What role does the “audience” attribute play in conditional text?

The audience attribute in conditional text within DITA topics plays a pivotal role in customizing content for specific target audiences. It allows content creators to define and apply conditions to content elements, ensuring that the right content is delivered to the intended audience when generating documentation. The audience attribute is a key element in conditional text within DITA topics, serving to customize content for different audience segments. Content creators use this attribute to specify the intended audience for a particular piece of content. When combined with the <flag> element, this attribute becomes a condition that determines whether the content should be included or excluded in the generated output based on the audience segment.


A user manual for software needs to cater to both novice and expert users. Content creators can mark sections with different audience attributes, like so:

<flag audience="novice">
  <p>This is a simple explanation for novice users.</p>

<flag audience="expert">
  <p>This is a more detailed explanation for expert users.</p>

In the DITAVAL file, conditions can be set to specify which audience segments should receive which content. For example, if generating content for novice users, authors might set a condition to exclude content with the “audience=’expert'” attribute. This ensures that novice users receive content tailored to their needs.

The audience attribute can be highly granular, allowing for even more specific customization. For example, it can be used to target audiences such as “beginner,” “intermediate,” or “advanced” users. Content creators can thus provide content that aligns with the proficiency level of their intended audience.

In the DITAVAL file, conditions are defined to control the inclusion or exclusion of content based on these audience attributes. For example:

<prop action="exclude" att="audience" val="expert"/>

With this condition, when generating documentation for novice users, content marked as “audience=’expert'” will be automatically excluded, ensuring a tailored experience for novice readers.