Content Usability Through Organization Schemes

January 19, 2015In Usability3 Minutes

As the importance of content is stressed more and more, strategizing existing and new text in a way that makes sense to users while logically conveying information has become the main goal of brands who are serious about their vision. Let’s analyze the types of schemes and methods that can be used in true content optimization:

Exact schemes divide provided content into separate, distinct sections – once those systems are in place, it is relatively easy for information architects to create, reshape and work with the content (IA discusses where users are in their discovery process, what information they’ve found so far, what are their available options, and the future/consequences/what to expect based on each direction; it is detailed in the previous two blog posts).

The exact category encompasses a few concentrated segments, such as alphabetical, chronological and geographical. Alphabetical schemes are exactly what they sound like – categorizing content based on the letter that each piece is connected to in order. This index can be a secondary means of finding organized content. Additionally, chronological schemes involve the organization of content by date, determining when the analyzed subject took place; geographical schemes categorize content based on place, confined within borders and detailed specifications (there are even times when those borders are debated!).

These organization schemes work best as a supplement to an existing system. They work optimally in tandem with subjective schemes.

Subjective schemes approach content by categorizing it, so it is specified to an organization or field. They have proven to be more useful than exact themes (though the design process can be more difficult). The aforementioned information architects consider the best way to display the content, utilizing the finest combination of schemes to create the perfect, unique user experience.

Developing an understanding can draw connections and create neural pathways for a complete type of content organization and content usability. For example, task schemes structure the content by considering the needs, actions, or specific questions raised by users who are working with that material. Audience schemes similarly organize content material while keeping in mind various segments of users – each audience can determine where they belong and navigate between schemes (though this requires more work on the back end).

Regarding deciding which schemes to implement, organizing everything in independent segments keeps everything clean and easily usable for the intended audience. Mixing different schemes into hybrids can overcomplicate the process and confuse users – the thing a brand wants to avoid. Using complicated effects within an interface can seem like a good idea, an attempt to impress and intrigue through complexity. While this may be considered when there is disagreement within the final decision (when there is dissonance about which direction to choose), brands are encouraged to remain consistent and approach their schemes independently.

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