Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Everything in Moderation: Using Content Units to Manage UX

Content can drive UX ...

"The Roman philosopher Cicero stated, “Never go to excess, but let moderation be your guide.” The trouble is, even though people have repeated this particular quotation over the past couple of millennia, our clients often push the limits excessively—beyond moderation—for both content and presentation.

As a UX professional, how do you demonstrate to your clients the benefits of moderation in user experience? You show them.

Stop Right There

You’re sitting in a meeting with a client and the first thing they say to you is: “We’d like the site to have some sort of movement on it. It has to be interactive, and it needs to include some Ajax, or whatever that’s called, and make sure people can see everything without scrolling….”

Rather than running from the room screaming, because your client has given you a hodgepodge of unworkable requirements, take a deep breath and respond to each and every one of the things your client has asked you to do. You could approach doing this in a couple of different ways, but I’ve found that separating client requests into content units removes uncertainty and offers clearer direction, while helping your client recognize each individual request as a deliverable, requiring assignments and responsibilities.

To do this, I follow a four-step process that helps delineate what content units each section of a Web site must cover—as opposed to content that acts as filler, or filler units. Before I outline this process, I’ll define these two main content types.
Content Units

Content units are any type of content that

* is sectional in nature
* is updated with some degree of frequency
* has a direct impact on the structure of a navigation tree or site map

Examples of content units might include client case studies, products or services, core offerings, and any application-related content such as Help files, a wiki, or a glossary.
Filler Units

Filler units are content that

* does not have a definite destination
* does not impact a Web site’s overall structure or linking strategy
* has a short life span
* you could remove without changing the integrity of a site’s navigation

Examples of filler units might include a video you intend for a single viewing, a news article, a signup form, a short-term promotion, or a contest."    (Continued via UXmatters)    [Usability Resources]

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