Applying UX thinking to content

How many time have you been asked to help an online content creator create a fancy drop-down menu, a new FAQ page or even initiate a twitter channel? How many times have you suspected that they have been caught up in the 'how' rather than the 'why' of that process? I suspect this is because the former is concrete and easy to understand and the later is abstract (for some) and therefore harder to get a grip on. It is much easier to say, “we need a new gimmick/tool on the site” rather than explain what we are hoping to achieve with it in terms of augmented service or increased sales. 

The following five steps have evolved out of two and a half years of content coaching and aim to focus content creators on their overall communication objectives and help them make a link between what they write, or video or show and the bottom line. We build the capacity of staff by encouraging them ask the right questions about content using user experience principals. 
  • Articulate business requirements
  • Research user needs
  • Articulate user needs
  • Map content
  • Halve your content :)
The approach is pragmatic and about getting something done in the short term as opposed to everything some vague time down the track, reflecting an iterative UX approach to refinements and improvements. 

These ideas come from a presentation delivered by Elle Geraghty and Karina Smith at UX Australia in August 2011.