Why Content Experience is a vital part of Experience Design.
Way too often content developers and XD teams continue to operate in seperate silos. One team hacks away at developing content hoping it will do the job in a context another team has built—a context both parties hope the users will buy into, or at least give some attention.
But what good is that original and possibly brilliant work doing for you if it’s presented in a place no one knows exists or is able to find? Why keep that excellent content-work in the cellar if none of your guests wants, or needs, to leave the 1’st floor of the ’building’?
When content is treated separately from the context it should live in—even when you’re expecting earlier visitors to come back — there’s no guarantee the users will stick around for the tour. That’s why content experience should be connected.
What is Content Experience?
Content experience refers to the entirety of content and the context in which it lives. Not only does content experience include the content assets (articles, resources, videos, photography, social media and distribution channels), but it’s also the words that comprise navigation, the language that prompts users to take action, and the physical ways the content is displayed on a page.
For a content experience to be successful, all the websites builders must be on (the same) site: content producers, UX and UI designers, developers, marketers, SEO-specialists and strategists. ’Content’ is an over-all term that often means different things to different people, which is why it’s imperative to make sure you’re all on the same page.
Important things to consider when considering the overall content experience:
- Do the words we’ve chosen achieve the desired results? Words have different meanings and can encourage or result in different actions or outcomes. For example, ’Contact Us’, ’Get in Touch’ or ’Let’s Chat!’ each has its own connotations. Apply analysis and metrics to ensure your foundation is strong and make changes when necessary.
- Is the content SEO-optimized? Are your pages named correctly? Are keywords researched and analyzed? Is the page responsive? Do images have ALT tags for accessibility? Is the content original? Are there any broken links? All of these points, and more, will impact how well your site is indexed in search engines. It is hard for the users to find your party if you haven’t bothered telling them how to get there.
- Does the design, content and tone of voice each speak to the same Audience Persona? A lack of coherence can be confusing to the user.
- Is the content authentic? Nothing kills a content experience faster than a lack of authenticity. Content can be the key element to establishing trust with your user, typically one of the first steps in conversion. This is an essential part of the overall content strategy that includes everything from the words you choose to the color scheme they’re displayed in.
- Does the content experience co-relate with the user experience? Users arrive at different phases in the buying process. Whether they’re just looking around, looking for a specific answer, buying their first car it is their overall content experience that enables them to decide and leaves them satisfied regardless of where they began their journey?
The medium is vital.
If your chosen medium doesn’t meet the expectations of your visitors it’s a major conversion barrier. If you’re selling scentific products and your webpage looks ’amateurish’ or simply unreliable the medium doesn’t match the meassage. You’re telling your users you don’t pay attention to detail. You’re telling them they’re not worth the effort it takes to make a good and lasting impression. You’re basically telling them your desire to sell ’whatever you’re selling’ far exceeds their possible desire to buy the product.
A good content experience can turn users into loyal customers, however it can also have the opposite effect and turn that first good impression into ’I’ll never go back to that site’ – and thereby turning their backs to you and your business based on a single bad experience. It can impact user reviews on your product, your content and so forth.
Why should content be connected?
This can improve trust in your brand overall, allowing users to forgive minor mistakes on one side as long as they’re made good on another side. For instance, a few typos on an otherwise well-designed site can be accepted as human error rather than as a direct brand mistake. Users are willing to forgive to a certain extent, and are more likely to do so when everything’s otherwise working together.
In short, the goal is to create one medium and thus one unified message, an impossible quest if the content experience is not considered as part of the experience design.
Tear down those silo walls. It takes an agency to build authentic and relevant connected experiences that makes an impact and returns the investment.