Creating a conversation with users is the basis of each digital experience. Words, tone, and even gestures are all part of a conversation. If we do not look at the initial conversation’s subject, we will fail to engage in a conversation with users. However, numerous factors go into crafting a concise, insightful discussion, such as research, analysis, and writing.
Words are crucial in helping people accomplish projects, according to Shopify’s Biz Sanford. And by focusing on them while sketching, one may identify challenges early and progress quicker afterward. Jeff Zeldman, the founder of ‘A List Apart,’ was the first to establish the concept of “content first” design. He stated that the first step in creating the correct style and structure for any digital experience is to understand the content first.
Prioritizing content before anything else necessitates the use of a multi-phase design approach. Utilize the content analysis and creative technique first to create a user experience design in flowcharts and graphics instead of making a design and filling in the content.
The ground principles for content-first design should be established with a practice specification and a content strategy approach. It all starts with a content evaluation and information collection. Reckon what is available using a content inventory and assessment, followed by a discourse map and a content map to do pre-visioning work. Once done, the sketching up of the ideas can be initiated after that.
Let’s look at some of the crucial steps to consider during content evaluation
Define the content strategy of your team and what it isn’t: Based on business objectives, research (metrics, audits, testing), and the audience you intend to attract, content strategy is defined as delivering the suitable materials to the right people at the right time.
Content strategy has been defined in many ways. But there’s no correct answer for it. The definition is based on how content circulates through your company and what is done from a range and design standpoint. The goal is to define it so that responsibilities and design processes are standardized and consistent.
Create a mechanism for developing and delivering compelling content: A content strategy process outlines how content strategy communicates with project stakeholders, specifies timelines and outputs at each stage, and establishes exceptions for how content is generated and released. At each phase of a project, a quality content strategy process will aid in aligning team members and offer context for working with content strategy team members.
Specific projects won’t need all of the phases in a content strategy process. In contrast, others may have a more extensive scope and necessitate a more detailed methodology. A foundation in place might be the difference between a slew of miscommunications and missed deadlines and a successful project conclusion.
Make a list of what you have and perform an inspection: An inventory and review of existing website content are performed during a content audit. An inventory is a list of all the pages on your website that includes basic information. It could be the URL, Page Title, metadata, page visits, and other data that can help you evaluate user interaction. A content inventory may be conducted using various free online inventory tools.
Taking inventory and auditing can help you decide the scope and budget of a project. It would also enable you to handle what you have to understand maintenance and what you can get rid of and provide a reference for content during content development to keep track of what’s getting done.
Conversation Mapping: With a role-playing exercise about discussing with an imagined user in your audience, conversation mapping allows you to get inside the customer experience. The discussion could be about the customer’s objective, aim, or requirement, what brought them to our website, and how much they know about it.
Conversation mapping can assist us in developing empathy for the customer’s situation and better understanding their requirements. It enables us to understand their language and experiment with a user experience more influenced by the customer’s perspective.
Using content maps to tell the story: You must take consumers through an experience that helps us reach our goals based on the conversation map and what you know about the business goals. You can start sketching out ideas for a user experience alongside the UX Lead, another content strategist, a business owner, or your own.
First, identify the following points: what does the consumer want, what measures may be taken to help them acquire what they want, and what potential pain points exist. You may then start sketching out a page with directionally accurate information based on the walkthrough of the user’s experience, conversation mapping, and content audit and analysis.
Test and Iterate: After completing the content map or sketch, you may do formal and informal user research or usability studies. Review your graphics with your coworkers or family members before moving them out into the actual world.
Make a list of user scenarios that highlight pain areas in your material. If the user still doesn’t get it, ask them how they would describe it to you. As a content strategist, you should attend all sessions since there may be holes in the interview that only you notice and can help. It will also help you better identify who you’re writing content for and their unique requirements. You’ll also learn how people process data about the product or service you’re evaluating.
Finalize your material: Speak in the users’ language without utilizing jargon, marketing, or industry words. Instead, use straightforward language. Use active voice and short sentences instead of long, complicated sentences with many phrases. Also, use headers, subheads, brief paragraphs and words, and bulleted and numbered lists to make text scannable. Finally, produce strong UX content depending on your research and company goal. It would improve the responsive site and app speed and online performance.
Promote content-first design within your company: Now that you’ve devised a strategy for implementing a content-first design approach, it’s essential to educate the numerous stakeholders of your organization about the methodology, the significance of each phase, and the company’s advantages. Determine who will be the content advocates. You’ll need supporters who favor content-first design since there will always be skeptics. After that, hold instructional sessions to demonstrate the approach’s efficacy. Involve stakeholders and take them through the project where you employed this method. Confirm it with data. Capture evidence that your content-first designs met or surpassed your company’s objectives. These measurements are used to improve your design process.
Keeping the communication with your users at the forefront, understanding them, and progressing from there would help you provide solutions that satisfy users while meeting your business objectives. Based on the methods outlined above for content-first design would help you create stunning web designs that fulfill your company’s objectives.
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Sources: 8 steps to content-first design