Web design means different things to different people.
Highly Digital is a digital agency. We have a lot of experience in traditional Comms and PR and over the last ten years have developed excellent experience within digital marketing. We’re also experienced IT project managers.
We understand people. We understand what their needs are and what content to produce for which channel. We understand that you can’t just publish a webpage. It needs to have purpose. It needs to serve an audience.
Today we are more likely to publish multiple versions of ‘the same content’ to see which performs best. We have to justify any content we publish. We’re constantly evaluating, we’re always learning and looking for ways to iterate. Your web design should be fluid and evolve with your needs.
We want to know what content works best for which users. In other words, what makes people take action.
We believe great web design is more than making a website look pretty. We take web design a step further by applying Content Design.
"If you approach a new piece of web content with ‘how shall I write this?’, that’s writing or editorial. If you approach it from ‘how am I going to get this across to the audience in the best way possible?’, that’s content design."
Source: Content Design vs Editorial
"Good content design allows people to do or find out what they need to from government simply and quickly using the most appropriate content format available. It is based on research into GOV.UK user behaviour, analytics and feedback."
Source: What is content design.
When we sit down to create content, we don’t immediately think about words. Content is not just words.
This makes our content planning meetings…somewhat different to normal meetings.
For example: let’s say I have a public sector client who wants to publish and promote a consultation document.
“We need you to raise awareness of this new consultation”.
Let’s skip ahead and ignore the ‘who, what, why and where’ part of our meeting, and concentrate on the content we can produce.
I know what you’re thinking, there’s loads of words in a consultation. Some of them are really long, and I’m guessing that not many people know what they mean. So creating content for their target audience is already challenging.
This is where content design really helps. We will create content that meets a user need. Not a user want. Sometimes users don’t know what they want.
For web design, we like to create clear content that makes it easier to get to the task. Good web design should make the experience more efficient. In this respect consuming content is more to do with time than reading ability.
The content design process can be applied to other channels. Find out how it can help with your content marketing.
When you take a content design approach, you start to understand that your content is valuable. You own your website and your social profiles, so why not make them the best they can be?
At Highly Digital we are entirely focused on the end user. That means we are listening to what they are saying about the products and services we are working with.
By listening to your customers, you can determine their attitude towards you. This could be a post on social media or feedback you have received on another channel. Wouldn’t you like to know what a person really thinks about your service? This is called Sentiment Analysis. With Sentiment Analysis you can determine whether the underlying sentiment is positive, negative or neutral. You can then take this feedback and use it to improve your service.
Once you receive feedback on a piece of content, we can use that to iterate and to hopefully improve the content.
Semantic Analysis can let you down on context, especially around public services. Quite often people don’t know who is responsible for a public service. Or they just have a moan without directing their comment to you.
Take ‘Stormont’. This is a word that is wrongly used by everyone, including politicians and the media. Yet it really doesn’t mean anything. Applying Sentiment Analysis to ‘Stormont’ without context would not provide you with a true picture.
Context is an interesting concept in web design. When you consider context you also have to consider user intent.
Looking at those questions you’ll start to understand how easy it is to think about your user and to create content that specifically addresses their needs.
At Highly Digital we track if the user need is met. We do this by creating content that answers a question e.g. what is local SEO and how can I make it work for me? We want to know that our content is useful. We want to know what, if any, actions people have taken when they visit our website. We also track downloads and clicks. We even know how many people have read this far. (spooky) We do all of this anonymously. We do this so we can make our service better. We do it so we can gain a better understanding of our users.
Ultimately we do it to make our Agency better.
The next time you are considering making changes or improvements to your website, please consider these points. And remember that Highly Digital can help you reach your goals 🙂
The social web is going to continue to disrupt businesses as customers look for new ways to engage. In some respects, the social web is the new normal.