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Killing Lorem Ipsum With Content-First UX

Ryan Bigge
February 20, 2016

Killing Lorem Ipsum With Content-First UX

Everyone tells you to brush, design and floss with real content, but almost no one explains how to make that happen. Across numerous content strategy projects, I’ve seen how tight deadlines, imperfect Statements of Work and bad habits allow placeholder copy to thrive. In order to defeat the scoundrel Lorem Ipsum, I’ve developed some tools and approaches for copywriters and designers that help return the crown to content.

Ryan Bigge

February 20, 2016

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  1. Killing Lorem Ipsum With Content-First UX Ryan Bigge | #PCTO16

    | Feb. 20, 2016
  2. Today’s plan Why words still matter Fixing the Lorem Ipsum

    problem Content-first UX in theory and practice
  3. Once upon a content strategy… I’ve spent the last 20

    years working with words. I’m currently interested in the overlap between user experience, copywriting and content strategy.
  4. Design is wordy https://signalvnoise.com/posts/3404-reminder-design-is-still-about-words

  5. Poem about word design Click away from the pen tool

    Put down your Pantone book Stop rearranging your layers Close your stock texture folder Log out of your Dribble And god dammit, hug your copywriter Designing for the web is still about words
  6. Content is Design & Design is Content & Blah is

    Blah is Blah
  7. Bless you, GOV.UK It might sound strange, but content is

    a huge aspect of UX and UI. Want proof? Visit GOV.UK.
  8. Those magnificent copywriters in their flying machines Thanks for subscribing

    to our super awesome unicorn newsletter! :eggplant: :thumbsup: We tend to think of copywriting as part of brand voice and tone, rather than UX or UI. For example:
  9. Those magnificent copywriters in their flying machines But copy is

    much more than well-placed exclamation points! It contains multitudes. Thanks for subscribing to our super awesome unicorn newsletter! :eggplant: :thumbsup: We tend to think of copywriting as part of brand voice and tone, rather than UX or UI. For example:
  10. At the same time, copywriters aren’t superheroes Stop. The UX

    is already dead. Hoping for a last-minute copy miracle to fix a broken user experience?
  11. Why bad content happens to good people Psychological factors –

    Writing feels like homework Process factors – Words cost time and money Agency factors – Clients don’t view copy as shiny or sexy SOW factors – Not in the contract? Ain’t gonna happen
  12. Fixing the problem

  13. Give all credit for C1UX to Steph Hay How do

    we solve the content problem? By finding ways to put content and design on equal footing. That’s the idea behind content-first user experience. I did not invent content-first UX. Steph Hay, the director of content strategy at Capital One did. Steph Hay > Ryan Bigge https://www.uie.com/brainsparks/2014/06/24/steph-hay-content-first-user-experience/ https://www.uie.com/brainsparks/2015/07/22/steph-hay-designing-with-a-content-first-approach/
  14. Making UX out of nothing at all The UX is

    coming from inside the GOOGLE DOC!
  15. Making UX out of nothing at all “Spending an hour

    copying and pasting language into a completely blank text file is a much faster, lower-risk way to isolate the content and test it with people than it is to just continually iterate on the design.” - Steph Hay
  16. Ryan’s definition of a conversation map A conversation map is

    a series of linked speech bubbles that express, in ordinary language, the content expectations of your persona as she travels from Point A to Z. As a bonus, it helps identify what she’s feeling (emotional states) and thinking (mental models)
  17. How journalists think about their ideal reader When I was

    a journalist, I would ask myself: • What can I safely assume the reader already knows? • What must I explain to the reader? • How much info is needed to explain something unfamiliar? • How can I explain something so that I flatter the intelligence of readers who are in the know? • How can I nicely remind the reader of something I mentioned earlier in the article?
  18. Anticipating and answering user questions Company: Please enter your CVV

    number. User: What the hell is a CVV number? Where do I find it? If the notion of an ideal reader is too intangible, then think of a conversation map as a tool to prevent your users from yelling at their screens.
  19. UserOnboard – another example of a conversation map http://www.useronboard.com/how-quartz-onboards-new-users/

  20. Conversation maps are keen I like Conversation Maps because: •

    They play to my strengths as a writer & content strategist • They offer a more natural way to discover the mental models and info needs of users • It’s not a complicated process to learn. If you’ve ever spoken with another human being, you’re good to go.
  21. The shape of stories and the shape of user journeys

  22. The shape of stories and the shape of user journeys

    Fiction is full of conversations. So why not user journeys?
  23. The shape of stories and the shape of user journeys

    Epic journeys involve plenty of conversations.
  24. The shape of stories and the shape of user journeys

    Your conversation map serves as a rough draft for your copy. Since you might need to express complex ideas or explain new tasks, feel free to be wordy. Be sure to fully support user needs and goals across the entire experience. You can always edit it later.
  25. How to fix your content challenges Psychological factors Writing feels

    like homework, but conversations are fun and easy. Process factors Layer a conversation map over existing UX tools like user journey maps or user flows. Agency factors Stress the role of content in RWD or accessibility. Link content and design in ways that clients can’t ignore. SOW factors Smuggle content-first UX into a discovery workshop with stakeholders. Nicole Fenton, co-author of Nicely Said, says that “she designs with words.”
  26. Content-first UX resources via Medium http://tiny.cc/C1UX

