Good content design can help your users find the information, or complete a task, quicker and easier meaning they are likely to be less frustrated. It should be based on research, user behaviour, analytics and feedback. A content designer helps formulate creative ideas and content strategies for all digital channels.
Designing content gives it purpose and connects everything we design and build. A content designer helps to:
- Define the content requirements
- Manage the story and its structure
- Create clarity from ambiguity
At the core of content design is the user need – and presenting it in the best possible way. A user need is something a user wants/needs to do on your website and could include:
- Find information
- Contact somebody
- Browse content
- Complete an online transaction or service
- Be entertained
Example user need template
- As a… [who is the user?]
- I need to… [what does the user want to do?]
- So that… [why does the user want to do this?]
Depending on the user needs, you may need to change the amount of content you plan to publish and also the format.
Finding and absorbing information on the web should follow these steps:
- I have a question
- I can find the page with the answer – I can see it’s the right page from the search results listing
- I have understood the information
- I have my answer
- I trust the information
- I know what to do next/my fears are allayed/I do not need anything else
A website only works if people can find what they need quickly, complete their task and leave without having to think about it too much.
- Content strategy
- Content marketing
- Information architecture
- Editorial planning
- Content design
- Content creation
- UX writing
- Content production
- Content management
- Content governance
- Content architecture
- Content engineering
Good content design practice is also about content maintenance. It is important the content remains accurate, relevant, current and optimised both for users and search engines. Old content needs to be archived/deleted.
One final thing – a content design is not a journalist or someone that just writes editorial copy. There is a cross over, with some similar skills, but the roles are very different.
- Content design: planning, writing and managing content (GOV.UK)
- User needs (GOV.UK)
- Content Design below the surface