An Event Apart: The Content Performance Quotient
At An Event Apart Chicago 2018, Jeremy Zeldman – founder of A List Apart Magazine – gave the keynote presentation in which he suggested we need to take a scalpel to our content, and that “we need design that is faster and design that is slower”. Here are my notes and to-dos.
- On some websites we want engagement however on others we want people to achieve a goal as efficiently as possible.
- We need design that is “faster” (for getting things done) and design that is “slower” (for comprehension, absorption).
- On sites that need to be fast, increased time spent may actually be an indicator of frustration. Instead we want to to test: how quickly can they love us and leave us?
- CPQ measures Speed of Usefulness. Iterate toward the shortest distance between arriving with a problem and finding the solution.
- Fred Gates prompted the CPQ idea with his redesign of https://www.classroominc.org/ which made sure everything important was on the homepage.
- Seek the most focused, frictionless customer experience possible.
- Treat our content like removing friction when testing e-commerce transactions. Apply a scalpel approach and relentlessly prune.
- A piece of content must achieve a goal for either a user or a stakeholder. When producing content we should ask “Why are we doing this?”
- Fight for what the customer wants. It’s harder but will be better all-round in the end.
- Avoid pretty garbage: sites that look good but which are not serving users.
- FAQ sections are an example of “too much content”.
- If you don’t need it on mobile, you don’t need it on desktop either.
- Start with the most important interactions and build out from there.
- For “slow” design: we can use i) big type, which encourages “sit back and read” like a book; ii) more hierarchy and whitespace; and iii) Art Direction, for example each article (each page?) having a different experience.
My next actions
- Consider "is this a fast site or is this a slow site"?
- On “getting things done” sites, reference user and stakeholder goals and get tough on ensuring that any content, sections etc only make the cut if they serve one of those goals.
training, roadtrips, UX, content