  27. Super amazing resources1 Content-­‐First  User  Experience  –  Steph  Hay,  Spool

     Cast  2014   “We’re  looking  at  the  words  that  we  would  use  to  communicate  with  a  customer  or  a  user.  It  allows   everybody  in  the  room  to  communicate.  We  all  have  this  shared  language.  It’s  not  a  wireframe.”       Designing  With  a  Content-­‐First  Approach  –  Steph  Hay,  Spool  Cast  2015   “Spending  an  hour  copying  and  pasting  language  into  a  completely  blank  text  file  is  a  much  faster,   lower-­‐risk  way  to  isolate  the  content  and  test  it  with  people  than  it  is  to  just  continually  iterate  on   the  design.”       Content  and  Design  are  Inseparable  Work  Partners  –  Jared  M.  Spool,  Medium   “Our  users  don’t  separate  our  design  from  our  content.  They  think  of  them  as  the  same.  So,  why   don’t  we?”       Designers:  Stop  Asking  Copywriters  To  “Punch  Up”  Your  Work  –  Joscelin  Cooper,  Co.Design   “Rather  than  instruct  designers  on  how  to  be  better  writers,  let’s  instead  look  at  how  designers  can   better  work  with  content  professionals.”       Content  Strategy:  A  Guide  for  UX  Designers  –  Liam  King,  GatherContent   “Stuffing  Lorem  Ipsum  into  wireframes  and  prototypes  is  not  a  content-­‐first  approach.”       Writing-­‐first  Design  –  Jonas  Downey,  Signal  v.  Noise   “Sketching  is  great,  but  before  I  start  sketching,  I  start  writing.”
  28. Super amazing resources2 Five  Principles  for  Great  Interface  Copywriting  –

     John  Zeratsky,  Google  Ventures   “I’ve  learned  that  writing  is  a  core  part  of  the  design  process  —  as  essential  as  interaction  design,   visual  design,  prototyping,  and  user  research.”     The  Most  Essential  Ingredient  In  Interaction  Design?  The  Words  –  Jerry  Cao  et  al.,  Co.Design    “Interaction  design  succeeds  or  fails  based  on  how  well  you  can  communicate  with  your  user.  Don’t   underestimate  the  power  of  words  in  your  communication.”       In  Conversation  With  CFPB’s  Natalie  Kurz  –  Kate  Garklavs,  18F   “I  can’t  stress  enough  how  important  it  is  to  test  wires  and  prototypes  with  actual  content.”         How  Copywriting  Can  Benefit  From  User  Research  –  Marli  Mesibov,  Smashing  Magazine   “User  research  is  a  great  tool  for  copywriters  because  it  can  help  them  to  better  understand  how   users  speak,  and  what  they  want  or  need.”         Design  the  Beginning  –  Julie  Zhuo,  Medium   “We  user-­‐tested  multiple  versions  of  an  early  marketing  page  and  it  was  immensely  helpful  in  getting   us  to  focus  on  a  few  key  use  cases.”       How  to  Integrate  Copywriting  in  Your  Startup’s  Design  Process  –  John  Zeratsky,  Google  Ventures   “Empower  your  team  to  ‘design’  the  text  content  alongside  the  visuals.  When  you  work  this  way,   your  team  can  generate  and  test  different  competing  solutions  —  and  that  includes  different   competing  copy.”
  29. Super amazing resources3 Designing  Content  First  For  a  Better  UX

     –  Liam  King,  GatherContent   “Why  design  content-­‐first?  Because  content  is  UX.”       Q&A:  Scott  Kubie  on  Content  Strategy,  UX,  and  Design  –  David  Sturtz,  Blaze   “I’ve  also  observed  that  more  content  strategists  are  doing  design  work  and  more  designers  are   working  on  content  strategy.”   How  to  Work  with  Other  People  and  Make  Content  Happen  –  Stephanie  Wills,  Medium   “Content  to  design  is  a  conversation,  not  a  hand-­‐off,”       Words  As  Material  –  Nicole  Fenton   “I  believe  that  writing  is  part  of  every  design.  If  you  can  clearly  define  what  you’re  making  and   articulate  its  value,  the  steps  to  bring  it  out  into  the  world  will  go  much  faster.”       Why  Ads  Are  an  Important  Layer  of  Your  Product’s  UX  -­‐  Ben  Barone-­‐Nugent,  TNW   “Use  what  we  learn  in  user  testing  to  develop  and  test  messaging  for  ads.  This  approach  carves  out  a   clear  role  for  UX  analysts  and  designers  that  doesn’t  impinge  on  the  traditional  ad  creative  process.”       How  to  Build  an  Opinionated  Product:  Design  the  Marketing  First  –  Jake  Knapp,  Google  Ventures   “Build  first,  market  later  is  still  a  common  approach.  Hard  work  is  wasted  on  features  that  don’t  make   the  marketing  headlines.”
  30. Super amazing resources4 Content-­‐First  UX  Not-­‐Articles   • Design  for

     Context  Not  the  Device  –  Derek  Featherstone,  UX  Thursday   • Design  &  Content  Conference  –  July  2016  in  Vancouver   • Speech  Bubble  User  Flow  –  Barnabas  Nagy   • IXDA  Speakers  Panel:  When  Content  Strategy  and  User  Experience  Converge
  31. Thank you so much! http://tiny.cc/C1UX | Ryan Bigge | #PCTO16