UX Power Up: Content First

If everything is about the content, then why not design especially for it? Designing for mobile and responsive usage drives us to favor content over “chrome” (user interface). In this week’s UX Power Up, Frank covers a new approach to thinking about design layouts, called Content First.

Transcript of video above…

Content First

Frank Spillers here, founder of Experience Dynamics.  It’s time for this week’s UX Power Up.

Today in our mobile UX series, I’d like to talk to you about an approach that more and more folks are adopting that I call Content First.

Content First is a cousin to the approach that’s called Mobile First.  Which is kind of almost a philosophy or approach to saying, hey what would it be like in mobile paradigm where you have constrained resolution, you have context of use to think about, as someone is interacting with your mobile content.

So, content first – the reason why more and more people are thinking about this is because we are in this kind of like resolution less, ya know – or like open resolution environment, responsive web design, where people are looking, for example, 80% of consumers will consult a website first on a mobile device before they go to a desktop.  So research is being done there and then maybe transacting on a desktop.

This environment where mobile has also surpassed desktop PC’s, is a challenge because it means that we can’t rely on the old template, or best practices, or layouts of “How should a web page look?” “How should a website be designed?”

So, content first kind of puts us in this frame of mind that says – Ok, just focus on the content.  Forget the UI, forget the interface, forget the design and because anyway users don’t care about that.  They are coming to your website for the content.  How would you do that then?  How would that look?

If you start with the copy, just strictly the copy – so this is basically an approach – almost like a step-by-step for designing a page.  Just think about the copy.  The headers, the H1’s the H2’s, the body paragraphs, the links, and even the call to action.  And then, add the UI elements.  Ya know, years ago we would start traditionally by designing the UI elements and then the copy would almost be the last thing that we add.  So we are kind of flipping the approach and letting the copy drive, and then we add things like UI elements – such as checkboxes, drop down menu’s, navigation menu’s, all of that kind of stuff.  Then we add interactions on the page, sequencing of information, the flow of the page, and so forth and so on.  And then finally adding the media.  So things like images or videos or whatever the case may be.

So this is what I call the content first approach, kind of like the mobile first.  Mobile first, content first – absolutely essential for mobile UX to take that approach, to think about the content and really make that be the main focus of your design efforts, and kind of letting that lead.  It will also keep you out of the trap of being stuck with a particular layout that might only work on desktop, which is kind of the problem we are trying to solve.

So, thinking about the copy really getting that top of mind for you as you design.  

That’s it for this week’s UX Power up.  Have a fantastic week.  We’ll see you next time.  Thanks.

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