Blogging before social media was like drinking with friends. If someone adjacent to your conversation said something interesting, you would pull up a chair and invite them in.
Starting with the content helps focus the message you’re delivering to your users. When you build the design out from there, you can more easily determine where the appropriate places are for each type of communication. The site map and hierarchy are born out of the real content that will exist in the final product. You end up with a more cohesive and clear experience.
Yet for each Radio Shack and Barnes and Noble fighting for its life, there are still those beloved corner stores and discount chains that manage to thrive. Many keep a close eye on the prices being charged by their digital competitors, and work to keep theirs from straying too much higher. Most learn to emphasize their advantage in immediacy. More than anything, these successful brick-and-mortar stores know to compete on experience.
Photo credit: Eva Prokop on Flickr
Don’t look at something you made and think “this is shit”, think “this is so much better than the shit I was making last year”.
When I set out to create that theme, I did so with the intent that the user would be able to install and begin writing as soon as possible with as few proverbial knobs to turn as possible. I made decisions on behalf of the customer in order to help their blogging experience, gave them just enough options to personalize the theme, and then shipped.
It’s a small detail, but it does a big thing. That little treatment, the photos, colors, big type, and pull quotes are all used to maintain a mood. They pop up at intervals to check in on the reader, and to keep the story moving. They function almost like the chorus of a song, maintaining a thread to a story, sometimes alluding to where you’ve been, where you’re going, or to punctuate a point in the journey.
Startups stress over hyper-targeted marketing, but once a user signs up, we treat them all the same. Two people using your product can still have very different needs, and your onboarding emails should reflect that.
Before starting with all the A/B testing stuff with content and segments think about rule number one: You’re talking to humans and those humans like to talk to other humans.
I see the developer doc space as one of the great opportunities before us, and one that the tech comm community can tackle. Imagine if technical writers could provide solutions for making API documentation much more usable? Imagine if we could leverage established techniques of our trade for getting people up and running quickly with developer tasks? Imagine if we had modern front-end platforms that made it easy to consume API and other developer information? Imagine if we had ways to collaborate with non-writers on content and still publish complex deliverables?
“It’s actually the engineering culture, and the way the organization is structured to appreciate and support design. Everybody there is thinking about UX and design, not just the designers. And that’s what makes everything about the product so much better . . . much more than any individual designer or design team.”