Sorry for the terrible analogy, we promise, the article is better.
In January 1966, Bill Gates coined an expression that has since become wildly popular and has turned out to be premonitory: Content is king.
In that essay, he wrote: “If people are to be expected to put up with turning on a computer to read a screen, they must be rewarded with deep and extremely up-to-date information that they can explore at will.”
To translate this quote into 21st century terms, we would say: if you want users to pay attention to your content, you must offer them not only relevant information but also package that information in a structured, entertaining, logical way so that they can easily explore it.
So how do you create content worth exploring? Say hello to content design, reader.
Content design is simply put, a way of thinking. It is answering user’s question “what’s next?”. It’s creating a seamless path that gets user to the promise land. It’s making your content simpler, clearer, faster. But as we know, nothing is more difficult than simplicity.
One principle that we have found very helpful at YellowDot while designing content is to think about the story behind the service: what do you want to tell your users? How do you want them to feel? What do you want them to do with those feelings?
In order to achieve this, we structure content around three main points: what user needs, at the time they need it, in a way they expect it.
What user needs: Relevancy
Your content must solve a problem. Content for the sake of content is void. Our job as content provider is to create content based on well researched user needs to address a specific issue and help our audience achieve a specific goal. We use market research, data evidence and customers’ feedback to define what our audience wants and do what The O’Jays famously sang “Give the people what they want”
At the time they need it: Journey mapping
Good content is not enough. Journey mapping is the secret ingredient that makes good content, great. This is about all the steps your audience need to take to get to the desired results. It implies distribution channels, delivery time, information amount, etc.
Think of it as user using a good old map to find their way in a new crowded city. Your content is the city and content design is the map. Journey mapping is finding the easiest route to get the user to the right destination without losing them a crossroads.
In a way they expect it: Language and emotion
We speak the language our users understand. Why is it important? Simply because using the right language promotes connection, credibility and trust. How long would you keep reading a book written in a language you don’t understand? We bet you won’t go past the first page.
But at the helm of it all is emotion. We use language to convey specific reactions and influence what users see, hear, feel and ultimately do.
So let’s summarize it all, shall we? Content design is serving your audience with great user experience. If you want to take your content design game to the next level, come see us at YellowDot.
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