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Content Reviews

12th October, 2022

Updated: 12th October, 2022

    Content Analysis: A Practical Approach

    A common method of analyzing content uses the ROT (Redundant, Outdated, Trivial) set of heuristics. While it tells you what content is stale or woefully unimportant, it does not tell you what content is mediocre, inappropriate, inconsistent, or off brand.

    Fred Leise offers the following helpful heuristics [4], with a focus on information architecture:

    • collocation
    • differentiation
    • completeness
    • information scent
    • bounded horizons
    • accessibility
    • multiple access paths
    • appropriate structure
    • consistency
    • audience relevance
    • currency

    In a recent UXmatters column, “Toward Content Quality,” I shared some basic characteristics of content quality, with an eye toward turning them into heuristics: [5]

    • usefulness and relevance
    • clarity and accuracy
    • completeness
    • influence and engagement
    • voice and style
    • usability and findability

    Other important, basic characteristics include some of those noted in the content inventory essays I mentioned earlier:

    • type
    • format—for example, text, PDF, or image
    • intended audience
    • business or user priorities

    There are three main types of audits you can perform:

    • Full content inventory: A complete listing of every content item on the site. This may include all pages as well as all assets (such as downloadable files and videos).
    • Partial content inventory: A listing of a subset of the site’s content. A partial inventory may include, for example, the top few levels of a hierarchical site or the past six months of articles. All sections of the site will be covered.
    • Content sample: A less detailed collection of example content from the site.

    I recommend collecting the following information for every page:

    • Navigation title: The name of the main navigation link to the content (e.g. the link title in the main navigation)
    • Page name: The displayed page title
    • URL: You may want to display the URL or just link from the page name
    • Comments: Notes and things for you to remember
    • Content hierarchy: Some way of showing the basic relationship of the content items

    You may also like to add information about:

    • Content Type: Is this a basic page, publication, news story, article, technique, FAQ, or something else?
    • Basic content description: A brief reminder about what’s on the page
    • Topic, tags or category: Meta data for products, articles, news, blog posts
    • Author: Who wrote this content?
    • Owner: Who is responsible for the content?
    • Date last updated: When was the content last updated?
    • Attached files: How many files are attached, and what type of files are they?
    • Related: What information is linked from sidebars or Related Links boxes on this page?
    • Availability: Is the content available to desktop, mobile and/or app users? Is the content syndicated to other sites?
    • A numbering system: An index to help you when referring to each content item.


    Created on: 12th October, 2022

    Last updated: 12th October, 2022

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