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Defining Content to Optimize your Editorial Experience

Riche Zamor, Director, Strategy
#User Experience | Posted

No doubt you’ve heard the phrase “Content is King.” But what exactly is content? The precise definition is subjective – it is influenced by the context in which it is defined. There is no universal definition within the industry, and it is highly likely there is no single definition within your organization.

To have a successful content strategy, it is critical that your organization determines precisely what content means to you, as its definition will inform your entire editorial experience.

An Efficient Editorial Experience

When designing editorial experiences, there is inherent friction between system architecture and user experience. The more complex the structure, the less usable the editorial experience of your CMS becomes. Content strategists strive to follow best practices when modeling content, but these object-oriented models do not take into account the workflow of tasks required to publish content.

Modern content management platforms offer organizations a variety of entities used to build an editorial experience – content types, taxonomies, components, etc. Although editors and producers learn how to use them over time, there can be a steep learning curve when figuring out how to combine these entities to perform tasks, like creating a landing page for a campaign. That learning curve can have two adverse effects on your websites:

  1. You lose efficiency in the content creation process, leading to delayed launches and increased costs.

  1. Incorrect use of the CMS, resulting in increased support costs of ownership.

Content Management Best Practice: Focus on Tasks

Avoid these risks by designing task-based editorial experiences. Task-based user interfaces, like Microsoft Windows and Mac OS X, present quick paths to whatever task your content creator wants to accomplish, rather than allowing the user to plot their own path. The greatest efficiencies can be gained by creating a single interface, or multistep interface, for accomplishing a task. Do not require the user to access multiple administrative interfaces.

To enable this set-up, perform user research to understand how content is perceived within your organization and how users of your CMS expect to create it. This is easily done by conducting stakeholder interviews to define requirements. Our digital strategy team has also found success in following practices found in the Lean methodology, quickly prototyping and testing editorial experiences to validate assumptions we make about users’ needs.

To ensure the success of your content operations, define the needs and expectations of the content editors and producers first and foremost. Equally important, prioritize tasks over CMS entities to streamline your inline editorial experience for content producers and editors.

Riche Zamor

Director, Strategy