In this video, we’re going to take what we’ve discussed with Rebecca and her team and we're going to take what we’ve talked about regarding content strategy. And we’ll develop a content strategy for Hayes Valley Interior Design. We’ll do this in two sections, we’ll start with our user story. Who’s coming to the site, and then we’ll build out an information architecture. This is organizing what content will include, and what we won’t include on the site. Let’s start with user story, and we’ll use the same model we covered earlier. Three parts, as a person I want to learn or do something so that I can achieve a specific goal. The user has an intention and our content strategy is all about helping them overcome obstacles on their way to achieving that intention.
So, who is coming to Hayes Valley Interior Design’s website, and really since the site is a digital representation of the business itself, the question is really who is coming to Hayes Valley Interior Design period. Actually, question mark, because we’re looking for an answer. And this first part is essentially defining our target personas for the entire business, forget the site for a moment. Remember, the site after all is a virtual representation of the business. Now, for the first one. We can put homeowners, but sometimes we can have multiple personas. We know from talking to Rebecca that they work with residential clients, but she mentioned two big categories. She mentioned renovations, and new home construction. So, let’s explore both paths and create user stories for each. Why are we doing that? Because, by creating unique stories for each persona, each kind of client or customer, we can look for overlaps, and we can look for distinctions. So, two personas, how about the next part. What do renovators, homeowners who are coming to the business for a renovation project, what are they looking to learn or do? We have a bunch of options here. What’s the motivation for our client’s clients to explore this business. One option is to learn about the process; they’re renovating their space and they want guidance. They want a professional, and they want to know what’s involved. Another thing they might want to learn about is price. Maybe they’ve already gotten quotes from other designers, and they’re looking for a specific price range. A third option is they're just looking for a great interior designer, and they want to validate that this is a great interior design firm. How do they do that? This goes back to trust and authority. And those things can be established in a number of ways. If they’re looking for a great interior designer, sometimes the best way to do that is to get out of the way and show great interior design. That’s it. Design done. End of content strategy session.
Stacy says no. Okay. The problem with this, and she’s right by the way, the problem with this is no one knows what they do. Maybe they’re an interior designer, but by the looks of it they could be a furniture maker, or a really good photographer. We’ll get more into the how in just a moment. But to focus this, we have three options on the table. And there are others too, but we’ll focus on just these three thoughts. Thoughts that a homeowner whose renovating their house might have. And they’re all valid, but the one we’re going to focus on in our content, this is the primary focus, is the design itself. We’ll do more than a picture. The reason we want to focus on the design is because it’s central to the other options too. Nobody’s going to care about the process, or the price if they’re not inspired by great interior design work. We can still add content about price and process, but focusing on the work they do to build that trust and authority, that’s the way to make it happen.
If that’s the second part, what about that final intention? For Hayes Valley Interior Design, what are people looking to achieve? People could be looking for their own inspiration. Seriously, this is often the most common reason people visit interior design sites. They want to be inspired. A lot of times, they’re browsing for inspiration, maybe a home project they’re doing themselves, but we have to achieve a balance that works for the homeowner and the business. And the business might not see direct value from people visiting the site to look at pictures of interior design work. So, a more business appropriate goal might be this: the homeowner whose renovating their space wants to see beautiful interior design work so they can pick this interior designer with confidence. That’s sums up what they’re looking to achieve. And it can help inform our process as we develop this user story into an actual site. Let’s look at the other one. Homeowners building a new home. Again, we’re looking for overlaps and distinctions. And we’re doing this to discover whether it makes sense to organize our content into two different paths, one for homeowners renovating and another for people building a new home, or it might make sense to combine the two personas. For homeowners building a new home, these people might have similar thoughts and reasons for seeking an interior designer. And it could be because they want to learn more about the process, or the price, or maybe they want to see that the interior designers here do great work. That’s a lot of overlap. What are the distinctions? Well, the consultation location could change, but is that distinction relevant? On our call, Rebecca mentioned that a junior designer from her firm goes out to take measurements. If one of Rebecca’s clients comes to them building a new home, what if they do that so early in the process that there’s nothing except an empty plot? No structure, no home to measure. Well maybe the homeowner can provide blueprints and they’ll do the meeting over in Hayes Valley. It’s not really a major distinction. What about the goal, the ending intention? Well, new homeowners just like existing homeowners want to confidently pick a designer to work on their new home project. So, this exercise is really important. Sometimes this is what we end up with, two personas that have really similar intentions. Sometimes the distinction isn’t important enough to create separate content for each persona. But, that’s the user story we’re going to go with. As a homeowner, I want to see great interior design work so that I can pick this interior design firm with confidence. That’s our user story. Let's turn this into something we can use for our information architecture.
Now a lot of content strategists and user experience designers like to use that term, information architecture. And while it might sound like random industry jargon, it’s a pretty good description of what we’re doing. Our content, all the information that’s going to be on the site, it's going to be architected. It’s going to be designed and made based on our user story. So, how do we apply it? How do we develop the right information architecture, and how does that information architecture inform our content strategy? More importantly, why are we going to make one in the first place? Information architectures are life-changing, in that they rest upon the synergistic notion the world is getting smaller and -- you know what? This is industry jargon.
But even so, let’s take a look at how we can organize this content based on our user story. So, at the center of everything, the starting point, is the home page. And from the home page we link out to our other top-level pages. Sometimes we look at a home page like the center of a wheel, with spokes going out to all the main areas of the site. What are these main areas? Well if our goal is to feature great design, let’s start by featuring great design. A portfolio, or a work page, and second we have process. Now, could we include information about process in the portfolio? Sure, but our goal here is to surface the most common things that preemptively address client questions or concerns. We know featuring their work is of the highest priority to us right now. That’s what they do, but we also know people might have questions about the process. That’s how they do it. And, if process is the how, then the who is the team behind the work. We want to show who’s involved in running the team, and who’s involved in designing these interiors.
What about FAQ? We could add an FAQ so we could organize common questions inside, but most of those questions we can put inside process. We might add one later, but for now, let’s leave FAQ off this list. Finally, we want to surface the most important thing on the site, a way to get in touch. And we’ll do this a lot, we can surface that multiple times, but let’s address something specific that Rebecca said on the phone. Grimur, can we get a replay?
[McGuire] So the goal of your website, assuming you get a new one built for your design firm, is mainly to get clients?
[McGuire] Got it.
So what we were talking about on the call was really important. The goal of the site from the perspective of Hayes Valley Interior Design, is to get clients. But is it really? The site itself plays a role, but you could argue and you’d be right by saying, that’s not what the site does. The site doesn’t get clients. Rebecca and her team, they get clients. This is an important distinction and it drives content in a huge way. If the site was getting clients, it would collect measurement details, it would propose services directly to the clients, it would ask for credit card info or payment, and it really doesn’t do any of that. Should it? Probably not, because the goal of the website is a lot more direct than that. The goal of the site is to get clients to reach out, to contact the interior design firm. And, there are a few ways to do that. It could be a phone number, maybe they want to call. It could be an email, Rebecca really likes the contact form process. Maybe they want to send a certified letter, probably not, but we should probably include the address anyway. So, that’s our top-level information hierarchy. We’ll add to it, but these get turned into top-level pages. But for now, we’ve covered the user story and the top-level information architecture for Hayes Valley Interior Design. Up next, we’ll expand that information architecture by deciding what content goes on each page.