Structuring information can be a messy process if you don’t have the right tools. The Content Architecture Funnel (CAF) can help designers, product owners, and business people structure their content the right way, by having an organized process to prioritize any kind of information in a collaborative way.
With CAF your whole team’s point of view will be involved in the process to get to the most informed decision. Prioritizing what kind of elements are essential in any kind of project, from the creation of landing pages to app features.
The Content Architecture Funnel
CAF is a method designed to help your team prioritize content in a way that is meaningful, clear and intuitive. It gives you the tools to structure your project’s content based on your users and business goals.
On many occasions, the designer is the one who carries out the task of executing the projects assigned to him based solely on the requirements of the brief. This can leave out valuable insights from all the team (PM’s, Product owners, marketing) and users.
When using CAF, it will not only be the input of the designer but also of his entire team. An informed decision is reached taking into account the points of view of each team member, thus avoiding hours in rework getting to the desired goal.
How Can I Use CAF?
CAF is divided into three easy steps,
You and your team need to start asking questions regarding the scope and the goals of your project. This step will help you get a better understanding of what needs to be done.
First what you need to ask is what we call the “WHY”.
The goal here is to know why we are doing a solution for the project in the first place. With the following questions, you can get a clear understanding of the general goal of the project,
- What are the reasons that motivate your team to take any kind of action?
- Is there a problem you want to solve?
Second, you need to ask the “WHAT”.
At this stage, since you understand the problem you need to brainstorm possible solutions on how to deal with the problem at hand.
- What are you going to do to solve the problem?
- What is the desired outcome once the problem is solved?
- What do you expect from the solution you are about to build?
- What would be the purpose? (Eg. Sell, inspire, inform )
The second step of CAF is the fun part, because it’s when we start structuring and organizing. But first, since we already have an idea of what we need to do, your team need to ask themselves the following questions,
- What elements do you need in order to reach your desired outcome?
- What elements does your solution need to have?
Once we have a big list of all the elements that are needed, group them in 3 different categories,
Every element that we must have in order to achieve our desired outcome. If any of this element is missing the purpose of what we are building is lost.
2.- Auxiliary Elements
Every element that will support the fundamental elements. If we miss those the purpose is still met, but having them will enhance the experience.
3.- Nice to have elements
These elements are just a bonus and do not have a considerable impact on the experience.
It’s recommended that each team member goes through this prioritization on their own, because some people may not consider the same elements as important as you do. That’s why it’s important to listen to what everyone has to say.
The goal here is that in the end, you get to discuss with your team and reach a consensus on which elements are the final fundamental, auxiliary, and nice to have.
3.- Visual Representation
The last step is to create a visual representation of what you and your team structured, it could be just a rough sketch or a wireframe. The visual representation will guide as it shows the hierarchy of the elements when your team begins building the solution.
This last step is not extremely necessary but if you do it, it will save you tons of time arranging the elements in your layout.
CAF is a great tool that will help your team come to an informed solution without leaving any one point of view out. With CAF you will be able to,
- Prioritize content elements
- Shape the purpose of your project
- Hierarchize content
- Give informed and precise feedback
- Have a timeline of the decision-making process of your projects
Now that you know how CAF works you can go and start structuring your projects with your team. Here you can download the template Content Architecture Funnel Template.
Let me know if you have any questions or if there’s anything I can help you with.Drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions you might have.