What’s a Template?

I was surprised to note this past week that “template” means different things to different people. (Someday I’ll get used to the idea that¬†every word in the dictionary is subject to interpretation.)

My connotation for “template” comes from CMS work: a template is a pattern. It is a page layout that is formatted in such a way that it can serve as the structure for multiple pages.

  • It is not a template if you need to personalize it for each page.
  • It is not a template if it is only useful for one page.
  • It is not a template if it isn’t saved somewhere for reuse.

A template is, essentially, an IKEA unit. It could be a bar. It could be a dresser (if you add in storage cubes for drawers). It could be a bookshelf. But the unit stays the same, regardless of what goes inside it.



Lost in Translation

We talk a lot about localization in content strategy, and the importance of doing more than merely translating the exact words in a sentence. After all, true communication is about tone, manner, style, voice,  connection, and connotation as much as it is about denotation.

That said, I love finding signs during my travels that communicate an idea while butchering denotation. This is one of my favorites from last summer’s time in Sweden.



Where Does Content Strategy “Live?”

I enjoy a good theoretical debate over what content strategy “is” as much as the next content strategist. We’ll talk until the cows come home, quoting all the most famous and infamous lines:

  • Content strategy is “everything”
  • Content strategy is UX
  • Content strategy is content marketing
  • Content strategy is about creating content
  • Content strategy is governance
  • Content strategy is branding

Hubspot says strategy is a precursor to content creation and content marketing, and content marketers automatically build strategies. This makes a lot of sense coming from Hubspot, given that Hubspot is an inbound marketing organization. The people Hubspot works with are, by and large, marketers, and hopefully they are also content strategists, or they work closely with content strategists. However, to say that content strategy is something accomplished by the people creating the content ignores that sometimes, a team doesn’t need to create content. Continue Reading


Live from HxRefactored: Sound Health

Sound Health, by Julian Treasure

2% of Europe’s population suffer severely disturbed sleep due to traffic noise. That’s 8 million people. In addition, noise levels are going up in hospitals (and schools, and offices). Noise levels are more than double what the World Health Organization recommends we experience.

Four ways sound impacts us:

  1. Physiological – sudden noises are interpreted as threats, and we respond with higher blood pressure and adrenaline
  2. Psychological – sounds can change our emotions
  3. Cognitive – we only have a certain amount of bandwidth for how many things we can pay attention to, so noise reduces productivity
  4. Behavioral – we are less able to be friendly or comfortable when we’re frazzled and dealing with noise Continue Reading

Live from HxRefactored: Design Upstream: Advancing Strategic Design Without Going Against the Current

Design Upstream: Advancing Strategic Design Without Going Against the Current, by Chris Avore

Chris has designed the orgnaization at Nasdaq. He says basically if we’re expected to create solutions, we should have time to get to know the problems.

Assessing your current state

First, we need to assess whether we’re prepared to scale – is our house in order? Continue Reading