How to Diagnose and Solve Content Problems: Kathy Wagner and Theresa Putkey

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Many projects start off with the assumption that something is wrong with content, but it's not always clear as to what is wrong or why it's not working. If you are looking for an approach for methodically discovering problems and strategically solving content problems, you've come to the right place.

Kathy Wagner and Theresa Putkey illustrate the benefits of assessing content, and how problems in usability, findability and searchability, tone and messaging, audience targeting, governance, process, and future planning.

They also indicate which tools to use to identify these problems and possible solutions.

Kathy and Theresa have worked with large, global organizations such as Wells Fargo, Samsung, and Franklin Templeton to assess current content problems and develop practical solutions.

Authors:
Kathy Wagner, Co-Founder, Content Strategy Inc.
Theresa Putkey, Information Architect, Key Pointe Usability Consulting, Inc

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How to Diagnose and Solve Content Problems: Kathy Wagner and Theresa Putkey

  1. 1. Diagnosing and Solving Content Problems Intelligent Content Conference 2014 Kathy Wagner and Theresa Putkey
  2. 2. Before we get started • Ask questions to clarify as we go • Hold comments and discussion points until the end • Presentation is on Slideshare • Twitter: #SolveContent Theresa Putkey @tputkey slideshare.net/tputkey Kathy Wagner @Kathy_CS_Inc Slideshare.net/content_strategy_inc
  3. 3. Imagine… You’re an independent consultant who’s been asked to advise on how to improve the content on a bank’s business website. The bank is a national financial institution with a strong global presence. @Kathy_CS_Inc @tputkey #SolveContent
  4. 4. The project team Marketing IT Digital Strategy UX Updated Website Line of Business @Kathy_CS_Inc @tputkey #SolveContent
  5. 5. Where you fit in IA/CS Marketing IT Digital Strategy UX Updated Website Line of Business @Kathy_CS_Inc @tputkey #SolveContent
  6. 6. Your process Review Documents and Research Hold Stakeholder Interviews and Workshops High level diagnostic Summarize Preliminary Findings Conduct a Content Audit and Assessment Conduct a Structure and Site Search Audit and Assessment Deep diagnostic @Kathy_CS_Inc @tputkey #SolveContent List and Prioritize Findings Solve Diagnosed Problems Solution
  7. 7. Diagnosing Content Problems
  8. 8. High level diagnostic process Review Documents and Research Hold Stakeholder Interviews and Workshops High level diagnostic Summarize Preliminary Findings Conduct a Content Audit and Assessment Conduct a Structure and Site Search Audit and Assessment Deep diagnostic @Kathy_CS_Inc @tputkey #SolveContent List and Prioritize Findings Solve Diagnosed Problems Solution
  9. 9. Review Documents & Research Content Performance Organization and Structure Customer Experience Content Branding Content Quality Web analytics Data & demographics Wireframes Messaging guidelines Writing style guide Business goals User testing reports Templates Tone & voice guidelines Content processes Strategic direction Personas & scenarios Taxonomy Content playbook Content governance User journeys Content models Content requirements Site map @Kathy_CS_Inc @tputkey #SolveContent
  10. 10. Document & Research Problem Areas Content Performance Customer Experience Organization and Structure Content Branding Content Quality Web analytics Data & demographics Wireframes Messaging guidelines Writing style guide Business goals User testing reports Templates Tone & voice guidelines Content processes Strategic direction Personas & scenarios Taxonomy Content playbook Content governance User journeys Content models Content requirements Site map @Kathy_CS_Inc @tputkey #SolveContent
  11. 11. Stakeholder Interviews Interview a breadth of stakeholders: • Director-level, management, employees, key contractors • Different departments and lines of business Ask questions about: • Project and business goals • What works well • What isn’t working • Content processes and decision-making @Kathy_CS_Inc @tputkey #SolveContent
