What if the content is the interface?

Words are the model, words are the tools, words are the boards, words are the nails.

Richard Rhodes

I was recently invited, as the information architect, to join the team in charge of rethinking the website of a fintech at the verge of its IPO. The company has a very positive reputation amongst independent traders, offering one of the broadest choices of trading platforms, and a diverse portfolio of products focused on that public.

In recent years, trading has seen an expressive increase in newcomers, attracted by a good moment in the stock and commodities markets, as well as a huge increase in online courses about how to become a successful trader".

As a result, fintechs received a flux of newcomers with a complete set of different demands. Being proud of their reputation, the company asked us to also take in account this new cohort, without disregard more seasoned traders and their private equity clients.

Throughout the years, the company generated a vast amount of informational content about the market, with articles, daily briefings, special reports and tutorials. This content was published under their blog, with impressive analytics, but it was siloed in a secondary area, almost completely unconnected with the site. From the analytics of the site we could see that most readers went through the content without even being aware of the products and services offered by the fintech.

After mapping the website, it became clear to me the untapped potential of that content to drive the readers to the business area of the site, with the adequate transversal linking strategy.

One of the key benefits of using content as interface is that the reader’s attention is already set in the subject and might be motivated to explore the tools related to it. By linking the content with the relevant products and services, it’s possible to create a clear and intuitive information architecture that guides users through the site and makes it easy for them to find what they need.

Topography overview diagram - Ricardo Porto
Ricardo Porto

Content as interface also helps to create a sense of cohesion and consistency across the site that make it easier for users to understand and navigate. This is especially important for sites with multiple sections or sections that are updated frequently, as it helps to ensure that the site remains coherent and easy to use, even as new content is added.

Content as interface is a powerful approach to designing websites that prioritizes the user experience. Aligning the correct editorial approach with the company’s strategies can create websites that are easy for users to find what they need and expose them to more commercial offerings in a more contextualised way. By focusing on a content-first approach, editors can also create a sense of cohesion and consistency throughout the site.