‘Insert crappy content here’. Filling empty boxes and minds with content. The Nurnberg Funnel.
“Designers have largely shifted their skill sets toward interface design, prototyping, and code. Are writing and art direction getting left behind? (…) But with designers increasingly focused on the interface, a fundamental problem has emerged. The emphasis becomes the design of the frame, and the content takes a backseat — an easily exchangeable placeholder that can be replaced with more or less anything. Layouts become filled with gray boxes and fake headlines.”
Paul Woods a.k.a. /paulthedesigner | @paulillustrator ~ FastCoDesign ★
The magic of personalisation, adaption, and intimate integration.
“Everyone talks about it. No one knows how to do it. Still, everyone is convinced everyone else is doing it. So everyone wants to do it themselves. But in the end, no one is actually doing it.”
Deane Barker a.k.a. /deane | @gadgetopia ~ gadgetopia ★ courtesy of @everbass
UX is the outcome, interacting with content.
“Good UX is all about getting out of the user’s way. A successful ecommerce site makes it phenomenally easy to shop, deeply evaluate, and compare products. The best sites let the audience do these things without even paying attention to how they get from product description to comparison chart to category page. Good content is about the same thing. The best content doesn’t draw attention to itself, but focuses instead on its subject matter–the information you as a marketer want to impart. Good UX is also about knowing what your user wants. Do the work up front (or have an agency do it) to figure out what your user wants, what they would ask if you were standing face to face. Don’t be afraid to ask the question, ‘Did you find everything you needed today?” in whatever form you can. Pay attention to the details of all your content. Improve what you have first, identify the gaps, then start knocking them out one step at a time.”
Augustin Kendall a.k.a. /augustinkendall ~ Portent ★ courtesy of petermorville
Digital material, language for humans and machines. Human language equals content.
“Content is the core commodity of the digital economy. It is the gold we fashion into luxury experience, the diamond we encase in loyalty programs and upsells. Yet, as designers, we often plug it in after the fact. We prototype our interaction and visual design to exhaustion, but accept that the ‘real words’ can just be dropped in later. There is a better way.”
Andy Fitzgerald a.k.a. /andyfitzgerald | @andybywire ~ Smashing Magazine ★
The content layer of the customer journey map, sort of.
“We live in a service economy with evolving liquid expectations. Content is a fundamental component of how users engage with a service, and content strategy is the mechanism that enables that service experience to be delivered holistically and consistently across all touchpoints.”
Jennifer McCutchen a.k.a. /jennifermccutchen | @jenmccutchen ~ Fjord ★
Be conservative in what you publish, be liberal in what you read.
“Even if your organization doesn’t produce anything close to that kind of volume, it’s wise to ask yourself an important question: Is all this content working? This article lays out how to answer that question for the content you have now and ensure that, going forward, your future content is positioned to succeed.”
Hilary Marsh a.k.a. /hilarymarsh | @hilarymarsh ~ Content Company ★
The magical number 7, for text only.
“(…) treating your content like a startup. This is something I’ve always been sure to do, and intend on doing it for my new book too. But that’s a product I intend to sell. Oftentimes we neglect the content that takes care of our marketing goals by confining it to a limited framework. When you treat your content as a product, instead of “just” a piece of content, you give it the attention and worth it deserves. And just like products, the user experience of your content matters just as much as the value you deliver within it.”
Tom Whatley a.k.a. /thetomwhatley | @thetomwhatley ~ Content Marketer ★
Integrating would be better.
“Content strategists have had to adjust to the rise of development-centric projects focused on products. Big changes challenge traditional content culture and processes.”
Brendan Murray a.k.a. @neo_narratives ~ A List Apart ★
Content, the UX material we work with. And code of course.
“The most common mistake by organizations designing a website, app, or other digital product is breaking the number one rule of human-centered design: put content where users are most likely to look for it. Instead, mission-driven organizations, in particular, such as government agencies and nonprofits, muddle the execution of their design as they struggle to promote their message and meet the needs of stakeholders.”
Nikki Kerber a.k.a. /nrkerber | @SocialWebNerd and Rachel Weatherly a.k.a. /rdweatherly ~ UXPA Magazine ★
Better this realization now than never.
“The biggest change in my understanding of design after joining Capital One, by far, is how I understand the importance and nature of content strategy in my design work. It just makes logical sense that when someone interacts with something you’ve designed, a lot of what they see and what colors their understanding of the experience as a whole is word-based! I honestly can’t understand how I’ve gone as long as I have without really digging into content strategy; it just seems so obvious now. This realization was made a lot easier through the similarities between how Adaptive Path thinks about design and how our director of content strategy, Steph Hay and her team think about content. They aren’t lone poets just winging it; it’s actually a very rigorous process around understanding the purpose and context of the product, and using natural language. Because of these similarities, our methodologies around generative research and non-arbitrary design decisions work together seamlessly.”
Scott Sullivan a.k.a. /scottsullivanli | @scotsullivan ~ Adaptive Path ★
Applying a systematic modeling approach to content is half the work.
