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Live from CSForum: Content Modeling

Content Modeling: Make Content Smarter, by Angus Gordon

Take a look at the Facebook fields for creating an account. There are fields, one for each content piece. This is different from if they just provided a giant field for everything. If they did that, they would still collect the information, but it would be far harder for them to then use that information to deliver content related to your users, connect you to other similar users, know when your birthday is, etc.

All those things are structured content.

  • Structured content is chunks - breaking down content into components
  • Structured content is constrained – formatted, with set allowed values, sizes, character counts, etc Continue Reading
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Live from CSForum: 10 things I learned in 10 years as a Content Strategist

10 things I learned in 10 years as a Content Strategist, by Rachel Lovinger

  1. Everything is content. It’s not just copy, it’s metadata, and medium. “The Medium is the Message” – Marshall McLuhan It’s the IA, the breakdown, etc.
  2. Content is communication. Traditional media was a broadcast communication model. You just hope the message was received. In digital media, there’s more flow. We share media, they respond. It’s multidirectional communication.
  3. Content strategy is concerned with content systems. “Content strategy is to writing as IA is to design” – that’s useful to those of us who understand it. For everyone else, content strategists build a framework for everyone to be able to work with content.
  4. Author experience is critical to content strategy. Authors are internal users, but we still need to think about them. If we don’t, the content won’t (can’t) be maintained. We need to give them intuitive tools that they will understand.
  5. Content needs to be structured. Display information needs to be separate from content types and attributes.
  6. Intelligent content needs metadata. There are 2 distinct focuses within content strategy: front end, and back end. What makes it content strategy (and not just publishing) is that content decisions are tied to bigger strategic initiatives and measurable goals.
  7. Content strategy isn’t a practice, it’s a methodology. You might work in science, but you’re a specific type of science. Similarly, there are all sorts of jobs/roles that use content strategy.
  8. We’re still young. There’s a lot of uncharted territory – we need people who can do all of the many things.
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Live from CSForum: What’s your (business) problem?

What’s your (business) problem?: Selling content strategy into your organisation​, by Rahel Anne Bailie

If you’re not doing something for profit, it’s just a hobby. This is a main goal or businesses: to make money.

Speak their language:

  • People trust people in the know
  • Show them you understand the business goals
  • Use the vocab of the organization
  • Teach them the UX/CS language too Continue Reading
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Live from CSForum: It’s not a technology problem

It’s not a technology problem, by Leisa Reichelt

Leisa works in government. It can feel like being a thousand monkeys on typewriters, but it’s for a good purpose.

“Be clear about what you’re doing. The reason is unlikely to be ‘transformation.’” -Kate Tarling

“Far too many people claim they’re doing ‘transformation’ when they’re merely doing the same things faster/cheaper.” -Dr. Jerry Fishenden

Doing the same thing faster/cheaper isn’t a bad thing. But it isn’t transformation. It’s possible that no government is doing transformation. It gets blocked, because business and IT would have to be aligned on the priorities. Transformation is way too much work for those two groups.

Real transformation is risky. Changing institutions is disruptive. It could result in people not getting paid, not being able to take care of their kids, etc. The risks when working in government are HUGE. So it’s valid that gov’t groups as: “why would we do this to ourselves?” Continue Reading

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Live from CSForum: Content as Connection

Content as Connection, by Hilary Marsh

Our organizations are in the content business, but we don’t necessarily know that that’s what we do. We create content all day, no matter what we’re doing. The content we produce might show up in the world in ways we’re not expecting.

We want our content to make a direct connection, and help us take action.

Content is the way our work is manifested in the world. Everything your organization does is your content – not just marketing, not just purposeful storytelling. Content is the way our organizations connect with our audiences. We need to help make sure the content doesn’t look half-baked.

The better we can show the relationship and the value of what we do, the better off we’re going to be. The question to ask is not “what do we have that they want” but instead “what are they looking for, that we have?” Continue Reading

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Live from CSForum: Opening Keynote

Opening Keynote, by Kristina Halvorson

We come to content strategy from many different paths, but we do have some things in common.

Kristina began in 2004. She was a web copywriter, and she remembers watching her first usability test and seeing people interacting with, usinglooking for content. This is when people would do content last, with no budget, after doing everything else.

“It’s not that I can’t crank out content, but I have questions.” Continue Reading

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Live from Big Design: Personalization Strategies for Better User Experiences

Personalization Strategies for Better User Experiences, by Brent Bice

big-design-logo-300x126Personalization is about relevance. Finding content that you know about and they need. Personalization is about providing the right content at the right time (when they need it). It’s about optimizing a digital experience for that user, and cutting through the clutter and the noise.

Why Does it Matter?

It’s not new – it’s been around since back in MyYahoo. But now the internet is faster, content is easier to produce, we have Twitter, video, audio files all coming into play. All of these solutions are now starting to talk to each other, so it’s much easier to take all this data and organize it in a way that is more useful.  Continue Reading

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Live from Big Design: Accessibility is Not Enough

Accessibility is Not Enough, by Bobby Brooks and Jessica Looney

big-design-logo-300x126The speakers both work with Knowbility, a web accessibility nonprofit. They’re going to do something more in-depth than a 101. Instead, going over a few common accessibility challenges, and then ways to validate and test.

What is an accessible website?

One that people can use regardless of abilities/disabilities. Some people feel it’s about checking in on guidelines at the end. But the spirit is more about incorporating accessibility from the beginning, not tacking on a ramp at the end.

For example, one common thing in brand guidelines is to say “these are our colors.” But if those aren’t accessible (not enough contrast) we need to take a step back and consider ways to accomplish accessibility. Continue Reading

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Live from Big Design: Form Follows Me

Form Follows Me, by Mark Rolston

big-design-logo-300x126Mark runs a product design consultancy, Argo Design. They do both products and conceptual work. Used to work at Frog. He’s been in the industry since 1994, and he’s seen a lot of change. Computing is driving rapid and fundamental change in society. iPhone is about to turn 10yrs old! That was the first time a computer really became mobile – part of the rest of life. Since then it’s been getting more connected, and cheaper.

The design of a hammer is manifest. It’s clear from the shape/form what it does. Similarly, the design of a home screen shows what it can do. But a lot of what is becoming important to how design behaves is becoming more like an iceberg – most of it is underwater.

The line is blurring between it (object) and she (person). What is the Amazon Echo? Is it a thing, or is it Alexa? How do we know what the Echo does? The software isn’t even present in the thing you see. Continue Reading