Using Content Frames in the Design Process



Content frames are a tool that can help
us make sure we're not waiting until the end of the design process to incorporate
the real content into our experience. There are 5 steps to follow when
creating a content frame: Start by stating the purpose of the page or user
flow. On a whiteboard draw a single column to represent each page that's as wide as a typical mobile device. Then write the name and the goal of the page
at the very top. Be clear about what the page is intended to do and what the
desired outcomes are. This will help you evaluate the most important content that
should be included on the page. The second step is to think through what
your users will need in the content itself. What will they want to know and what questions will they have that the
content should answer? Use any research findings you have, as well as artifacts
such as personas and journey maps, to help you answer these questions. The
third step is to collaborate with your team to come up with the real subject
matter for the page. Use the insights you uncovered during steps one and two to
compile a list of topics that the page should include. Each topic should address
a specific user need and answer a question they will have. The fourth step
is to use the list of topics that the team came up with to create the actual
content frame. Start with Post-it notes and decide which topics are the most
important. Place those at the top of the column and rank all of the other topics
from most important to least important. After that discuss the significance of
each topic to make sure that it's relevant and that it belongs on the page.
Once all of your topics are ranked create the real editorial, the high-level
design direction, and functional specifications for each area. Here's what
your final content frame should look like. The fifth and final step is to test
it using input from real users and stakeholders: ask people if they have
enough information to complete a task from reviewing the content that's in
your content frame. Use this feedback to validate that you've got the right
content in the right order, and make any
modifications as needed. Repeat this step until you find the best
hierarchy and level of detail. Refer back to your final content frame throughout
the rest of the design and the development process and your content
won't seem like the cumbersome afterthought that it once was.

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