Writing Content that is Compelling and Useful

On Radio Johnny we talk to interesting people in our field to get their thoughts and insights on the field. View all our shows.

Content Strategy

This series of articles explores content strategy and interaction design. Curated by Colleen Jones of Content Science, each article highlights a new voice, a new way of doing content strategy, or applying tried-and-true content principles to new situations.

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Today on Radio Johnny Jeff Parks talks with independent content and UX consultant, who will be presenting at the upcoming edUi Conference in Richmond, Stephanie Hay. Steph shares insights about writing content that is both compelling and useful by shifting our perspective to that of the people for whom we are trying to communicate. Sharing insights about user happiness and working towards are greater understanding of the emotional response of the user, organizations can start speaking to the values of their clients resulting in a better user experience.


“…people don’t try very hard to write content. They go to this formulaic approach of needing to fill in real estate that may have been ear marked by the designer, or constrained by the CMS of choice..there isn’t the kind of content that really speaks to a user that the user wants to read.”

“Users are now skeptical, and prone, to select whatever is at the top of a search result. Choosing who their friends recommend, that becomes and amazing opportunity to get your content front and centre. The way that you do that is by being different from the pack. In content, for example, maybe 5 or 10 years ago having a website was an asset. Today having a website is not an asset and neither is having a lot of content on your website if that content is not helpful or compelling.”

“The most important consideration from a UX perspective, I think, is about prioritizing user happiness…often UX folks like myself are so focused on the interaction and even getting user feedback, we inadvertently ignore a couple of things… for example the microcopy that encompasses an interaction…the second piece of this is the emotional response that the user can have, is often overlooked. “


* Follow Steph on Twitter
* Design for Emotion by Trevor van Gorp and Edie Adams
* Why Personas Are Critical for Content Strategy by Kris Mausser
* The Cast of Personas by Indi Young

Jeff Parks

Jeff is the co-founder of DIGIA UX Inc. and actively collaborates with industry professionals from around the world through his involvement with Boxes and Arrows and Johnny Holland. Jeff is also leading workshops on Information Architecture and User Experience Design over at Follow the UX Leader, in addition to volunteering his time as a Mentor and Member of the Board of Directors for the Information Architecture Institute.

One comment on this article

  1. Asrar on

    Excellent podcast! I totally agree with the points Steph pointed out, especially when she mentions how people use words like “utilize” to sound smarter or better.