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UX Design and Content Strategy

The User Experience is comprised of numerous elements, one of which is content strategy.

The web today is super saturated with content. In fact, nearly 3 million blog posts are published each day. Consumers easily get overwhelmed and walk away (or should we say, click or tap away) in search of content they believe to be more useful, more relevant, or simply put: better.

The user experience (UX) plays a big role in this journey. How an individual uses and interacts with your website is a huge determiner for if they will stay to enjoy more of your content, or if they will leave in search of something else. In fact, UX design and content strategy are actually far more related than you might imagine.

We’ve already talked a lot about content strategy in previous articles in our series – which you can read here and here. Now it’s time to discuss how UX fits into this mix and how it factors into developing your content strategy.

Defining Content Strategy

Content strategy is much more than planning out which articles to write and when to publish them. In fact, that piece of the puzzle, which is more editorial planning than it is content strategy, comes into play after you’ve already developed your content strategy.

Before creating your content, you need a strategy in place for what that content is going to look like and what purpose it is going to serve. As the team over at the Content Marketing Institute puts it, “Content strategy helps organizations provide the right content, to the right people, at the right times, for the right reasons.” Your strategy helps you answer questions like:

  • Why am I creating this content?
  • Who will this content benefit?
  • What do I want users to do after reading this content?
  • Is this content in line with my overall business goals?

Answering all of these questions will help guide you towards useful content that provides values to users and delivers on your overall business goals and objectives.

Defining UX

UX, on the other hand, is the user experience. And as we hinted at earlier: you cannot have a positive user experience if you have bad content. It’s that simple! For that reason alone, UX designers need to have some understanding of content strategy in order to ensure their job will have a positive outcome.

Here at Webdirexion, we have a devoted team of content strategists and UI/UX designers. Working together, we focus on a cohesive strategy that involves content, branding, UI/UX design, and more.

You can’t create a positive UX from bad content, but unfortunately, there is also no guarantee of a great user experience just because you’ve got great content. That is where a UX designer comes into play.

UX Design and Content Strategy

Image courtesy of Wikipedia Commons. UX combines the look, feel, and usability of a website.

A UX designer has the task of organizing and displaying site information in a way that users will find pleasing and easy to understand. They have to strike a difficult balance between uniqueness and predictability. If a user navigates to your website and doesn’t know how to move around to different pages, that is instantly contributing to poor UX, and they will likely navigate away. On the flip side, if your website is easy to navigate but has a lack of innovation, users may not find the value and you are left with the same negative end result.

UX Design and Content Strategy: Better Together

So, how do these two concepts fit together? Ideally a content strategist and UX designer will work together closely in order to come up with a vision that is pleasing to everyone. To sum it up in a brief sentence; the content must be valuable and it must be displayed in a way that is pleasing to the user. It may sound simple – but it is easier said than done!

Content strategists help craft useful content, and that content then helps inspire the UI/UX designer who makes important decisions about how to display the content. Here are some things to keep in mind to understand how this workflow process might unfold.

Tips for developing a UI/UX design:

  • Refrain from using too much lorem ipsum content. This is a common technique when building out wireframes, but it does not help you gain an understanding of how your actual content will look and feel on your website. Try to provide your web designer with some content that they can work with and use in their designs.  It is a good strategy in the beginning so people do not get hung up on details, but when ready, pick a page and try seeing how some actual content will look.
  • Determine where and how large elements come into play. Users frequently scan websites and hit on large elements like headings and images. Take this into consideration and consider how your content is portrayed if stripped down to just those features.
  • Differentiate when appropriate. You don’t have to (and shouldn’t) feel the need to reinvent the wheel, but once you have some content and are designing your page layout, think of opportunities to stand out from the crowd. Remember, there is an overabundance of content on the Internet. How will yours be memorable?
  • Keep things simple. If your website has bright colors, flashing buttons, and numerous moving elements, that’s a problem. Not only will this likely cause a slow page load speed (which is a major determiner of UX), the elements themselves will be overwhelming to most users who want to seek out content that is simple, easy to read, and visually nice to look at.

Ensuring Your Content Promotes a Positive UX

As you start creating content in line with your content strategy, it is important to keep in mind your UX. While UX designers benefit from understanding of content strategy, the same holds true for content marketers. Viewing your content through the lens of UX can help ensure what you are creating will promote a positive UX.

UX Design and Content Strategy

-Kristina Halvorson and Melissa Rach, Content Strategy For the Web.

Think about the user experience in terms of the value a user takes from your content. Are you helping them solve a problem? Will you provide them with useful information that they can use to make a decision? Are you entertaining them?

We would argue that user goals are a hugely important part of both content strategy and UX. Your users should always be at the forefront of just about everything that you do. After all – you wouldn’t have a business at all if not for them. Designing your content and website with their goals in mind will help you always provide a positive UX.

Fairly recently, no one even mentioned content strategy and web design in the same sentence. However, the last few years have seen a major shift as people come to understand the important connection between content and the user experience. Both play an important role in developing a brand image, boosting conversions, increasing the number of loyal customers, and therefore, delivering on overall business goals.

If you are looking to improve your UX Design and Content Strategy, please contact us. Our team can help you meet your business goals through careful planning of your content strategy and UI/UX design.

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