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Usable Language | How Content Shapes The User Experience


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A presentation about the role of content strategy in user experience design

A presentation about the role of content strategy in user experience design

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  • 1. Usable Language How content shapes the user experience Randall Snare Elizabeth McGuane
  • 2. What in God’s name are we talking about? 1 How content is essential to user experience design 2 How to improve your site using content alone
  • 3. What is user experience design?
  • 4. says . . . “User experience is a person's perceptions and responses that result from the use or anticipated use of a product, system or service.”
  • 5. So what is content strategy?
  • 6. says . . . “Content strategy is the practice of planning for content creation, delivery, and governance, and is a repeatable system that defines the entire editorial content development process for a website.”
  • 7. Wikipedia is missing something (shocking, I know)
  • 8. Let’s get specific, shall we?
  • 9. The 4 major UX elements Information architecture Design Analytics Usability
  • 10. Information Architecture
  • 11. Information architecture Sounds important, right? The term was actually invented by an architect- turned-graphic designer, Richard Saul Wurman
  • 12. Information architecture “Information architecture is really about what's not obvious. Users don't notice the information architecture of a site unless it isn't working.” - Rosenfeld and Morville, Information Architecture for the World Wide Web
  • 13. “Instruction for organized space” Gathering, organizing and presenting information to suit your user’s needs is analogous to designing a building that will serve the needs of its occupants. From INFORMATION TECHNOLOGIES AND THE INFORMATION PROFESSIONS, R. E. Wyllys, University of Texas at Austin
  • 14. Wurman’s Tokyo subway map
  • 15. Who cares about the geography of the system? All you need to know is the sequence of the stations.
  • 16. Great Wurman IA quotes “Most of the word information contains the word inform, so I call things information only if they inform me, not if they are just collections of data… “If I throw 140,000 words on the floor and connect those words with a sentence or two, we wouldn't call that a dictionary... The ability to find something goes hand-in-hand with how well it's organized.”
  • 17. So what’s the point? Make the complex clear
  • 18. There are lots of ways to organise information •L - by location •A - by alphabet •T - by time (chronology) •C - by category •H - by hierarchy
  • 19. The web organises by the last 2 Category - putting relevant information together Hierarchy - deciding what is least and most important
  • 20. Even if it’s organised perfectly, if it isn’t labelled right, you’ve lost.
  • 21. Labels and information architecture - some good and bad examples
  • 22. 4 major categories
  • 23. 18 major categories over 30 sub- categories
  • 24. Chronological organisation
  • 25. 2 tiered navigation
  • 26. What?
  • 27. Everything is navigation
  • 28. Expanded navigation
  • 29. Pop quiz: what do the following labels mean?
  • 30. information architecture . . . How well you organise your information depends on how well you know your information (i.e. content). If it’s not labelled well, it doesn’t matter how you organised it, no one will find it.
  • 31. Design
  • 32. In the olden days, wireframes came first
  • 33. What’s a wireframe?
  • 34. Wireframes can be simple or complex depending on how well you know your content.
  • 35. The best wireframes anticipate the amount and type of content they’ll need to include
  • 36. What comes after wireframes? A polished, finished site - that’s hard to change That means the design decisions you make in your wireframes will directly affect the volume and type of content you’ll be able to add in the future
  • 37. That means, content first, wireframes and design second Text
  • 38. How design affects content: Boxes
  • 39. What to do with boxes They work best for image-heavy pages with minimal text They need to be fluid The content should dictate the length and arrangement of the boxes (and that’s hard to do)
  • 40. Better boxes
  • 41. How content affects design: expanding menus
  • 42. Expanding menu guidelines: Pack a punch: your content has to fit in a small area, so it needs to be succinct. Use white space around your content Don’t use expanding menus as your main navigation
  • 43. How content affects design: help text and teasers
  • 44. Tips for teasers and help text Keep it short (sound familiar?) - people won’t read a long teaser. Make it meaningful: all the reader needs to know is •What they should do (help text) •What they’ll see on the next page (teasers)