  12. 12. Stakeholder Interviews “We need to attract business customers.” “Content is confusing and difficult to find.” ~ Marketing ~Digital Strategy Web content isn’t targeted to attract new customers? Content is poorly organized and designed? @Kathy_CS_Inc @tputkey #SolveContent “Large corporations don’t want website content.” ~ Line of Business Doesn’t understand users needs and motivations?
  13. 13. Summarize findings from document review and stakeholder interviews Focus on: • Inconsistencies • New considerations • Patterns and associations @Kathy_CS_Inc @tputkey #SolveContent
  14. 14. Inconsistencies “Our small businesses are the same as our personal banking. Our big businesses don’t need website content.” User Research Report ~ Line of Business stakeholder • Large enterprises want financial news and updates. • Small businesses have unique reasons for borrowing. @Kathy_CS_Inc @tputkey #SolveContent
  15. 15. New considerations Strategic Direction “We need to attract new customers.” ? ~ Marketing stakeholder @Kathy_CS_Inc @tputkey #SolveContent
  16. 16. Patterns and associations Personas and User Scenarios “Content is confusing and difficult to find.” ~ Digital strategy stakeholder ? Site Map is unnecessarily corporate focused @Kathy_CS_Inc @tputkey #SolveContent
  17. 17. Preliminary Findings Key concerns • Distinct customer needs are not being addressed. • There is a lack of strategic direction. • Users cannot easily find high-priority information. @Kathy_CS_Inc @tputkey #SolveContent
  18. 18. Content Diagnostic Process Review Documents and Research Hold Stakeholder Interviews and Workshops High level diagnostic Summarize Preliminary Findings Conduct a Content Audit and Assessment Conduct a Structure and Site Search Audit and Assessment Deep diagnostic @Kathy_CS_Inc @tputkey #SolveContent List and Prioritize Findings Solve Diagnosed Problems Solution
  19. 19. Audit & Assessment Users can easily understand, use, and act on content once they find it. Users can quickly access and identify content that is relevant. Content Usability Audience Targeting Findability and Searchability Tone and Messaging @Kathy_CS_Inc @tputkey #SolveContent Structure matches user expectations. Users can find info through browse or site search. The brand message and corporate attitude that’s communicated through content.
  20. 20. Audit & Assessment: Choose the right method Page-level content audit and assessment Content Usability Findability and Searchability Audience Targeting Tone and Messaging @Kathy_CS_Inc @tputkey #SolveContent
  21. 21. Audit & Assessment: Choose the right method Content Usability Findability and Searchability Audience Targeting Structure and site search audit and assessment Tone and Messaging @Kathy_CS_Inc @tputkey #SolveContent
  22. 22. Page-level content audit and assessment 1. 2. 3. 4. Define relevant criteria Establish ratings scale Conduct audit Analyze and communicate results @Kathy_CS_Inc @tputkey #SolveContent
  23. 23. Page-level content audit and assessment 1. Define relevant criteria Objective criteria “What, where, when” Subjective criteria “Why, who, and how” @Kathy_CS_Inc @tputkey #SolveContent
  24. 24. Page-level content audit and assessment 2. Establish ratings scale Legend 1 A Excellent High quality, best practice, and delivers considerable benefits. 2 B Good Supports ease-of-use and a positive customer experience. 3 C Average Some aspects may cause problems for users. 4 D Below average Poor quality and likely to cause problems for users. 5 E Poor Very likely to cause significant problems for users. n/a n/a Not applicable Not applicable or unable to evaluate. @Kathy_CS_Inc @tputkey #SolveContent
  25. 25. Page-level content audit and assessment 3. Conduct Audit @Kathy_CS_Inc @tputkey #SolveContent
  26. 26. Page-level content audit and assessment 4. Analyse and communicate results Content types Product detail Product comparison 22% 34% 12% 9% Product overview FAQs 14% 9% 57% of content pages are focused on products. 9% of pages are FAQs. Landing page Other Indicates lack of strategic goals beyond product promotion. FAQs indicate lack of user-centered content design & organization. @Kathy_CS_Inc @tputkey #SolveContent
