One useful technique to inspire improvements to your content is to carry out a competitor analysis. This involves assessing how direct competitors communicate similar content including:
- tone and language
- key messages
- format preferences
- content types
- content structure (information architecture)
A competitor analysis can range from a full report on several sites or just a few annotated screenshots highlighting good and bad points. The extent of this depends on how much time and resource you have for your new website or redesign project, but it is always worthwhile to do some kind of analysis. One of the main benefits is that it will really help you to break free of the Imperial bubble and think about your content from a different perspective. To illustrate this, I have included a couple of examples of basic competitor analysis that I have done at the bottom of this post.
This technique is all about discovering who your audiences are and what they need so you can map this to the content on your website. Doing this is a really important when creating user-led content.
One great way to get started with this is to run a content discovery workshop.
Get your sticky notes ready! (more…)
From time to time I will highlight new websites or redesigns I have worked on. In my last post for example, I featured the recent redesign of the Graduation site. With these posts my aim is to illustrate some of the techniques used for planning and producing content and approaches to designing how this content is displayed.
Imperial students redesign
The subject of this project was slightly different as it was the redesign of a single, albeit important page – the main landing page for students. As the students section of the site receives over 900,000 visits a year, it was important to go through many of the same steps I would do for a whole site redesign. (more…)
I was approached by the graduation team back in February as they wanted to review and improve the Graduation website for the next Commemoration Day in October. (more…)
In my last post I talked about pair writing. This is a really great technique for creating effective content, but there is one potential challenge – it can be difficult to find a slot in the diary when you are both free, and even if you do, you’ve then got to find an available room. This is true of any collaborative working, but once again technology saves the day.
There are many different tools that you can use to collaborate on a writing project in real time, and in this post I will talk about some of the ones I have used over the last couple of years. I will also go through some of the pros and cons of each. This is not a comprehensive study of all the tools available; it’s based on my experiences, so I would encourage you to do some further research and try out the tools yourself. (more…)