Enhancing Online User Experience with Rich Content & Beautiful Design

Accessing information is easier than ever, which makes our job a little harder.  The question becomes, how do we combine beautiful design with rich content and make it stick?

Adapt. This is one of the most important words to remember if you work at a creative agency. The design landscape is changing due to how users absorb and retain content. Over the past year, this has dramatically changed how we as designers, developers, marketers and copywriters must create, produce and deliver branded messages.

Creative agencies are forced to keep up with a dynamic online atmosphere, waiting for the next update from Google whose parameters and penalties are no longer just affecting copywriters. We know desktop browsing is transitioning more and more towards mobile and tablet viewing, but how creative and digital agencies plan on accommodating for this change requires more than a process and procedure redesign.

NPR created its COPE strategy in 2009, Create Once, Publish Everywhere. NPR’s strategy is focused on building content that is transferrable across all mediums with one single application using API function. We believe it holds great value in how we as a team work from a developer’s standpoint to accommodate our designers’ vision to better support the best content strategy for our clients. As we create content and deliver it to users, the question becomes how do we effectively deliver it and keep it circulating? The answer is simple, but execution has proved more challenging than we originally imagined. Using what we understand about the Internet’s short lifespan, we know change is underway. Tracking those changes will keep creative teams ahead of the curve for the future development of online user interaction.

As users are accessing information on multiple platforms, apps, publications and websites it’s our job to organize the information fusing the purpose of design with a strategic content approach at the forefront. Design firms are catching up on the importance of visual aesthetics fused with content mapping for a cohesive design top to bottom. The output of great design and increased SEO results relies on quality content published in the right places. Design is meant for the user, and only the user. Collaborating with copywriters to show them how HTML and XML markup can greatly affect the way content is written, presented and published.

As the online landscape has grown in size and value, creative agencies no longer rely on a single pairing of the traditional art-copy duo. James Cooper, head of creative at Betaworks agrees, “The best creative—and teams—are actually businessmen. The “hacker, hipster, hustler” make-up is a bit of cliché, but clichés exist for a reason.” Without a copywriter the designer can’t mockup a design with marketing in mind, and beginning to develop a website requires a strategy. Winston Binch, chief digital officer at Deutsch LA notes on his firm’s process, “We believe in specialists, no one is an expert in everything.” At the heart of this jumbled mess of moving parts is collaboration. Build a team of creative thinkers whose ability to generate ideas, is just as important as their ability to produce and distribute those ideas across a vast network of media.