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One aspect of user experience in a software application or website is the quality of the content presented to the user. It probably comes as no surprise that if the quality of the content is low/poor, then the user will have a difficult time getting a good user experience from trying to achieve his/her goals. The content is generally a mixture of the visual and text that the user processes, so I imagine that there would be a combination of metrics used to assess the visual quality (like aesthetics, contrast) and text quality (like readability, legibility). I would like to know if there are any standard metrics used to measure the relative degree of quality of content that takes into account of various elements that comprise of information quality, and how this relates to the overall user experience.

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Yes, there are. Google has created a smart and elaborate algorithm for how to judge the quality of the website -- both the content and the presentation. I will call it a "standard" since nowadays Google is the king of website ranking. Of course, the algorithm is proprietary, and it took many programmer-years to develop it... –  Pasha S Mar 25 '13 at 6:34
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3 Answers

First of all, content quality and content representation (UI) quality are separate things. You cannot create a beautiful design with messy data.

For testing the interaction design, you can use heuristics evaluation to gauge the various aspects. http://www.nngroup.com/articles/ten-usability-heuristics/

For content, I am unaware of a guide in UX domain for content. But ideally in websites and applications, it is the content writers job to make sure the content is consistent and will interact with the UX designers to make sure the interactions tell the same story.

Edit 1: If you are looking for something in the domain of closely knit content and visuals, the closest thing that comes to mind is Tufte's work. http://www.edwardtufte.com/tufte/books_visex It leans more towards visuals and information visualization which is something what you are talking about.

Also, in context of an organization. I have seen quite a few digital companies which have a group of UX Designers, Visual Designers, Content writers and developers for each project. The UX designer takes care of the theme of the product, the rough layout and interactions, the visual designer takes those concepts and gives it a polished visual layer. The content writer provides the crisp content and the developer ties it all together. They all work together as a team, more of a agile method than a waterfall model.

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I have wondered about the role of the UX designer in this area, because although writers have a good understand of the information and designers have a good eye for the graphics, the art/science of blending the two together is something that I don't often see executed very well. That is to say, I've seen too many images that have no relevance to the text, or text that do not support the image. To me an infographic designer or a UX designer should be focused on these areas, so I wonder if there exists some kind of standard or guidelines. –  Michael Lai Mar 26 '13 at 2:52
Edited the answer :) –  rk. Mar 26 '13 at 3:00
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Questions that we can ask users to get a feel for information quality (qualitative measures):

• Do you find it difficult to understand the information on the page? • Do you find information missing where you would expect it to be on the page? • Do you find out-of-date or inaccurate information on the page? • Do you find it easy to find information that you need? • Do you find similar information grouped together? • Are you able to carry out tasks effectively given all the information that is provided?

The underlying rationale for asking these types of questions are to find out which combinations of the information quality measures are of most value to the users. I believe these are four semi-quantifiable measures of content quality:

• Consistency of the content produced (in structure, format and style) • Coverage of the content they need to access (completeness in width and depth of information) • Accuracy of the content they access (inaccuracies or out-of-date) • Accessibility of the content (is it buried in lots of folders, are related content linked or easily located, can the content be scanned or read easily)

I have found also the Search Quality Rating Guidelines, which may be of interest to the people who are still following this question. I guess they are talking more about search query results, but I think it is a subset of the content quality in terms of the usefulness of the information presented.

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Never heard about such standard metrics other than readability.

A non-standard metric to judge, how understandable a text (probably) is, can be defined as

comprehensibility = (number of plain words)/(number of words)

With this, 1 means that only plain words are used, and 0 means that no plain word is used (maybe a different language).

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