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A complete guide to architecting your content

The Goal and How to Achieve It

Effective content architecture encompass three strategies:


quality content


for the end user

to improve productivity

Developing Quality Content

Content is communication. If we develop, design, and manage it correctly, users (the masses) can benefit greatly. This is accomplished by focusing on creating, organizing, structuring, and labeling content in an effective and sustainable way. We do this with these main goals in mind:

  • Improve communication.
  • Drive desirable outcomes.
  • Minimize confusion.
  • Create better UX.
Many people never learn how to appropriately say what they mean and mean what they say.

According to a Psychology Today article, 82% of the population has trouble. So, it's no surprise that most people have trouble communicating. This “trouble” ultimately translates to poorly written and ineffective content.


Three important questions to always consider when developing quality content:

Who is the content for?
How do you want them to respond?
How will your audience use the content?

Bad content does not deliver a positive user experience. If the reader cannot see him or herself in the content, nothing may happen. However, effectively written and structured content creates good (even great) user experiences. Good content is reader-focused and starts with your audience in mind.

To create the best possible user experience, Contentiful integrates these aspects:

  • Focus on the end user
  • Readability and clarity via plain language
  • Organization and design planned for the end user
  • Optimized user conversion through clear wording, a prominent call-to-action (CTA), and a value proposition

Designing for the End User

A large part of design is organization, including grouping and sorting. Eric Reiss, an expert in information architecture, advises:

“Gather things in convenient categories, call them something recognizable, and put things where they can be found.”

These guidelines make all sorts of information easy to find and understand. Reiss uses a grocery store as an example. In the produce aisle, tomatoes aren’t mixed with zucchini; they are easy to find in separate bins.

The same is true for organizing content.

Design also focuses on CTAs. To add interest and make information easier to understand and use, pay attention to text arrangement, tables, charts, infographics, and other elements and principles of design.

Managing to Improve Productivity

Quality content and smart design help businesses create and share information with clients, employees, and other relevant parties… for the moment. Sadly, some companies commit to these first steps only to find themselves back where they started after a year or two. Why is that?

Without proper management, content that starts out on the right foot quickly becomes stale. Companies create and design new content without knowing how efficient it is, without a bird’s-eye-view of operations to steer the pruning and direction of new content.

The management part of content architecture is all about organizing in effective and sustainable ways.

Management becomes a job of putting out fires instead of forging ahead and meeting goals. This is another time-waster.

Contentiful understands that content management is the key to maintaining and improving businesses’ productivity.

Typical content management goals include:

  • Organizing and labeling structures and content
  • Creating, reviewing, and updating style guides, SOPs, naming conventions, and file structure
  • Streamlining file access, ensuring easy sharing, and eliminating excess duplication and bulky emails
  • Helping teams adopt easy-to-use and efficient tools and avoid falling back on old, wasteful ways
  • Analyzing efficacy of various types of content and design

Case Study: The $300M Button

The analysis piece of content management can be tied to revenue.

User interface engineer Jared Spool recounts increasing revenue for an online retailer simply by eliminating a button.

He found that site users—first timers and repeat customers—had trouble with the “Register” button they encountered before getting to their shopping cart. He replaced “Register” with “Continue” and a note that they could register later if they wanted to.

Customers felt more at ease and revenues soared by $300 million dollars within the first year!

A common struggle is getting employees to change the way they do things. There’s a learning curve with every change. Employees often find new methods take more time at first. At that point, it is natural to fall back on old, comfortable ways of doing things. This, of course, wastes money.