Maintaining a focus on the look and feel of content

The creation, publishing and ongoing governance of content is an extremely important component of user experience (UX) design. Not only from an editorial standpoint but also from a visual and interaction design standpoint. Often, editorial dominates the governance agenda once content has been created and published. The governance of the look and feel of that content is, however, equally important.

We find customers show great care and interest in typography in the early stages of designing and developing an App. There’s much focus on ensuring the font type, style and size is ideal, making content stand out and easily digestable. However, once created and published, we find the design rigours originally applied to typography are often relaxed. New styling appears including indiscrimanate bolding and italicizing and even changes to font type, size and colour. These seemingly harmless changes can have dramatic consequences on the visual design of an App, often negative. Good visual design, typography included, should enhance the user experience not take away from it.

To illustrate, consider an App that contains a list of items. Doesn’t matter what items, could be recipes, articles, videos, concerts, etc. Scrolling through those lists, the eye becomes attuned to the visual design of individual elements such as thumbnails, bolded names, etc. Bold text suddenly appearing in summary descriptions might conflict with bold text being used for the name. The task of finding an item is then interrupted as the scrolling slows or outright stops to allow the brain to process the new pattern established and whether an item was inadvertently missed. Time on task increases as does the level of frustration.

Even more disruptive is when markup creeps into content. Despite the best intentions for including markup in content, very little consideration is given to the impact that might have on the user experience. Swinging a user out of the App (assuming it’s a native App) into the browser is not only disruptive but probably not the best for your marketing efforts in terms of people associating with your App as opposed to the browser.

All told, apply the same focus and care to typography when it comes to governing content as you did when first creating and publishing that content.

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