  27. 27. Page-level content audit and assessment 4. Analyse and communicate results User Focus Writing Mechanics 2% Excellent 3% Good 10% 16% Average 71% Below average 1% 10% Good 26% 47% Poor Excellent Average Below average Poor Indicates good general writing skills but poor understanding of user-focused web writing standards. @Kathy_CS_Inc @tputkey #SolveContent
  28. 28. Structure and Site Search Audit and Assessment 1. 2. 3. 4. Define relevant criteria Evaluate site structure Evaluate site search and search results Analyze and communicate results @Kathy_CS_Inc @tputkey @SolvingContent
  29. 29. Structure Audit and Assessment 1) Define Relevant Criteria @Kathy_CS_Inc @tputkey @SolvingContent
  30. 30. Structure Audit and Assessment 2) Evaluate Site Structure Is structure too deep, too shallow? Metadata contributes to findability and searchability Analytics shows if people are able to find pages on the site. The Personas helps you see who the site is targeted for – this can give you a good idea of which personas are currently catered to (or if the site isn’t targeted at all!). @Kathy_CS_Inc @tputkey @SolvingContent
  31. 31. Site Search Audit and Assessment 3) Evaluate Site Search Results • Use personas and their scenarios • Use analytics to get most popular search terms • Use your expert skills to evaluate the results. @Kathy_CS_Inc @tputkey @SolvingContent
  32. 32. Site Structure and Search Audit and Assessment 4) Analyze and communicate results Applied Metadata 20% Accurate metadata Pages with inaccurate metadata 47% 33% Indicates metadata and taxonomy are not applied or are inaccurately applied to the majority of pages, reducing findability and searchability. Pages without metadata @Kathy_CS_Inc @tputkey @SolvingContent
  33. 33. Site Structure and Search Audit and Assessment 4) analyze and communicate results Indicates the site lacks focus on any particular business sector. Personas and Pages 10% 20% Commercial Small Government 65% 5% None @Kathy_CS_Inc @tputkey @SolvingContent
  34. 34. Solving Content Problems
  35. 35. Content Diagnostic Process Review Documents and Research Hold Stakeholder Interviews and Workshops High level diagnostic Summarize Preliminary Findings Conduct a Content Audit and Assessment Conduct a Structure and Site Search Audit and Assessment Deep diagnostic @Kathy_CS_Inc @tputkey #SolveContent List and Prioritize Findings Solve Diagnosed Problems Solution
  36. 36. Your Priority Findings Key problems to solve 1. Content findability and searchability problems 2. Poor content usability and audience focus 3. Tone and messaging problems @Kathy_CS_Inc @tputkey #SolveContent
  37. 37. Content usability and audience problems Content Usability Problems Audience Targeting Problems Difficult to scan and predict Content for generic audiences Difficult to read Content can’t be reused or customized Difficult to understand Difficult to act on Corporate-focused writing @Kathy_CS_Inc @tputkey #SolveContent
  38. 38. Content usability and audience problems Content Usability Problems Audience Targeting Problems Difficult to scan and predict Content for generic audiences Difficult to read Content can’t be reused or customized Difficult to understand Difficult to act on Corporate-focused writing @Kathy_CS_Inc @tputkey #SolveContent
  39. 39. Difficult to act on. Designed for a generic audience
  40. 40. Targeted and easy to act on
  41. 41. Audience targeting and usability toolkit • Personas • User journeys • User scenarios • Content flows • User testing • Style guide @Kathy_CS_Inc @tputkey #SolveContent
  42. 42. Tone and messaging problems Tone & Messaging Problems No distinctive tone or messaging Tone and messaging not aligned with desired brand attributes Inconsistent or contradictory tone or messaging @Kathy_CS_Inc @tputkey #SolveContent
  43. 43. Tone and messaging problems Tone & Messaging Problems No distinctive tone or messaging Tone and messaging not aligned with desired brand attributes Inconsistent or contradictory tone or messaging @Kathy_CS_Inc @tputkey #SolveContent
  44. 44. What’s your brand voice? Informal, modern, fun @Kathy_CS_Inc @tputkey #SolveContent
