Choosing the template
Defining the scope and the nature of the content and selecting the appropriate Umbraco template, or templates, steers our content creation efforts in the right direction. It also helps to keep our website consistent and the user experience coherent.
We have a range of content templates in Umbraco, all built on the principles of Meghan Casey's core content model. They are designed to:
- help us get the most out of our website,
- help us present content in a user-friendly way,
- keep our website content consistent and the user experience coherent, and
- make it easy for content producers to create effective web content.
To work out which Umbraco template is right for the content you're producing, look at the list of templates by content type. The template name should make it clear which one is right for the content you're producing.
On rare occasions, when we're creating a new type of content, there won't be an appropriate template set up in Umbraco. When this happens, content producers work with digital engagement to create a core content model.
Core content is that which is important to users and also plays a role in helping us meet our organisational objectives. Making the most relevant information prominent on your page – and therefore easy to find – improves the user experience and makes us our website more effective.
How to determine your core content
This is how we put together a core content model.
Step one: Users' top tasks
First, we make a list of our intended users' top tasks. When users come to the content, what do they want to find, learn or achieve? For example:
- I want to read about the experiences of people with depression.
- I want to find out how to get involved with Mind's work.
- I want to find out the most common symptoms of depression.
Step two: Our objectives
Next, we make a list of our relevant organisational objectives. What are we trying to achieve with this content? For example:
- We want to show what Mind's position is on important issues.
- We want to reduce the number of email enquiries on this topic.
- We want to get people to sign up to take part in Crafternoon.
Step three: Inward and forward paths
Then, we make a list of the content's inward and forward paths.
When planning new web content, it helps to think about how users might reach the page (inward paths), and where we want them to go next (forward paths).
Inwards paths are the ways in which users might arrive at the content. Some examples might be:
- doing a browser search for a particular keyword or phrase,
- clicking a link on the homepage, and
- clicking a link in a social media post.
Making a list of all the ways users might have found or landed on the content is a good way of putting ourselves in the shoes of our users. This list should inform the way we organise the content.
Forward paths are the places users may want to go, or we may want to send them, once they've got what they need from the content. Some examples might be:
- a registration form, so they can sign up for an event;
- a helpline page, so they can get further help; and
- a campaign page, so they can find out how to get involved.
Making a list of forward paths with our users' top tasks in mind. This is especially important when we're providing information on sensitive topics. For example, we wouldn't want to include a donate call to action on a page that's for people in crisis.
Step four: The content
Use the lists you've made to determine the top content and calls to action required to achieve these needs and goals. Examples of this content might be:
- event details
- a sign up button
- links to related content by tag
- a search function.
Step five: Prioritisation
Finally, we decide where each of these examples of content should sit on the following axis:
Content that we want to drive people to is that which is important to us, but isn't necessarily a high priority for our users.
Content that you want to guide people to is that which is important to our users, but isn't that important to our objectives.
Meh content doesn't have any impact for the organisation, and isn't helping our users with their needs. So why have it on the page?
Focus content is our core content, because it's of high importance to both our users and to Mind.
With our core content and forward paths established, we can start organising the content in order of importance and decide where it should go on the page.
For this, it's useful to think about the content as though we were designing for mobile – the mobile-first approach. If we only had a small screen, in what order would we want users to see the content?
Our prioritised content list might look like this:
- Event banner with title and image
- Event description
- Sign up call to action
- Own place call to action
- Related events
- Impact stats graphics – how your fundraising helps
Once we've prioritised the content in this way, we can map out where the different elements will go in the page layout.