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  • Steven Wilson-Beales

Content strategy and UX working together at joint UXPA and CSA event


UXPA ContentStrategyAssociation Content strategy and UX working together at joint UXPA and CSA event

Photo Credit: @whbux


Content strategists and UX professionals joined forces last night at London’s SapientNitro to discuss common issues and the future of the industry. The event was organised by UXPA UK (User Experience Professionals Association UK), spearheaded by Lisa Moore, Writebyte Ltd owner and chair of the UK Content Strategy Association. We had four brilliant speakers presenting on such topics as adaptive content, selling your concepts internally and how content strategy and UX work together at LBI.

Julie Christie from SapientNitro (@jachristie) kicked off proceedings with her wonderful overview to content strategy. She opened by suggesting that content strategy often struggled for definition – and then proceed to describe it perfectly!

Key points that I took away:

  1. Content strategy has evolved to deal with the rapid increase in content that companies are now faced with.

  2. Content strategy is about understanding the business and marketing goals of the client along with the user.

  3. Julie was quite frank: “Sometimes, when I say to people I’m a content strategist, they think I’m a copywriter. But I’m actually involved in the questions around copy. Not generating it but looking at the how and the why of content.”

  4. People underestimate the work involved in content – it’s not an after-thought!

  5. The more control you have over your content, the more visibility you’ll get to expand your business

Mekon’s Noz Urbina (@nozurbina) then gave us a great overview of adaptive content in his ‘Responsive design and the content challenge’ presentation. His key points were as follows:

  1. With the rise of multiple-platforms it’s more important than ever that your content should live centrally. Using the example of Google Glass, there are now more than five other brands doing similar products in the space, how can you as a business cope with these new platforms?

  2. ‘Content is the lens through which users perceive the brand’

  3. The way you deliver that content (print/iPad) acts as the frame. Lens (content) and frame (context) need to work together.

  4. Don’t shoehorn your content into multiple frames, think ‘adaptive’.

  5. Adaptive content, like adaptive design, is optimised for multiple formats and progressive disclosure. It can be transformed and filtered saving time and money. It allows you to deliver the right info to the right person at the right time.

  6. I’m not making an app or a website – I’m making a window onto the content.

Emma Clark, owner of agency Content That Clicks (@contentclicks), delivered a case study that underscored the importance of speaking the same language as your clients when selling in content strategy. Don’t speak about the process, speak about ROI. Yes, even content strategy needs a strategy to be able to flourish!

I particularly liked Emma’s idea that projects often succeed when the UX and content strategy teams work in tandem (a ‘pincer-like movement’) to explain to the client the benefits of user-centric content. I also loved her use of the term C.O.P.E – ‘create once, publish everywhere’.

LBi’s Head of Content Strategy, Julie Mahoney (@damncheeky), delivered the final case study, offering a great example of UX and content strategy working together with the story of the founding partners who were specialists in this area.

The evening ended with a Q&A panel discussion. Some of the highlights included:

  1. Content strategy is a complex beast and it’s not always necessary to share that complexity with the client. Keep it simple e.g. “I manage and move content.”

  2. There was some heated discussion around the costings involved in adaptive content. One panellist suggested that it may even be too expensive in some cases to change your code to make it adaptive. It’s a great principle, but is it really cost-efficient?

  3. Lastly, the panellists agreed they’d all like to see more examples of adaptive content in action. For example to see how the reuse of content affects tone and flow on a page. It’s easier to see it working in more technical or product-led websites, but how about entertainment?

As a content strategist it was great to mix with UX practitioners and to hear that we share very similar issues when striving for the best user experience. Looking forward to the next event!

You can find slides and photos from the event on Slideshare and Pinterest.

The evening was sponsored by Active Standards.

Have you any thoughts on content strategy and ux working together? Please feel free to leave your comments below.

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