“Design is about relationships. Whether digital, print, or physical artifacts, designers manage and structure the relationship between form, material, and content. As UX designers, we manage the relationships of content, navigation, and user journeys within the confines of a user interface. Increasingly, the content we want to publish must exist across many interfaces at once and be ready for platforms and devices yet to come. We need a way of making our content ready for anything the future will bring.”
Mike Atherton a.k.a. @mikeatherton | Carrie Hane a.k.a. @carriehd ~ UXPA Magazine ★
Forgetting your content at a strategic level is a major UX sin.
“Kristina Halvorson, one of the pioneers of the content strategy movement, once wrote that content strategy is essentially content planning, or not treating content as an afterthought. Most of the time at the large corporations in which I’ve worked, working on projects first involves mapping out an experience based on business requirements and what IT can support, then garnishing that experience with piecemeal content: a product description here, a headline there; intro copy for one page, a button label for another. Done and done. The problem with that approach is that it creates a disjointed narrative that’s not really focused on dealing with real customer needs. So how do you know what your customers really need? How can you be sure your content is prioritized appropriately? How do you know how much content is too much, and how much isn’t enough? Our organization had always addressed design from a customer perspective. Now it was time to focus on how to use content strategy to enrich our content and make it more customer-centric.”
Kelly Turner a.k.a. /kelly-turner | @KellyRTurner ~ UXPA Magazine ★
Words and numbers as design material.
“Everything around us is designed on some level. There are decisions made about both the function and the form. This does not mean that everything is good design and that everyone should be a designer – just as every piece of content is not good content and everyone should not become a content manager or copywriter.”
Renata Barros a.k.a. /renatabarros | @rjmbarros ~ Gather Content ★
Professional UX organizations have discovered content and content strategy. Phew!
“As devices have proliferated, design patterns have matured, and user interfaces have evolved, user experience designers have kept pace with high fidelity prototypes. By employing high fidelity content, content strategists can keep pace too. We can evaluate, ideate, and gather feedback about our content approach much sooner than we ever could before. High fidelity content also affords a unique way to instill content strategy rigor in projects that might not think they need it. And last, but by no means least, high fidelity content helps everyone involved in the digital design process deliver flexible, meaningful content capable of creating relevant, engaging user experiences. Now that’s a reality worth embracing.”
Lisa Moore a.k.a. @writebyteUK ~ The Magazine of the User Experience Professionals Association 16.1 ★
Micro, nano or pico content.
“Micro-content is small. In fact, it can be some of the tiniest bits of a framework and when it is done well, it’s often pretty invisible. The definition of micro-content has expanded in recent years and what was just a term used to describe labeling and calls to action is much more in today’s landscape.”
Carrie Cousins a.k.a./carriecousins1 | @carriecousins ~ design shack ★
Display as in information and visual design.
“When thinking about patterns, content strategists are primarily thinking about content patterns, designers are primarily thinking about display patterns, and front-end developers are responsible for bringing the two together.”
Dan Mall a.k.a. /danielmall | @danielmall ~ Dan Mall ★
Switching labels or is technical communication now finally addressing a general audience?
“Technical writers should repurpose their information-rich content into content marketing deliverables that can be used to build relationships with potential audiences in the market. This content can help establish thought leadership, visibility, and trust with your audience so that when you start releasing and mentioning your 1.0 product, your audience adopts it.”
Tom Johnson a.k.a. @tomjohnson ~ I’d rather be writing
Data, information, knowledge and … all content-related?
“Believe it or not, there was a time when we did not talk about content. At least not in the way we do today. To some ears this will sound decidedly odd. To others it might even sound outrageous. But it is neither. I would like to suggest that the concept of content that we now associate with management and publishing has been shifting under our feet and that these changes should help us to define the term more precisely and to wield it more effectively.”
Joe Gollner a.k.a. /jgollner | @joegollner ~ The Content Philosopher ★
A brain dump of how to assess a content strategy in a channel-oriented ecosystem.
Disclosure: I work at Informaat experience design (The Netherlands) ~ “Designing for omni-channel ecosystems not only deals with the interactive and visual elements of experiences, but also has a significant content dimension. In this post, the role, value and meaning of content in products, services and brand experiences are addressed. In this context, omni-channel content strategy is a mandatory precondition for excellent customer experiences and should be part of the customer experience excellence of organizations. For the purpose of analysis, we developed a maturity model with which we can assess the current state of omni-channel content strategies and for identifying steps towards excellent customer experiences in ecosystems with omni-channel services.”
Peter Bogaards a.k.a. /peterbogaards | @bogiezero ~ Informaat BiRDS ★
Finally, content is discussed by UX designers. Why does it take so long?
“We know that it’s not edgy to defend one of the most timeless pieces of advice in design, but we’re not doing it to grab attention. We simply believe that it’s far too easy to overlook content as a design fundamental when the bulk of work focuses on visual design elements.”
Jerry Cao, Kamil Zieba and Matt Ellis ~ FastCo.design ★