Reading Between the Lines: The Content and Usability Connection

Very often, when developing a website or app, the first step is presenting the client with wireframes and comps that feature placeholder text which can, and usually delivers a design that is well received, but that may not be ideal in its user experience. As a result, content that is critical to the journey is wedged into places that weren’t built to hold them.

Usability testing has shown that an interface with a simplistic structure with high quality, targeted content performs better than its counterpart with a more showy layout and lesser quality content. Beginning with a creative session – content, design and brand should all be taken into consideration. Determining the goals of the site for the organization it will be representing is key to developing a navigation structure and site architecture. Once this framework is built out, the content tends to come together more naturally and authentically.

A few elements to consider when developing content for usability:

Authenticity

Both for SEO and user experience purposes, it’s important to have as much original content as possible, taking into consideration relevancy to the audience and alignment with the brand.

Clarity

On average, upwards of 60% of users will abandon a site if content is difficult to understand or navigate. Content should be concise and supported by well designed and intentional calls to action. The landing page, in particular should be to the point and engaging, and with the increase in mobile browsing, as brief as possible without losing the core messaging.

Accuracy

Nothing will make a user drop off a site than errors. This includes broken links, spelling errors and mis-information. In this ecommerce environment, rife with hackings –  accurate information does wonders to instill trust to the user.

Not only does content serves as one the most important element to drive conversion and encourage brand trust, it acts as perhaps the number one factor in an SEO strategy. A site that can extend this confidence to its users will benefit from community building and social proof.

With a clear view of the sites messaging and goals, strategists can more seamlessly deliver content that is truly reflective of the organization. The harmony of content and design is an essential step in the ultimate goal of achieving a UX that delivers useful and intuitive pathways.

Vanessa Petersen

As Executive Director of Brand Strategy based in ArtVersion’s Portland office, Vanessa manages both national and West Coast accounts. She brings with her a passion for strategy with extensive experience in creative marketing, brand growth and development. She is a true advocate of storytelling and brand building from the inside out, and her keen knowledge of the marketplace, trend patterns and usability lead her to identify opportunities that can inspire powerful design strategies.

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