The success of a website rises and falls on the quality of its content and user experience (UX). Some place greater importance on content strategy, others on UX design, but it’s becoming apparent that both are vital.
Companies large and small have been implementing content strategies for years, with content strategists dating back to 1998. As for UX, it’s existed in one form or another for far longer (consider the design of and service provided by a restaurant), but its new role in the digital world has brought it into direct alignment with content in a way previously unseen.
The result is that designers of websites and other digital platforms must now take content into account in their design plans, while content strategists and copywriters must consider how their content will best fit into that design.
Broadly, a content strategy is concerned with the creation, delivery, and governance of useful, usable content. The process of developing an effective content strategy begins with an assessment and auditing of a website’s existing content to gain a better idea of how that content can be improved.
The next stage involves strategy and planning, which takes into account the findings of the assessment and audit as well as business needs. The final stage of the content strategy process focuses on guidelines and governance, allowing for the development of policies, standards and guidelines that will apply to the management of the content throughout its lifecycle.
Some question the need for a content strategy at all, but without quality content any website, no matter how beautifully designed it might be, will struggle with SEO copywriting. A good content strategy will anticipate possible issues with a website’s content and therefore prevent the problem from arising in the first place.
Whereas content involves the subject matter of a website, the focus of UX is a website’s design. There’s no one agreed definition of UX, but, generally, its aim is to design something that offers a useful, easy and engaging service for the user. Whether a customer has a good or bad experience when visiting a website will largely be determined by how well it’s been designed.
This will have a direct impact on the product or service being offered because creating a positive relationship with the user is essential to the process. The website/digital platform should be constructed with the customer in mind – with their needs and wants built into its design. If you can’t get this right, then you’ll have a hard time communicating the value of your product or service to anyone.
Like it or not, content needs to be part of this UX design process. It can’t simply be shoehorned into a website’s design as an afterthought, which is what often happens.
The job of the UX designer has been described as building a container for content, with the job of the content developer to fill that container (the website). Done well, this ensures the user gets a rewarding experience because a harmonious balance has been struck between the content and UX design.
UX designers aim to create a smooth user experience for the visitor, but without good content, they’ve fallen at the first hurdle. The same is true of a poorly designed website with compelling content – no one is going to stick around long enough to read it if the website itself is hard to navigate or unpleasant to look at.
Ultimately, UX design and content strategies have the same aim – to produce a positive customer experience. This is why cooperation and consultation between the two is so important.
A well-crafted, well-written website creates the experience a customer needs to be prompted into taking action. Content is the experience, and Google understands this – if your website is producing a great user experience, they can monetise that, and that is likely to result in a higher ranking for your website.
Collaboration is key – content developers and copywriters must be involved in the UX design process, with the copywriter becoming a kind of UX writer, integrating content and UX into their own creative process.
There’s more to website content than meets the eye, so step yours up a gear by taking a look at how we can help.