Content variables to consider

By Andrew on 27th December 2018 — 1 min read

Here’s a list to consider. You might find it useful when creating a content inventory/analysis. Or you might work with these variables to identify interaction modes that are so similar that they can be combined…

Or once you’ve nailed down the modes you need for a site/app, setting values for these variables can help you towards a definition for each mode.

Content variables

Reading age

  • Word count
  • Sentence length
  • Paragraph length
  • Simplicity vs complexity of vocabulary
  • Simplicity vs complexity of concepts


  • Funny vs serious
  • Formal vs casual (personal)
  • Respectful vs irreverent (easy, happy-go-lucky)
  • Enthusiastic (heartfelt) vs matter-of-fact

(List adapted slightly from


  • Top level vs selection vs full detail
  • Broad vs narrow focus

Guidance type

  • Prescriptive process vs all paths open
  • Persuasion / compelling (promotes action)
  • Recommendation / Next action clear (e.g. visual hierarchy and CTA)


  • Linear vs non-linear
  • Listed vs non-listed
  • Consistent (repeating) vs flexible (unique)
  • Questions and answers vs statements
  • Narrative vs systematic
  • Low vs high density
  • Overlapping vs singular


  • Evergreen vs update-able
  • Recent vs older

Supporting media

  • images/video/infographics

All content should…

  • be engaging
  • be collocated with similar content
  • be placed separately from different content
  • provide an information scent (descriptive, consistent labels)
  • convey its boundaries
  • be accessible
  • be available via multiple access paths
  • be relevant
  • be useful
  • be usable
  • be findable
  • be credible
  • be desirable
  • be valuable / purposeful

(this last list was adapted from Fred Leise, March 12, 2007 – and from Peter Morville via

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