Designing Content as Part of the User Experience

There is more to UX Design than the visual element.   While it is an essential part of the UX process, visual design is just one part of many. Your content is instrumental in designing a good user experience.

Content is often the main reason why a user is using your product. At the very least, it plays a big part in helping users achieve their ultimate goals.

In “Designing the Words: Why Copy is a Design Issue”, Sam Wright explains why copywriting is part of the design process. For him, having a visual designer put together a page or site and then hand it off to a copywriter to fill in the content is no longer suitable. In his own words:

The cross-discipline approach of using design as a way to clearly communicate information, known as communication design, is growing. However, no matter how clearly laid out a design is or how elegant the infographics are, our number one visual tool for relaying information to the audience is well-written text.”

As with all else UX, you must consider the content strategy through the framework of user-centered design. Develop your content in relation to the needs, goals and behavior of the user.  Is it the information that they’re looking for or need? Does the language and tone of the content match that used by the specific user audience?

In terms of user behavior we must treat content as a visual tool. We must consider the unique way in which users read on the web. The Nielsen Norman Group (NN/g) have conduced a considerable amount of research on the topic. They’ve created guidelines for written content to adhere to that improve the user’s experience.

Understanding content strategy from this perspective shows us that it is an essential design element. A good content strategy ties together the various components of the user experience. To create a successful and positive user experience, content strategy must be integrated into the design strategy.

Summary:

  • Content is instrumental in designing a good user experience.
  • Well-written text is the most important visual tool for relaying information to your customer.
  • Content should be developed in relation to the needs, goals and behavior of your users.
  • Users read in a unique way on the web.
  • Implementing a content strategy will help tie together the various components of the user experience.
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