A Definition of Content That Everyone Can Understand

On UXMatters, as a comment to Colleen Jones′s (@leenjones) excellent piece on the heuristics for assessing the quality of content, Fred Brenton issued this challenge:

It would really help everyone concerned if any kind of article concerning content and usability was written in a way that everyone could understand.

I agree with him completely, and I′d like to give it a shot. Please, everyone, help me out because this is just the noob leading the noobs

What is content?

Content is the substance of a website.

Content is the words, the pictures, the music, and the video.

Content is the descriptions, the pitches, the offers, the listings, the links, and the references.

Content is the instructions, the cues, the forms, the buttons, and the confirmations.

Content is the reviews, the ratings, the questions, the advice, the warnings, the praise, and the complaints.

Content is the reason that people visit a website.


  • Tells them what they need to know.
  • Shows them what they need to see.
  • Helps them solve their problems.
  • Offers them choices.
  • Leads them through tasks.
  • Builds relationships with them and among them.

In one way and another, content conveys all the value that a visitor gets out of a website.

So when someone asks you to define content, just say, ″It′s all the stuff on your website.″

About: rsgracey

@rsgracey has spent his life moving from one area of interest to another, collecting knowledge, skills, and experience (and TOOLS!) for a wide range of creative and professional fields. If you need someone to help you "think through" any problem of information, communication, and the community, don't hesitate to call him in.