Why we need content strategy

Hugh McFall
Jan 7, 2016 · 2 min read

I think that content strategy is the most under appreciated aspect of UX design. I am not the first to express this — content has had to fight for its place in the design process for a long time. But, time and time again, I am reminded of how little people think about the role that content strategy plays throughout their favourite websites and mobile apps.

Great writing is great content, and great content makes for great design. But content is not simply about writing — it is a crucial tool to make a simple, usable product, to keep people engaged with it, to advance the goals of your organization and to communicate your values and personality. It’s not just content for content’s sake — it actually can and should play a vital role in creating great user experiences.

To help illustrate my point, let’s explore a simple question: what would our favourite digital products look like without words? We can find the answer easily: just remove all of the words from commonly used apps, and then see how usable they look. Like, for example, Spotify:

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Or Shopify’s recently released Ecommerce app, Sello:

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Or Uber:

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But content strategy isn’t just about the words themselves — it also focuses on how they’re organized and structured, what they look like, what times they appear, how they accomplish the business objectives, and much more.

These examples demonstrate an important lesson: without content that is clear, simple, actionable, and timely, these apps — many of which are important, everyday products — are essentially rendered useless.

The apps that are indispensible to us — Uber, Facebook, Spotify, and the like — all share a common thread: they place great content at the core of the design, and consider it to be a vital part of their product, not something to worry about after the product has been wireframed and tested with lorem ipsum.

In your next project, ensure you have a dedicated content strategist who advocates for the importance of content from the beginning of the design phase until the very end. It’s time for us to give great content the respect it deserves.

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