On Web Content Strategy

Sep 12

This was originally part of an internal email string between teams at work, but I thought it would be relevant for others here.

Content doesn’t just get created in a vacuum. For it to be useful and a helper/catalyst for change, it needs underlying vision, structure and strategy. In other words, we need to be careful about throwing dozens of different, disparate ideas at the web (no matter how interesting they are by themselves), expecting them to be successful.

Everything we do on the web is a part of a whole, and if the whole doesn’t sing in harmony, that dissonance will confuse and turn off people.

If we were only presenting a small amount of content/information, we could just put it out there and let people make sense of it. But we’re not doing that anymore. We’re pushing an increasingly large amount of content out into the world for consumption/use, built on a growing existing pile of discoverable content.

We have to have some guardrails for it so it doesn’t get out of hand. We don’t want diminishing returns on new content because it’s too difficult to find or understand or sort through, or because there are literally too many choices being presented to people. Decision fatigue is real talk when it comes to the web.

We can be complex (we are) but we want to be clear in that complexity, and that will require design decisions that naturally push certain content types/sections off center stage for specific, strategic reasons.


  1. Steve Buell

    I read something very similar to that in 2001.
    It didn’t work as a strategy then, either.

  2. Steve,

    If a strategy has been tried and found wanting, it’s not necessarily the strategy that failed, but perhaps those attempting to (poorly) implement it.

    Besides, the web was a very different environment 11 years ago; have some faith it can work, or we’re all in for a very sub-standard interaction experience.

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