Live from CSA: Closing the Gap on the Adaptive Content Challenge

CSA: Closing the Gap on the Adaptive Content Challenge, by Don Day

logoWhy so much emphasis on adaptive content?

  • Content should be easy to find!
  • Content should be reusable – it’s not a tea bag.
  • Content should be timeless.

There are a lot of factors determining what content is presented:

  • The technical, cultural (think jokes that don’t translate), or religious preferences
  • The reading level of the audience
  • What users have looked at before – to personalize what we give them next and ensure they’ll like it
  • How long users will have to consume their information (bites, not meals)

We also need to prioritize content:

  • Is it breaking news?
  • How quickly does the user need to react or respond to the content?
  • Can we get the information to users more efficiently?

When it comes to adaptive content we don’t have a workflow. We have work facilitation.

  • Use semantic associations so that users can find the specific pieces they want (i.e. go to a specific step in the process)
  • Flag or highlight information
  • Allow users to filter information (or filter for them so they only see relevant content)
  • Is the content easily able to respond? Is it “agile” content?

A timeline of our route to adaptive content:

  • From the time of the printing press until the internet, there was:
    • Content with a long life-cycle (like product information)
    • Ephemeral content (news or marketing)
    • The long term and short term content maintained some consistency
  • The Web era
    • Now we have long life-cycle content (much the same as before)
    • Ephemeral content (still news and marketing!)
    • But now we don’t have the same publishers for the two, and so we’re creating isolated standards. Unfortunately, this leads to duplicated content and effort.
  • Next up: blogs and chunks

What’s wrong with my content?

  • Blobs vs. chunks:
    • Blobs of content are often created to present on a screen
    • Chunks are named, scoped, modular units of information (this is structured content, with semantics)
  • Presentation is NOT semantics
    • Responsive web design doesn’t solve all of these problems
    • Responsive is just a grid and media queries. If we don’t have the semantic markup, the queries aren’t helpful.

The role of adaptive technologies:

  • Adaptive design
    • Adds logic to responsive web design
    • Helps with fonts, images, and scope
    • Generally not aware of the content and the context
  • Adaptive content (according to Ann Rockley)
    • Format-free
    • Device independent
    • Filterable
    • Scalable
    • Transformable for display in different environments, on different devices, and in a dynamic fashion
  • Adaptive content (according to Karen McGrane)
    • Reusable
    • Structured
    • Presentation independent
    • Has meaningful metadata
    • Usable CMS interfaces
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