Redesigning information-rich sites part 1: Reduce your content

  • By Kathy Wagner
  • |
  • Feb 11 2019
Categories: |Toolbox

Redesigning information-rich sites

In this series, we’re looking at the most important steps you can take to make sure that you’re successful when redesigning an information-rich site—one that has hundreds, thousands, or even tens of thousands of pages of content.

Here’s an overview of what we’ll be covering over the coming weeks:

Step 1: Reduce your content
Step 2: Reorganize your content
Step 3: Restructure your content
Step 4: Rewrite your content

Step 1: Reduce your content

The more content you have, the harder it is for people to find what they’re looking for and the more resources it takes for you to make sure everything stays up to date. So, step one is to get rid of any content that’s not essential. There’s probably a lot of it.

Here are three questions you can ask yourself to help determine if the content is truly necessary:

1. Does it support both your organizational goals and your known audience’s needs?

If it doesn’t, get rid of it. One of the winners in the Norman Nielsen’s 2018 Top 10 Best Intranets reduced their content from more than 27,000 pages to only 120 pages of useful content. It is possible!

2. Is it required content? And is it actually required to be on the site that you’re redesigning?

Many private and public corporations have regulations and requirements around making content available to the public. This content can be substantial but is rarely, if ever, accessed. You can move this content to an archive that is still accessible when needed but doesn’t clutter up the site you’re redesigning.

3. Is every piece of content on the page absolutely necessary?

Reducing content is not just about having fewer pages, but also about having less content on the page. Does every paragraph, sentence, and word, actually help your audience to find, understand, or act on information they need? If not, get rid of it.

Of course, simply asking these questions won’t make your content disappear. But if you keep these questions in mind, you’re more likely to reduce your content substantially. And that’s the first step towards a successful redesign.

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