User Experience (UX) is one of those buzzwords on the lips of everyone in the digital space right now. As content creators, we need to factor UX into what we do, whether it’s thinking about the platform we’re sharing from or just looking to the basics to inform the way we write an article. Here are UX considerations to bring to your next content piece.

Before we start, let’s just clear some things up – UX is NOT the same as UI! Whether it’s in a conversation between you and your client or even a phrase thrown around the office, ‘User Experience’ is a term that often gets confused with ‘User Interface’. While they do go hand-in-hand, they are two very different concepts. UX is referred to as all aspects of the end user’s interaction (behaviours, attitudes & emotions) with the company, its services and its products. Pretty much, does the experience you have on a company's website make you want to smash the keyboard or leave with a smile on your face? UI is the actual system, the design that translates user and business requirements into tangible information architecture and wireframe designs. Now that you know the difference… we, the content creators of today, can use UI to complement our business goals and provide the best UX! But only by following these tips...

1. You need to have a strong foundation

Started at the bottom, now we here… but seriously. We all know you can’t just jump to your goal, you must have the foundations flawless before creating meaningful and personal UXes. You need to ask yourself these questions first:

–  Beginning with the functional aspects: does the system actually work and is it useful?
–  Next: is it reliable? Is it available to the users?
–  Is it usable? Can it be used without difficulty?
–  Is it convenient and easy?

And then we can finally move to personalisation of the UX making it pleasurable, memorable and significant to the user. Everything takes time! No shortcuts here.

2. Users should be at the heart of UX...obviously

The trick to UX is in its name. It’s all about the users. While we're all different people with our own lives (hello, generational segmentation), most of our brains are wired in the same way. So by understanding human behaviour and thinking, content marketers can improve their products’ UX. The UX process is a human-centred design so it caters to the needs of, you know, humans. As content creators, we know that we must empathise with our users – step into their shoes. Then an analysis on the users’ needs are required in order to ideate a method to provide the most effective user experience. With any great idea a prototype needs to be made and then evaluated.
In this techy, digital world that we live in, we too are constantly trying to keep up with the latest trend… well UX needs to do this, too. Without doing so, your product’s UX will be out of date and not as functional it can be. And in the theme of rapid shifts in the digital environment, this process must be iterated… till the end of time.

3. Don’t skip the test phase

Yes, you may think this step is tedious and a time-waster, but it’s an absolute must. To have products or services that users actually want to use, it’s vital that you test them. From contextual meetings to interviews, workshops, surveys, diary studies, usability testing, mystery shopping/service safari and card sorting, the options for research methods are abundant, so no excuses here. However, to select one, it solely depends on the data you are collecting and the outcome you wish to achieve, so choose wisely.

4. Know why UX is important

Okay, I didn’t just write this article for fun, there is an actual reason… UX is actually beneficial to companies, duh! Effective user experience can generate better conversion rates, cross sales and customer retention. Like when you interact with a website that is super easy to understand and use, you’re obviously going to trust it more than another website. This then leads to more return visits and word-of-mouth referrals about how awesome your company’s product/website/etc is! So, the choice is easy. Invest time and effort in your product’s UX, and there will be rewards. Tempting, I know.

Don’t be one of those impossible-to-work-out-why-did-I-ever-come-here websites. Make your product, whether it be a piece of content or the platform it’s housed on, one to remember.

This article was written after an Edge Uni talk on User Experience.