IXD301 Week 1- Content Design and Portfolio Website

Content Design

This week we covered the importance of content design and how it is displayed e.g. an app design might work better as a video rather than an image as this will better display how the app works. Three important components of content design were also introduced these were:

  • push vs pull content
  • trust
  • ease of use

These areas are covered in Sarah Richards’ Content Design. 


Cover of Content Design by Sarah Richards

Push vs Pull Content

Richards describes the importance of the above-listed components when it comes to content design succinctly and using some examples. Push content is described as content that you as the content producer or organisational body want to push out at people e.g. like a poster someone see’s at a bus stop. They are not looking for this content it just happens to be in front of them. While pull content is content that has been tailored for the audience and pulls them in e.g. a person that is looking for information on a specific topic will search through search engines, websites and even social media platforms to find a relevant article or website.

As a content designer, it is important to be able to turn push information “what you want to say” into pull content “what your audience wants to read”.


Trust can be established in a number of ways and while gaining trust through reputation, track record and through digital marketing are all great approaches more immediate actions can also be taken. These are:

  • design- good design can demonstrate a level of professionalism and avoids websites appearing as scams.
  • brand awareness- ensure a clear and distinctive brand entity that sets you apart from competitors and matches the services/products provided.
  • content quality- make sure information provided is correct, consistent and doesn’t have any obvious mistakes like spelling errors.

Ease of Use

Richards demonstrates the importance of ease of use through a very informative example. The UK driving test could be booked online through the official government website most cheaply however this booking service was awful leading most people to go through other providers not realising that the government site was cheaper. In some instances even when people knew the government site was cheaper they still opted to use other providers in order to avoid the awkward government site. This example demonstrates the importance of ease of use.

Therefore it is important when designing content to focus on the audience’s needs e.g. can your audience find you or is it easier to get what you’re providing from somewhere else.


Richards also outlines the science of reading and how it is important to consider fixation, saccades, high-frequency words and line length and sentence case to help with your audience’s reading speed and therefore their reading experience. When designing content it’s always good to consider the reader and to work their way rather than your own.

One of the chapters I found most helpful in Content Design was on content discovery and research. As I am not currently working as part of a team I was drawn to the information provided on how to best conduct your own research on how to write content for your audience. Three important area’s to understand are outlined:

  • who your audience are
  • what they want from you
  • how to speak to them

It was at this point that I was introduced to google trends, a tool I intend to use when attempting g to produce more targeted content for my portfolio website. Once on-trend words have been identified and incorporated into a website there are a variety of analytic methods that can be used to evaluate the effectiveness of a webpage.

Another way to find words used by your target audience is to look at forums and identify what vocabulary they are using. This will also highlight what your audience wants to know about a given topic and how emotive the subject is. This will provide a way of prioritising content, what words to use and what style/ tone to write in. From here I can then generate user stories/ user jobs depending on the topic in order to ensure that once the target audience finds my website they are getting the content they are actually looking for.

UX Portfolio

UX Portfolio

In the video guide on creating UX Portfolio’s found on the Nielson Norman group and number of areas of focus were highlighted. The overarching approach advised was to take a user-centred approach to the site i.e designing a site to meet the needs of a hiring manager. In order to do this, I first must establish what the hiring manager needs to know about me and my work. I, therefore, need to bear this in mind when selecting projects and research deliverables.

For projects, I should consider including class and group projects focusing on my research process, learning and how I have worked with others. I should also try to highlight areas where I have incorporated best practices into my existing work e.g. where have I included user-centred initiative in my work. I should also consider adding side projects or volunteer projects to my portfolio.

When considering deliverables I should always try to demonstrate deliverables directly from my research e.g. show excerpts from study plans, include tasks carried out by testing participants as well as sketched early concepts and wireframes. Strong portfolios tell a story therefore I should try to show deliverables that summarise my research findings. Presentation excerpts and user quotes are also very helpful in supporting the story being told.

Creating a UX Design Portfolio Case Study

Creating a UX Design Portfolio Case Study

Creating a UX Design Portfolio Case Study was another very helpful video I found on the Nielson Norman Group website including seven helpful considerations to include when creating a case study for a portfolio website.  The seven steps to laying out a case study:

  1. Talk about the problem I have to solve and come up with a hypothesis
  2. Talk about my role and how I collaborated with others
  3. How I came to my proposed solution (potentially include pictures here and explain how I came to the decision that this would be the best solution for my users )
  4. How my solution solved the problem (what can my users do now that they couldn’t do before/how does the solution change their daily life)
  5. Challenges faced e.g. include additional design concepts I came up with, sketched journey maps, photo’s from workshops, usability testing etc. (This is showing the process and it’s what potential employers want to see!)
  6. How the project affected users and the business. Was there an increase in user satisfaction/ adoption/ engagement? Use numbers! (While I don’t have the analytics to include this in my case studies right now this is definitely something I should include in my portfolio site as I progress in my career)
  7. Talk about what I have learned or what the team learned about projects included and how to work on them in the future.

Once I have finished my case study I should always seek feedback from those who view my portfolio. This will help to catch spelling and grammar errors, confusion about content and the overall usability of my chosen format.

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