Having good readable or viewable and share-able content is conditional for a website’s UX at this stage in the internet’s life. UX is shorthand for User eXperience, or how someone feels about their interaction with a system or interface. The focus of UX in web design has shifted over the years. Current best practices for the web user experience include clear navigation, mobile-readiness, and content-first design.
As much as it pains my little creative-writing heart to lump the words and images that we create into just the word “content,” it’s a useful catch-all phrase for everything you find on the internet. Think about it, though. Everything useful on the web falls under the category of “content.” Web copy. Infographics. How-to videos. White papers. Case studies. And a whole lot more.
So let’s work backwards. Now we know what UX is, and we know what content is, we need to define Content Strategy before we can see how Content Strategy is UX. Let’s look at a definition of strategy:
: a careful plan or method for achieving a particular goal usually over a long period of time
From this we can derive that Content Strategy is the plan to use content to reach a goal. Those goals are also part of the strategy – You need to define what the content’s purpose is, who it’s designed to reach, and for what end. Conversions? Value? SEO? You must determine these specifics before you have a strategy.
Let’s say you decide to create a high-level eBook with supporting blog posts and a how-to video that will provide a resource to others your industry, with a “Contact Us” CTA alongside. With that strategy in place, you can use it to drive the customer experience. As Erin Kissane writes, “Good content is user centered,” so you’ll want to make sure that you’re using the language of your customers, and that you’re addressing their needs. This leads to good UX, because the consumer doesn’t need to look up definitions or seek supporting documentation. You will have provided information they can use and answered any questions they have, and you will have noted this in the strategy. Poor content (and therefore poor Content Strategy and poor UX) would leave them wanting – perhaps needing – more information.
Can you have good content and poor UX? Yes, but you can’t have bad content and good UX.
Now, go forth and create a thoughtful content strategy as the base of a good UX. Your users and viewers and customers will thank you.