Redesigning information-rich sites part 3: Restructure your content

  • By Kathy Wagner
  • |
  • Feb 25 2019
Categories: |Toolbox

Redesigning information-rich sites

In this series, you’ll learn 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.

This is step 3. Here’s an overview of the series:

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

Step 3: Restructure your content

The structure of your content refers to the rules around how it’s organized and how metadata is applied. It’s what connects the content to the technology and user needs.

At the most basic level, if you want people to find what they’re looking for by searching, you absolutely need to pay attention to structure and metadata. If you want to get fancy with your content, structure is how you’re able to provide personalization, dynamic and automated content displays, and multi-channel or omni-channel content delivery.

Here are three things you can do to begin restructuring your content:

1. Identify a suite of content types.

Content types share a common structure and purpose regardless of topic or audience. For example, a “news article” is a content type that communicates timely information in a relatively consistent way whether it’s telling people about latest industry trends or how your employees recently supported a community project. A “how-to” content type, on the other hand, has step-by-step instructions on how to perform a task or solve a problem, whether the topic at hand is replacing your showerhead, or logging into a new work system.

2. Create content models for each content type.

Content models simply take each of your content types, and break them down into smaller chunks of content, or building blocks, that are used to create that content type. So, a how-to content model might have building blocks like a page title, introductory or contextual text, procedural steps, and other resources.

3. Build a user-focused taxonomy.

A taxonomy establishes a controlled set of tags that are applied to content, which allows your technology to find and deliver content to the right place when a person searches for it, or a system calls it. Taxonomy is a type of metadata that helps people and technology narrow down the information based on criteria that is most relevant to them. So, if you go online looking for shoes, the taxonomy might help you find women’s shoes in red, size 8, with 4” heels.

 

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