This is one of the 52 terms in The Language of Content Strategy published by XML Press in 2014 and the contributor for this term is Kathy Wagner.
What is it?
A content assessment tool used to evaluate content against specific criteria and user scenarios. Ratings are assigned to each criterion and are presented as a scorecard.
Why is it important?
Provides insights about content strengths, weaknesses, and priorities. The scorecard approach quantifies and communicates qualitative data to stakeholders in an engaging and persuasive way.
Why does a content strategist need to know this?
Content scorecards are tools used to demonstrate content quality strengths and weaknesses to a client. Scorecards are faster to create and more affordable than user testing, and they can be scaled to meet client and project needs. They’re also incredibly valuable in establishing project focus and priorities.
A content scorecard, like all heuristic reviews, is subjective. The quality of the findings is dependent on your expertise as a content reviewer. To provide comprehensive results, you need a deep knowledge of writing mechanics and technique, usability and interaction design, information structure and design, and branding. It’s better to limit the scope of the review rather than provide feedback on areas outside of your expertise. To minimize potential bias, you can have three independent reviewers work through the same heuristics and then collaboratively discuss discrepancies and provide focused, consolidated findings.
Choose three to six detailed criteria across five to eight content categories and two or three user scenarios. The combination of detailed criteria and broader categories ensures that findings have both breadth and depth. Evaluating content against user scenarios helps to establish a user-centered perspective, keeps you focused on priority areas, and provides a good cross-section of page types.
As you review, assign scores to each criterion for each scenario. During analysis, you can also identify overall scores for each content category and scenario. Using a grading system familiar to your region makes it easy for stakeholders to quickly understand how well their content meets quality requirements and where to focus their improvements.