  45. 45. What’s your brand voice? Formal, traditional, successful @Kathy_CS_Inc @tputkey #SolveContent
  46. 46. What are your key messages?
  47. 47. Messaging hierarchy framework Company Brand Statement Principles of <Brand Attribute> Principle 1 + Global message Principle 2 + Global message Audience-Targeted Messages Key Message 1 Audience 1 Key Message 2 Key Message 3 Audience 3 Key Message 4 Audience 2
  48. 48. Tone and messaging toolkit • Style guides • Messaging hierarchy/guidelines • Content playbook • Writing tips • Personas • Training @Kathy_CS_Inc @tputkey #SolveContent
  49. 49. Content findability problems Content Findability Problems Content can’t be found in current navigation structure Metadata and taxonomy are missing or ineffective Content takes too long to find Navigation isn’t designed for the user @Kathy_CS_Inc @tputkey #SolveContent
  50. 50. Content findability problems Content Findability Problems Content can’t be found in current navigation structure Metadata and taxonomy are missing or ineffective Content takes too long to find Navigation isn’t designed for the user @Kathy_CS_Inc @tputkey #SolveContent
  51. 51. Navigation isn’t designed for the user @Kathy_CS_Inc @tputkey @SolvingContent
  52. 52. Navigation can be audience based @Kathy_CS_Inc @tputkey #SolveContent
  53. 53. Navigation can be topic/task based @Kathy_CS_Inc @tputkey #SolveContent
  54. 54. Based on user needs and clearly defined @Kathy_CS_Inc @tputkey #SolveContent
  55. 55. Findability toolkit • Personas • Scenarios • Card Sorting • Task Testing • Site Search Analytics @Kathy_CS_Inc @tputkey #SolveContent
  56. 56. Content searchability problems Content Searchability Problems Don’t know what people search for Search yields no results or inappropriate results Search results page design isn’t optimized Content isn’t optimized for search @Kathy_CS_Inc @tputkey #SolveContent
  57. 57. Content searchability problems Content Findability Problems Don’t know what people search for Search yields no results or inappropriate results Search results page design isn’t optimized Content isn’t optimized for search @Kathy_CS_Inc @tputkey #SolveContent
  58. 58. Search Results Not Designed @Kathy_CS_Inc @tputkey @SolvingContent
  59. 59. Search Results Designed Personal Business About Scotia Logo, Sign In, Locations, Contact Us, Search Box When searching within business section, limit results to business section. Search Term, Number of Results, and Pagination Filter By: Audience Commercial Business Professionals Small Business More>> Products Borrowing and Financing Chequing and Savings Group Retirement More>> Business Loans – Small Businesses Find out more details on business loans for small businesses http://blah.scotiabank.com/blah/blah Business Loans – Commercial Businesses Find out more details on business loans for commercial businesses http://blah.scotiabank.com/blah/blah Financing Options Available at Scotia Bank Find out more details on financing available at Scotia Bank http://blah.scotiabank.com/blah/blah Topics Getting Started Growing Sustainablity More>> Filters should appear based on taxonomy. Top 3 filters for each box. More>> shows further refiners Stars indicate best bests. These should be displayed first. @Kathy_CS_Inc @tputkey #SolveContent Get More Advice with Scotia Bank s Business Loan and Financing Advisors. Connect Today! Short Term Business Loans at Prime plus 2.39% Discover More Advertising to further drive awareness of products and services
  60. 60. Seachability toolkit • Wireframes • Personas • Scenarios • Site Search Analytics • Taxonomy and Metadata @Kathy_CS_Inc @tputkey #SolveContent
  61. 61. Your process Review Documents and Research Hold Stakeholder Interviews and Workshops High level diagnostic Summarize Preliminary Findings Conduct a Content Audit and Assessment Conduct a Structure and Site Search Audit and Assessment Deep diagnostic @Kathy_CS_Inc @tputkey #SolveContent List and Prioritize Findings Solve Diagnosed Problems Solution
  62. 62. Questions? Theresa Putkey Kathy Wagner www.keypointe.ca tputkey@keypointe.ca www.contentstrategyinc.com Kathy@contentstrategyinc.com @Kathy_CS_Inc @tputkey #SolveContent

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