Drilling Into the Importance of Client Education for UX and Content

Echidnas doing user experience research card sort

Recently, I was under the lights at my dentist’s office. Maybe it was the hypnotic hum of the drill, maybe it was the influence of freezing, but our conversation got deep (as much as one can get deep in a two-way conversation where one participant can’t form consonants). And ultimately, we talked about, with all the changes in how business is being delivered, how do you better ensure success.

Building websites and building crowns may not seem to be the most intuitive pairing, but the foundation of the process is the same. 

“The people who have the best outcomes are the ones with whom we do the best teaching,” my dentist said. “Conversely, the ones who do the worst are the ones who simply say, ‘Just do whatever, doc.’”

His reference was in relation to a new technology that the office had implemented, which allowed for a visual representation of a patient’s teeth that allows customers to see where they may have problem areas and how they can be mitigated. 

Realistically, we can’t look into our own mouths and see the problems. And that extends to creating websites and digital solutions -- clients often can’t effectively look internally to see the problems and how they can be rectified.

In some discovery/user experience engagements that we’ve had, we’ve run through a fairly comprehensive overview of information architecture and how people actually access your content. It’s a look at the importance of developing an IA structure that prioritizes the right audience and findability of content. I’ve also run through a “Writing for the Web” seminar in varying degrees of depth -- from a one-hour high-level overview to a two-day workshop. 

And I think it’s fair to say that Dr. Spagnuolo is right.

Those who “get” the value of pre-work, user research, validation testing, and analytics and data-driven decisions tend to have better appreciation for the project scope, understand why decisions are made, understand priority of audiences and goals, and get what the purpose of the tool is. 

Ultimately, you want to make sure that the client doesn’t bite off what they can' chew. If they understand the whys of project decisions, then the hows make more sense.

Our Writing for the Web seminar spends a fair bit of time in the past. We look at the history of web writing and SEO, and we look at the importance of accessibility and responsive design. We look at how people have interacted with content in the past and how they’re interacting with content today. The reason we spend this much time on the past is that this historical context is integral to understanding why content is structured today. Understanding how search algorithms have been impacted by black hat SEO ensures that we don’t repeat those errors (either intentionally or unintentionally) out of ignorance today; understanding how users get to content ensures that we can craft content that aligns with their needs, their language, and their expectations. 

Ultimately, the more we understand our customers, their needs, and deliver value that aligns with their desires, the better the experience is for them.

For dental patients, understanding why a procedure needs to be done, what challenges it will fix, and how it will impact their lives long-term in a visual manner is empowering to the patient and ensures that they buy-in on the procedure. 

That’s what we try to do through our robust discovery and user experience process -- help our clients understand that value of the work they are receiving, understand what actual challenges exist and how a solution will rectify them, and how it will support long-term alignment with their primary and ancillary customers. 

Drilling down into the importance of user experience research and effective content strategies that supports SEO and accessibility can help clients understand the root of the issues they're facing -- and what solutions can solve the problem. Solid knowledge ensures that you’re not simply putting a veneer over an issue, but actually building a solution that strengthens your business from within. It’s something to chew on when considering your next project.

And if you’re interested in learning more about Echidna’s UX practices or to talk about booking a Writing for the Web seminar, please feel free to reach out to us.




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