Content Strategy for Wireframes – Do You Build A Web Without Words?

As UX researchers and designers we need to understand the complexities of the human mind to represent our users in usable designs that will fulfil both user and business goals.

Empty BoxesIn the last few years I have been part of big implementation projects. Developers, UX designers, business analysts and product managers often forget that they are building solutions for people. People like you and me, who are looking for services, products, images, articles, reviews… yes, people who are looking for CONTENT.

So, it’s really surprising to see (and it’s actually quite common) that UX designers tend to think they have nothing to do with the content that will be on the UI they’re designing. So they end up creating boxes and lines, and they forget about the importance of content to create context of use.

Content – a fundamental part of the user experience

It doesn’t mean that you need to write all the copy of the screens you’re wireframing. But you do need to make it real for the users by thinking about the type, length and detail of the content users will expect to find on the screens.

Call To Actions (CTAs)

Call to actions are not just about the design of the buttons you’ll use to prompt the user to click. The actual copy on the CTAs has a fundamental impact on the user experience. For example “Buy it now” or “Get a quote” have two completely different intentions. Try to build prototypes with different CTAs and see which one is more effective for the purpose of the action.

IA labelling

We use labels to represent larger portions of information so the user can decide whether to click through or read on and get to another section. So you need to communicate effectively to your users with easy-to-understand, short and snappy labels. Use language that your users will understand and avoid using internal terms. Make sure you communicate what you want during user testing.

Icons, text or images

shareYou might think it is the responsibility of the creative designer to find the right imagery for the screens you’re wire framing. Well, you’re probably right, but it’s also the responsibility of the UX designer to decide the type of content that will be used for the user interactions.

Do you use a widely-known share icon or do you use the word “share”? Think about those things when creating your wireframes and make those decisions before you send it to the creatives.

Copy structure and length

Lines of ‘Lorem Ipsum’ with not a specific structure don’t help that much. Clearly identify the hierarchy of your UI. What are your primary and secondary sections and headings (using different font sizes on wireframes) and what is the rough amount of characters you can fit.

So, make sure you design strong wireframes, with contextual content, detailed annotations with correct hierarchy and structure. These will help creative designers and developers understand and build the experience you want to deliver for your users. So get it right from the beginning.

Images courtesy z287marc dAKirby309 jjpacres

One thought on “Content Strategy for Wireframes – Do You Build A Web Without Words?”

  1. Mia O'Donoghue says:

    A great rally cry for the role of content designers, we aren’t simply your copyeditors. Thank you.

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