  • 45. Design You can’t design in a vacuum, the content makes the design real and functional (and grow-able)
  • 46. Analytics
  • 47. What is analytics? Data. Lots and lots of data
  • 48. What does content have to do with analytics? A lot
  • 49. Keywords Often people will find your site through a search engine. Analytics will tell you which words they used to find you (keywords)
  • 50. You can’t cheat with keywords Analytics tells you more . . . Meaningless, jargon-y keywords won’t do your site any good -- because people won’t use your site once they’ve found it
  • 51. What does SEO mean? Search Engine Optimisation Effective SEO means relevant content “Optimise for the searcher, not the search engine. Focus on your customers, not the technology.” - Gerry McGovern (Jan 20, 2009
  • 52. Traffic sources Analytics shows you the context for your visitors: i.e. where they came from. • Search engines • Referring sites • Direct traffic All of these details help you get a clearer picture of the humans using your site
  • 53. Funnels: this is a sales funnel for an event. You can buy tickets online: 248 people start this funnel Only 20 people check out That sucks. We see that most people dropped out between step 1 and step 2, so there is obviously a problem with the first page:
  • 54. How would we fix this?
  • 55. When you pick a day, a morning and afternoon session is automatically ticked, which may be the reason people left the page. Automatically ticked To fix it, add some help text that says something like, “When you select a day, you pay for a morning and afternoon session. If you’d like to mix and match, give us a call on 555-5555.”
  • 56. Internal site search Look at what people are searching for on which pages. If there’s a pattern, move that content to where you users expect it to be.
  • 57. Internal site search report
  • 58. Analysing content Where are your users going? What are your users doing? How did your users get there?
  • 59. Top content Top content shows you your most popular pages. It also tells you: • The bounce rate • The percentage exit
  • 60. Top content by title Top content by title shows you your most popular page titles. The difference? Specificity The bounce rates are definitive proof that your page titles and links that got them there work (or don’t).
  • 61. Top content by section “Content drilldown” shows you your most popular sections. You can use this information to tweak your information architecture.
  • 62. Map overlay Shows you which countries your users are coming from.
  • 63. Navigation summary Shows you how your users move through your site.
  • 64. Pop quiz The intro text on one of your pages looks like this: Your analytics tells you that you have a significant traffic coming from non- English speaking countries. Would you change your blurb text? How?
  • 65. Pop quiz Your analytics tells you that one of your most viewed pages is a recipe for grilled chicken. You know that most people get to this page from external search engines, and that most people leave the page once they get there. How would you fix it?
  • 66. Analytics Analytics shows you how people respond to your content -- and how they don’t. It should be a tool that helps you constantly update your site.
  • 67. Usability
  • 68. User testing transport websites Last year we ran an “off the street” usability test for World Usability Day The theme of the day was transportation, so we tested a series of airline, rail and public transport sites.
  • 69. Looking for the right word These videos show people struggling to find a navigation label
  • 70. This video shows a guy struggling to find the word ‘destinations.’ It takes him a long time.
  • 71. What about design? The next test shows how too much content on a page - the result of poor layout and content planning - can discourage a user from reading
  • 72. This video shows a woman saying she only wants ‘relevant content.’ We love her. I want less information and I want it to be relevant
  • 73. These are “quick and dirty” user tests All you need for your own user test: •Impartial users (not coworkers) •User testing software (we use Silverback)
  • 74. But there are lots of others Remote online user testing Desktop software (we use this too)
  • 75. Most basic user testing is linguistic, or interview-based It’s an ‘ask and listen’ solution to problems in your website’s design But sometimes the interviewer has to be almost invisible - to get the answers the user isn’t aware of
  • 76. What about sample size? We tested sites with over 80 people for World Usability Day But you can get reliable results with as few as 5 users
  • 77. But first , know your user base
  • 78. Let’s wrap it up
  • 79. User experience design demands us to understand how people use, observe and even feel about words and language
  • 80. We can improve web usability using language skills alone
  • 81. Randall Snare @randallsnare Elizabeth McGuane @emcguane