, as opposed to hiding knowledge from groups or individuals.

On the other hand we acknowledge that there may be sensitive information in use in an organization. Merely accessing knowledge on a topic is normally not a risk, since an individual would also require access and permissions to the related application(s). To this end we provide a censoring function in SelfGuide to make sensitive information in Instructions unreadable to the end user. If however censoring part of an Instruction is considered insufficient, content channels can be used to make the entire Instruction visible only to a specific set of people. The same holds for a User Guide containing sensitive information in for example a chapter description.

We have designed and built this functionality to be optional. Content is available to all users by default, and editors will not be shown any of the content channel functionality as long as content channels are not in use.

To summarize, we recommend holding back, and using content channels only to make select, sensitive content available to specific users.

Best practices

When choosing to use content channels, keep the following best practices in mind:

  • Keep the platform as open as possible
  • Use content channels only when content must be entirely hidden from most users, even if those users would not have sufficient permissions to use the applications described in the content
  • Keep the number of content channels low as this keeps the platform maintainable for administrators and editors
  • Use content channels to determine what a user may not see, rather than trying to define what a user should or would like to see
  • As a SelfGuide manager, periodically reflect on the current usage of content channels and whether these best practices are still being met


Using the content channel feature comes with a few risks, especially if they are applied too liberally. These risks can have a direct impact on the added value of the platform. Be aware of the following:

  • Adding content to a content channel can lead to a situation where content is available in the platform but not accessible for its users. This is antithetical to the intended use of the platform
  • Editors need to be aware of the content channels and their scope. If the scope of the content channels is unclear, it becomes easy to accidentally add content to the wrong content channel or add the wrong content to a content channel