Live from HxRefactored: The Personalization Challenge

The Personalization Challenge, by Toni Pashley

Toni’s twin brothers were born with cystic fibrosis, so she has spent a lot of time in hospitals. It’s not easy to deal with a chronic disease; tracking medications and health history gets complicated. There is nothing more personal than your health.

  • Everyone’s health journey is unique
  • Sharecare (where Toni works) allows patients to create personalized profiles to feel confident managing their health
  • Personalization relies on data and technology

Example: Amazon offers recommendations to browse when you buy a book. They provide context, and they personalize the experience. Continue Reading


Live from HxRefactored: Designing for the Patient Journey

Designing for the Patient Journey, by Kate Brigham

PatientsLikeMe was created to help patients connect with other patients who have had similar experiences. It’s essentially crowdsourcing information that doctors don’t necessarily have (or at least haven’t experienced first hand).

They’ve found that there are some amazing similarities across patient journeys. This makes it a good universal design target. Continue Reading


Live from HxRefactored: Designing for Crisis

Designing for Crisis, by Eric Meyer

When his 5yr old daughter had a sudden seizure and went into a coma, the hospital decided to helicopter her to the Philly hospital – a city they didn’t know, a hospital they had not heard of, and there was no room in the helicopter for the parents to go with. A stranger drove them to the hospital, but when they got there they had no idea how to get to their daughter. He pulled up the site in his phone, and it offered no guidance or help. Just a ton of text.

Steve Krug says “don’t make me think.” When your child is on the literal brink of death, you actually can’t think. Continue Reading


Live from HxR: Keynote by John Brownstein

Keynote, John Brownstein

Traditional disease reporting is linear. But we need to make it collaborative. Technology can make it so that disease detection goes out to everyone simultaneously, in the same way that Yelp and Twitter share valuable information to everyone at once.

Data mining for disease prevention

Brownstein’s team at Harvard Medical School works with the CDC to look for large outbreaks of food poisoning reports on Yelp.

  • Internet & technology also shines a light on distribution of a disease.
  • Their system does constant data scraping and data analysis to find and track this information.
  • It’s a lot of work, moving from unstructured information to a database. Continue Reading

A New Era at Mad*Pow

Over the past two years of freelancing, I’ve learned about the content strategy community, about meeting clients and making sales, and about myself. I’ve grown confident in my knowledge of what I do best, what work I most enjoy, and the future I see for myself as a content strategist. With that in mind, the next stage of my journey is to rejoin the agency world. As of yesterday, I am officially the new Director of Content Strategy at Mad*Pow.

Why Mad*Pow?

MadPow_AIGA_AFTA_150x150I’ve always loved agency life. I get to work with an interesting variety of clients (like a freelancer), and I also get to work with a team, learning together and growing together (like an in-house content strategist). I’ve missed the camaraderie, and though the community on Twitter has been a decent substitute, Mad*Pow offers the real deal: a team of designers, strategists, researchers, and developers who value education (in all its forms) and encourage professional growth.

In addition, Mad*Pow has a few areas of specialization. While many of their target industries are familiar to me, healthcare is the industry I am most excited to be working with. I learned soon after beginning my freelance career that I prefer working with companies that in some way “do good,” and healthcare projects (typically) fall into this category. At Mad*Pow, the team shares my craving and seeks out this type of work.

What’s next?

Now it’s time for all the excitement of agency life, PLUS I get to help Mad*Pow grow a truly fabulous content strategy team. With all of that going on, some things are changing quite a bit, and others not at all.

What’s changing:

  • I’ll be at the Mad*Pow office most days, rather than in my home office with the adorable-yet-distracting Simi.
  • I’ll have many wonderful coworkers to collaborate with on projects.
  • I may be writing here less frequently, until I settle in.

What’s staying the same:

  • I am still the managing editor at UX Booth, and will continue to hold that position.
  • If you want to work together, you can still contact me. Mad*Pow takes on content strategy projects, and you may even get more value from my new coworkers!
  • I’ll still be speaking and live blogging at conferences, and I hope to see you there.

Should Boring Content be Summarized, or Cut?

I’ve been saving this screenshot on my desktop for months now, trying to decide where I stand on “restating things in friendlier terminology.” I keep going back and forth.

Twitter TOS



Pro: The “Tip” is friendly and grabs attention.

Con: In that case, just say the “friendly” part and skip the rest.

Pro: When dealing with terms and conditions, the legalize is mandatory.

Con: According to Frances Gordon’s talk at ConfabEU, most of it actually isn’t.

…in conclusion, both the visual treatment and the language of the “tip” grab attention. I think it’s worth looking at as a reminder of how we might state synopses of longer content, if we do determine that the longer version is (also) necessary.


What Does it Mean to Work “Sustainably?”

Is this the right work/life balance for you?

Photo Credit: Giorgio Montersino via Compfight cc

One of my favorite principles of agile development is #8: Agile processes promote sustainable development. It’s one of those statements that is all at once completely obvious, and yet incredibly difficult to follow. For every business that promises a “work/life balance,” there is a project that begs the exception, and requires employees to work late “just this once.” I have no problem with the exception. What I see as problematic is that often “just this once” turns into “just once a week” and then evolves into “passionate, dedicated people.”

Here’s the big secret. “We’re looking for passionate, dedicated people” is code for “don’t expect to get home for dinner.” Continue Reading