With the Commission set to replace its existing websites – several hundred of them – a lot of new content is going to be needed.
But, before we start designing and producing new content around user needs, we need to have an idea of what content is already out there, so that:
- we can design content models that are fit for purpose
- we can recycle good existing content instead of starting from scratch
To start with, we need to know what current content is relevant to which user task. We’ve already taken the first step: mapping content pages to the broad user tasks identified in our first big user needs survey. The resulting task-map shows us broadly where to find raw material for new content.
Content with purpose
As we build up more detailed evidence about user needs for a content class - ‘Funding, Tenders’, for example - we’re ready to move onto the next stage: to choose real-life user stories that say who needs what content for what purpose.
After that, we’ll carry out a content audit - to map existing content to that more detailed picture of user needs, and assess how best to rework it using the new content types.
A stable future
All this work of content mapping and auditing would be so much easier if we could just freeze the content. But of course, since we did the first task-mapping for all Commission sites last year, new content has been added, especially on funding.
Another reason for revisiting the content mapping is that some sites have been restructured, in line with last year’s reorganisation of Commission departments. We’re paying the price of having a lot of our current content arranged by department. In the future, when content is categorised by user task, the information architecture will be more stable - making life easier not just for users wanting to find content but also for our content auditors tasked with keeping track of it.
No pain, no gain
Mapping and auditing existing content is a painstaking business but it’s the only way to ensure that our content modelling and content creation work is rooted in reality. The challenge is to venture deep enough in without getting swamped.