Five Hundred Pages In

Five hundred pages into a content audit, I had a laundry list of things we could to to make the redesign work. My client – a mid-Atlantic university – was angling for a new CMS and a new redesign, and I had spelled out some standard content updates. But I was still searching for that one punch. That one out-of-this-world idea. That one thing that …

No Time for Love, Dr. Jones: Prioritizing Content Strategy for the Small Business

We spend a lot of time worrying about where content will come from and what form it will take. Where we often stumble is aligning those decisions with our existing resources. Because while structured content and editorial calendars are fantastic, they take time – time a small business or non-profit may not have. So let’s talk a bit about how we can prioritize tasks and goals, all while taking our clients’ existing pool of time into consideration.

My Thoughts on IA Summit 2012: “Why Is the Sky Blue?”

The theme of this year’s IA Summit – Cross-Channel Experiences – was well represented, and regardless of which wall of the user experience room you tend to lean against, it’s clear we’re all moving forward toward this universal promise of “future-friendly” web properties, where our content moves from one format to another through the magic of metadata and chunking. The hidden theme of the conference, …

Audiences, Outcomes, and Determining User Needs

One of the most important parts of web design and development at Blend Interactive is what we call our Audiences and Outcomes process. The process – which borrows heavily from C. David Gammel’s Online and On Mission – helps determine site audiences and the expected outcomes of those audiences. It’s what drives decision making for the rest of the site. It’s kind of a big …

My First Principles

Earlier this month, Contents Magazine asked seven very smart people about their first principles – the things that ground every part of their work, whether in content or beyond. You should probably go read that. Then, Contents asked us to fill in the spaces by submitting our own answers to the question, “What are your first principles?” There’s difficulty in nailing down those first principles …

Domain Knowledge: What You Need – Or Don’t Need – To Know

Here’s what I’m not. I’m not a pipe fitter. I’m not a garage door salesman. I’m not a software engineer or a big box retail executive or a business journalist. I’m not a butcher, baker or candlestick maker. Damn it, Jim, I’m not a doctor NOR am I a mechanic. As content strategists, we are expected to help our clients communicate the concepts, benefits and …

On fanatics: or, cutting the long tail of company history and focusing on the customer

When you cross the line from general to specific, you also cross the line from tolerant to expectant. In other words, you’ll be given a pass if you’re talking in generals and leave something out. The second you cross into expert territory, though, you’re running with the big wolves, except these big wolves have specialized nomenclature and a list of best practices and several generations …