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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

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Live from Big Design: Agile and the Elusive Big Picture

Agile and the Elusive Big Picture: How Storymapping Brings UX into the Agile Framework, by Elisa Miller

big-design-logo-300x126Where do user stories come from? Elisa read User Story Mapping, by Jeff Patton, and went to find everything else he read. She felt that it helps get developers out of the weeds. It’s not difficult, but it’s really useful to do story mapping to understand the big picture for agile.

A story map is a way of connecting user stories and organizing them. Continue Reading

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Live from Big Design: Organizational Design for Design Organizations

Organizational Design for Design Organizations, by Peter Merholz

big-design-logo-300x126There’s a belief that if the design is right, then the UX will be right. If that fails, we must need to get the research and strategy right. If the UX still fails, then what’s going wrong?

Could be the organization. With the right organization, the team is set up for success.

Companies invest in design for 2 reasons:

  1. It improves/generates business value
  2. Software is eating the world.” – the world is digital.

In addition, everything is becoming a service, which means that all design is becoming service design. Design was initially a step in the process: management got an idea, marketing determined how to sell it, design designed it, engineers created it, manufacturing built a lot of them, sales then sells it, support provides customer support beyond that. Now, design impacts all the other areas.

Design informs the planning – figuring out what happens at each stage. It’s part of the “three legged stool” of business, technology, and design. Continue Reading

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Live from Big Design: Don’t Make a Journey Map

Don’t Make a Journey Map, by Shahrzad Samadzadeh

big-design-logo-300x126This is not an aspirational talk, or a formula to follow. It is a review of common journey map archetypes.

When Sha figured out that she could make a journey map based on needs and findings, she realized they could be really useful! However, after working on Adaptive Path’s guide to Experience mapping, she was hired to “make a journey map.” She was no longer a designer, just a journey mapper. Journey maps aren’t a good end goal, they’re a tool. Continue Reading

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Live from Confab: Content strategy for personalization

Content strategy for personalization: Five steps toward building thoughtful targeted experiences, by Colin Eagan

confab logoWhat is targeting, and why do I care?

Targeting is personalized content/layout for a person. It’s adaptive to a unique user trait, and it can be based on zip code, browsing history, etc.

Targeted = customized, based on data. Continue Reading

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Live from Confab: Measure and optimize

Measure and optimize: Using web analytics to evaluate and hone your content strategy, by Jeff Klag

confab logoJeff works at John Deere. Until a few months ago, their website’s success was business-centric, based on traditional success markers such as equipment sales, and maintenance.

Now, with content strategy, they want content to effortlessly guide the user to complete their intended task. That changes everything. They created a core strategy statement, identified the top goals (customer tasks), and made their secondary goals ones to support the sales journey.

In this talk, we’ll:

  • Learn how quantified task rates validate your content strategy
  • See how task reporting can fuel content optimization
  • Leverage Jeff’s approach in our work Continue Reading