Getting past the content

Its strange how things sometimes come back a full circle.  Coming from an engineering background and possessing a very rational thinking, I always thought that good content is all that is required. Having the right content is synonymous to an individual’s inner good values and beliefs.  I always struggled with understanding why emphasis is given to something that is well presented, even though it might not be as solid from inside. For instance, I could not see the reason behind attraction of some of my undergraduate professors towards computer programs of colleagues that had a better UI and some graphics components even though the program code was not that solid or efficient and more error prone, as opposed to what I did in my computer programs. My programs were more efficient, handled variety of errors and tried to solve the problem effectively. I never understood why I should spend my time instead on making a better UI. Most of my programs had a very basic and standard user interface designed.

Up until I entered into this world of Interaction and User Experience Design about two years ago, I believed that content is everything.

During my first year here, I came across this line by Mc Carthy & Wright that really struck a cord with me. “The Mac must work and the software must function properly. The point is that the analysis should not stop there.” My past two years made me realize that having good content is very necessary, but it not the only thing that is important. The way that content is presented makes a huge difference. Presentation is just as important as content. In the world today, when we are overloaded with information due to the advent in computers and globalization and when everything around us is fighting to grab our attention, the importance on the presentation of content is inevitable. I might have developed the most efficient computer software, but if users cant make sense out of it or don’t know how to work around it (lack of usability), if they do not enjoy using it or is not aesthetically pleasing or fails to evoke the right emotions (lack of good user experience), if it does not add value to their life, nobody would ever want to use it. And vice-versa too. If the presentation is really good but the content is substandard, it wont work.

Well, both the content and presentation go hand in hand. Both of them are equally important. They are like two pillars of a building. The building will collapse with either one of them missing.

Just to provide an exemplar for this. I was sent an email a few days in which I happened to notice the email signature that the company uses. This is what it looked like:

CONTA GROUP

BRUSHES & BRUSHES
CONTINENTAL AGENCIES
CONTINENTAL HYGIENE CONCEPTS

We believe in

Quality
Service
Competitiveness

It had all the important content but the presentation seemed unimpressive to me. With limited knowledge about the brand image of the company and in my efforts to keep it as simple as possible for implementation in technical terms, I proactively took the initiative to redesign the email signature. I just spent a quick 15 minutes on looking a few other exemplars, and improving the presentation and content. Then I sent it over back to the company. Take a look here, how changing the presentation primarily impacted it:

Regards,
Conta Group

Brushes & Brushes | Continental Agencies | Continental Hygiene Concepts
One-stop-solution for all your Hygiene needs
We believe in Quality | Service | Competitiveness
Tel: +91-011-47000000 | Mobile: +91-9811000000
www.contagroup.com

I soon got a reply from the company saying that they really liked it and had changed their email signature the next day itself.

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