Do you sometimes wonder why your content doesn’t have the desired effect on your audience? Or why some content spreads virally when you wouldn’t expect it to? Do you know what the most important factors to success are?
As part of a Consumer Content Survey with over 1,000 participants, Adobe recently reviewed the importance of the following six content characteristics:
- Informative value
- Entertainment value
- Opportunity for interaction
- Beautiful design
Surprisingly, beautiful design was viewed as the least important among these six characteristics.
Does that make Content Design a topic we don’t actually need to talk about? Definitely not. Good design is often taken for granted because it typically focuses your attention on the content itself. But bad design has a huge impact on engagement and the customer experience. In terms of brand content, more than one in three consumers is annoyed by poorly designed content.
Design is not as easy as one would expect – because it impacts us mostly subconsciously.
The same Adobe study proves that content design works – not only visually, but also in a conceptual and technical sense. While information is the primary reason for content consumption, poor usability is the primary reason to stop consumption. Interaction and loading time issues are the most common “content killers.”
As most of us know from our own experience, good design is hardly noticeable because our expectations have been met. But bad design stands out immediately and has a negative impact on our content experience. Content publishers are missing a tremendous opportunity to improve the way consumers perceive their brand with good design.
The challenge is to use content design to combine what consumers want with company goals
There is a solution to this challenge, but it has received little attention until today. Let me direct your attention to what’s known as user experience design. I’ve already touched on both aspects of user experience design: usefulness and comprehensibility on the one hand and usability on the other.
An Enhanced User Experience Model
UX Designer and Strategist, Corey Stern, supports the idea of an essential balance between content and interaction to ensure a positive user experience. He presents this balance in his “CUBI UX Model” with reference to the respective goals of the users as consumers and companies as producers.
This combination proves to be a good foundation for not only tailoring the design of digital content to the needs of consumers but also pursuing one’s own business-relevant goals — not only in marketing or communications.
From this basic model, Stern derives the so-called action cycle, which in the context of direct consumption can be understood as a user journey. This cycle consists of four steps:
Only if the user experience is positive throughout the whole process will the consumer transact business in terms of subscription or direct purchase. And this is exactly where the aforementioned UX Design principles come into play when conceptualizing and visually designing content.
The sooner and the closer experts from brand and marketing strategy, content operations, design, IT and product development team up, the more synergies can arise. You might have heard this maxim from Aristotle before, but it bears repeating: “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.”
Developing content for single parts of a process alone will not lead to the success marketers (or anyone else) hope for in the long run. You must look at the entire value chain to assess the impact your content has on business and constantly optimize your portfolio.