4 essential UX basics for content creators
Your content platform could have great intentions but if the user experience is too clumsy or complicated you won’t have an audience to begin with. Here’s how to perfect your UX.
Imagine going to a car launch or gallery opening where everything has been organised in minute detail. Lovely ambience, great snacks, superb champagne, open space and light… but the music seems to be on a loop… from the ‘90s. The scenario describes what we’ve come to understand as UX or user experience. It can take one thing to ruin everything. Translated into our online lives, it could be the home page of a site we visit where we can’t find the menu easily, it takes what feels like an eternity to load a page or we can’t find basic information like the company’s address. Melissa Eggleston from the Content Marketing Institute sums up UX rather nicely: ‘UX encompasses the behaviours, emotions and attitudes of people using a product, system or service. [UX] incorporates disciplines such as content, strategy, information architecture, technology, interaction design and visual design. The common principle in the UX field is empathy for the users – really understanding what they want and need.’ So, what should content creators keep top of mind to provide a great UX that will keep audiences flipping through engaging content supported by user-friendly design elements? Here are a few essentials:
#1 Don’t overload your user
Take a look at the way you present content on your website. For example, are there 20 blogs available for users to read? Limiting choices means less distraction. Instead, make five posts available and archive the rest, so that the user can fully engage with what is in front of them. The articles featured should be concise and to the point, resulting in the user feeling they have been given what they asked for and that their visit to your site was a success.
#2 Show who you are as a brand
Humans are curious by nature; they also tend to make snap judgements based on what they see on a home page. A good impression creates impressions, so ‘About us’ should be Number 1 on your toolbar. This is where you can be creative in introducing yourself and your brand. Tell them your story, introduce your team and, where possible, include any contributions you are making to your community and the environment. It’s a great way to build trust.
#3 Easy navigation
A great UX relies on sound navigation principles, where content is revealed in useful ways. You want your users to be ‘in the flow,’ easily accessing your site’s content, not being frustrated by sliders and/or pop-up videos. If you have a variety of content on your site, such as product reviews, catalogues, long- and short-form content and competitions, package them neatly; make them accessible without overwhelming your user. If someone is visiting your site, simply looking for your address and opening hours, don’t make them work for this information.
#4 Know your audience
It’s pointless targeting content at users you know nothing about. Intelligent content is needed, useful content. Bad content will kill a UX (and similarly, a bad UX can drown good content). There are a number of ways to engage your audience to fine-tune the deliverables they want. Engage in creating customer personas, do surveys, ask questions, talk to them often. Otherwise you won’t know the experience you’re building for your user is the one they actually want.
Take a look at Private Edition online, its home page is clean and engaging; navigation is easy – the menu is clear and the articles are well written. A great UX is about how you feel when engaging online. Content is not the sole crusader when it comes to UX; it’s a part of the whole package that drives your brand forward in the eyes of the user. Developing a UX mindset is key to achieving this, a mindset that your whole company can buy into. Speak to us to get you on your way.