It’s very rare, these days, that I go though my RSS feeds without coming across an article relating to content. It’s a sign of how much further to the forefront content has become in the digital landscape.
So, how intertwined is content with the user experience? It is completely wrapped up in it, In my opinion. However, in many organisations the content team is a different team to the UX and Design teams, oftentimes with different priorities.
Before I go any further, I had better explain what I mean by the user experience trinity! I believe that the user’s experience is made up of 3 primary elements: UX, Design and UI (or front-end/client-side) Development.
What we would see as the role undertaken by a user experience (UX/IA/UEA.. whatever) professional. The flow and features of a site. How the pages hang together and the architecture of each individual page. Drawing on usability and ethnographic research to craft a site/application/product that meets the needs to the user and the needs of the business.
The visual and aesthetics of a site. Does the visual style reflect the brand? Does is match the user’s, and the market’s, perception of the brand and its values? Is the visual tone of voice meeting the needs of the site? Does each page have a proper design balance? Are the appropriate visual treatments being given to the important areas on a page?
This is physical manifestation of the experience. How does the site feel? What happens when a button is clicked? How quickly do overlays render? This is all about interaction design and the mechanics of the experience – the tactical nature of the interface (even more important in this world of touch based technology).
It’s at the intersection of all three of these ( ‘UX ∩ Design ∩ UI Dev’ if I remember my set theory correctly!) that I believe we find the sweet spot of the user experience.
It’s only when all three disciplines work together, each bringing their distinct point of view to the table, that the best experiences are crafted.
So, that’s my UX trinity. But of late I’m wondering if we need a 4th set?