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Published on April 19th, 2011 | by Rahel Bailie

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Transactional Content Matrix

A friend and colleague, Linda Francis of Fandango Group, often finds herself doing content strategy on projects where she is the interaction designer. Content strategy and interaction design overlap with transactional content, the copy that is shown when customers interact with an application to pay a bill, check an account balance, and other transactions that may seem mundane but are just as much the face of the company as any branded content. Often, this periodic transaction is the only interaction a customer has with a company. You may not go back to the home page of your cable or utilities companies, but you’ve probably bookmarked the page where you log into your account.

This content may not be sexy, but it’s complicated. You don’t supply content simply for a form. You have to take into account the various states of any potential transaction at any given time, and ensure consistency. This is not in just nomenclature, but tone and voice as well. Form labels, error messages, feedback messages…they all need attention. (This takes me back to the 1990s, when a mail program faced with a Canadian postal code in the Zip Code field displayed: What planet are you from? Needless to say, I deleted immediately.)

Linda adds, “In the UX realm, all content must be considered, for usability, voice and brand the sum of all digital interactions with an audience is what ultimately forms the online brand for any organization. Ensuring that all content is considered involves surfacing it all and reviewing it as a complete inventory as well as in-situ, on a screen-by-screen basis. This is increasingly important as we endeavour to reach various personas, personalize data, and deliver applications on a range of devices.”

I’ve always admired Linda’s ability to capture information in an organized, easy-to-digest way. Linda kindly agreed to share a sample Transactional Content Matrix. (Click to open a new page, then right-click to download the .xlsx file – it’s a WordPress thing.) The matrix is, befittingly, in a multiple page spreadsheet format. It’s a great way to present this particular deliverable.


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About the Author

Rahel Anne Bailie is a synthesizer of content strategy, requirements analysis, information architecture, and content management to increase the ROI of content. She has consulted for clients in a range of industries, and on several continents, whose aim is to better leverage their content as business assets. Founder of Intentional Design, she is now the Chief Knowledge Officer of London-based Scroll. She is a Fellow of the Society for Technical Communication, she has worked in the content business for over two decades. She is co-author of Content Strategy: Connecting the dots between business, brand, and benefits, and co-editor of The Language of Content Strategy, and is working on her third content strategy book,



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