Skip to content

Content Types: The Glue Between Content Strategy, User Experience, and Design

Content types – the patterns of content in an organization's digital presence – are an essential building block for any effective redesign. However, content strategists, user experience designers, and visual designers have very different understandings of what "content type" means. By coming to a common understanding, these experts can work together to craft a smart, sustainable online presence. There are several purposes for identifying the types of content on a website:

-Identifying content models, which enable better presentation on multiple devices and power dynamically created collections
-Enabling rules for content creation, review, promotion, and expiration
-Making it easier for content creators to choose effective metadata

Technologists and content management systems tend to define content types very broadly, considering them equivalent to templates. Visual designers and user experience designers often define content types in terms of various elements and their size and relation to one another. Content strategists think about what the content is about, what its business rules need to be, and how it is surfaced.

Bringing these perspectives together ensures the most robust definition, conception, and execution of content types. In this interactive session, we will look at lots of examples of content types and work individually and together to identify how they would best work in different environments and for different purposes.


Hilary Marsh A leading content strategist since 1999, Hilary helps associations, nonprofit organizations, and corporations improve their practices for content creation, governance, management, and promotions. Her firm, a Chicago-based content strategy consultancy, works with clients including the American Bar Association, Endocrine Society, Institute of Food Technologists, Allstate, Intuit, and California State University.

In addition to consulting, Hilary teaches content strategy courses for Kent State University’s online masters program in user experience design. She manages the 25,000-member content strategy community on LinkedIn and the 1,200-member Chicago content strategy meetup.

She is also a frequent speaker at national and global conferences, including the AM&P Annual Conference, ASAE Tech Conference, Confab content strategy conference, Content Strategy Forum, Technology Councils of North America summer conference, IA Summit, WebVisions conference, and Society of Technical Communications awards banquet, and numerous meetups and webinars.