Content is a very important part of user experience, and everything that a content designer and strategist does should be rooted in user needs. This can be in the form of written copy, video, visuals, gamification, infographics, whitepapers, interactive experiences, and more! Content plays a major role in the effective delivery of all user experiences. The CUBI Experience Model (a framework made up of four components Content, User Goals, Business Goals, and Interactions), positions content as a main component contributing to overall user experience.
Good design is good business. Good content is good UX.
If content doesn’t meet user need, then what’s its purpose? Publishing irrelevant, low quality content, is bad for the user and bad for business. Today’s users have less time, lots of distractions and high expectations, often only reading approximately 20% of a webpage, making relevance and usefulness a high priority for any organisation’s content strategy. Therefore, the user needs to be at the front and centre of the content designer’s priorities. The content drives the user experience. You can have the best built themes, graphics, and personalisation strategy, but if this is not supported by great content, the user experience could still be very poor.
When a user lands on a platform, they evaluate that platform in three steps:
Users will often immediately scan the platform to assess if they’ve arrived at a desirable place. The first 10 seconds of a page visit is curial in determining whether that user will stay or leave your platform. It takes them just a few seconds to decide to engage with your product any further, which is why high-quality content is critical and highly influential and impactful to the user’s experience.
Users should immediately be hooked with content that is clear, concise and useful, as well as easy to navigate. The most important and relevant information should be written first, with additional details, and background information coming after that. By writing in this way, a user can quickly determine whether they need to read on.
Another important factor in Content UX is the readability of the content. Content should be easy to read, scan, and should be accessible. Content with good UX often includes:
These simple features within content can greatly improve UX, which in turn increases the chances that your users will then continue to engage with your product and decide to convert.
Good content drives users to explore a product further. Content should clearly tell the user what to do or where to go next based on their needs, and act as a set of instructions with clear call to actions. This will then influence the journey your users take, and how long they engage with your product for. Great content drives engagement by providing high quality, informative content and a great user journey, by combining great written content with visual content which makes the product exciting and interesting to the user. The website should offer a clear value proposition and should only provide relevant information that the target user really needs and wants.
Preferably you should have all your content before you start designing a product, platform or website. Having the real, or close to real content for the final product is much more useful and beneficial to the designer. This is because the designer can use this content to really design your product around that content, resulting in a more thought out, customised, and visually appealing final product that all ties together smoothly. Content provides context, and having this pre-design means that means designers have a better idea as to what they are trying to visually communicate.
The content will also influence factors such as colour, imagery and typography and should ensure the tone, voice, imagery, and overall design all coherently align and convey the right brand message. Even important design decisions around usability and accessibility can be made more accurately, based off the content, such as:
Content is critical to great design, which in turn impacts UX.
In addition to the points that I alluded to above, there are other approaches that content designers can take to improve their products UX.
Users expect products to be tailored to them, and products that don’t deliver this will be abandoned by potential customers in favour of platforms that do offer that tailoring. That’s why personalisation is now critical when building out the UX of a product. Personalisation allows a product or service to fit so seamlessly into the user’s routine that the user interface really becomes an invisible part of the process.
This can be as simple as using a sub-domain or unique domain to localise product language, colloquialisms, and offering, or it can be more tailored on an individual basis. Think about Netflix. When you sign into your account, your entire UI is built around you based on your previous behaviour, increasing relevance and enabling a great user experience.
Both these types of pages should encourage the user to act. For this to work, they should both have the following features:
Using positive trigger words will keep visitors engaged, will turn visitors into return visitors, visitors into customers, and customers into return visitors and return customers. They can help make a great first impression, can encourage further exploration of the product, indicate the desired navigation of the site, or can influence a purchase or conversion. They should set a positive tone to enable a positive user journey and experience.
You should utilise storytelling to elicit an emotional response in your users, which gets them excited and/or invested in your business and your product. You can use great content to build positive relationships with your users, which compels them to feel loyal to your brand. Good, meaningful content compels readers to remain on your site and, ultimately, to become customers because the story you tell is what moves the reader to action.
Content drives user experience. You can have the best, graphics, and even a great product, but without great content to back it up, the user’s experience may still be very poor. Therefore, content has to be prioritised in the overall UX strategy. The way in which you write, design, and structure your content can make or break a user experience and can influence whether a user converts into a customer.
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