The perfect content structure
By Helena Wennergren
The perfect content structure - what is that? It should be when your users find what they are looking for and your business needs are met. It may very well be a struggle to get everyone internally to agree - here are our experiences on the way to to create the perfect structure.
We recently discussed how to manage the content structure on a corporate website when new content constantly is being added. This article focuses on what to do when it is too late to fix it - when it is time to start over.
When is it time to make an overhaul of your content structure?
When you realise that your content structure has too many pages on all levels, when the website analytics show that important pages aren't visited at all, when you get spontaneous comments on improvements from visitors or when your own colleagues don't find their way around on the website - that's when it is about time to do something about it. Start from scratch.
There can also be other factors that make it essential to rework your content structure, for example when your business has changed due to a larger acquisition or divestment, or when your business strategy changes.
What to do
A website needs to meet the users' expectations and needs, but it is also an important tool for the company to convey their story and share information. These two aspects need to be taken into consideration when creating a content structure. A content structure is about prioritising information, and there are probably a number of internal stakeholders that have different views and needs. As hard as it might sound to some, our advice is to involve all stakeholders that are responsible for different parts of the content. It is essential to have a shared view of the purpose, what external and internal needs are at hand and that those are prioritised and agreed on, together.
At Comprend, we help companies both when doing a total overhaul of the website including design and rebuild, and when it is "just" the content structure that needs to be updated. There are a couple of processes and tools that we find useful in both cases, that we apply when working together with companies. Let's have a look at them.
A shared view through an impact map
When starting over, it is good to go back to the purpose of the website. Who is the website for? Who are the users? What do they do? What do you want to achieve? We use the method of "impact mapping" to establish this. In an impact map, you define the purpose, your user groups, how to solve their needs and most importantly: you prioritise the user groups together.
We help to not get stuck with standard answers and phrases, and make sure that everyone involved understands and agrees. This is where it is really great to have an external party involved who can ask those simple, but sometimes uncomfortable questions. We use research such as website analytics to really understand your users, and list their needs based on that. We can also conduct a website survey to gather insights from real user, and bring that into the impact mapping work.