Tools, Dependence, and My War with the Road

It was dark when I stood up. There was a flash and a lot of movement, and then it was dark. Except for one streetlight, and then another. The road was a black canyon, kept awake by the steady blinking of my back taillight. Instinctively, I moved every limb and concentrated on the pain. Where was it coming from? I was scraped up. I already …

A Few Words on Mismatched Minifigs

My son has taken the head off of every one of his LEGO minifigs. He has rearranged everyone’s hair, given them new pants, and tossed the weapons into a giant pile on his LEGO table. He has no regard for canon. In the story of Star Wars, it’s now Darth who shot first, doing so while wearing an old west sheriff’s hat. Who does he …

Where You Are Is Perfect: Thoughts On Titles, Promise, and Camp

I don’t know what to tell people when they ask me what I do. I tell them that I help plan websites, because using my actual professional titles – content strategist; information architect; user experience strategist – leads to more confusion. Confusion not about what the title means, but about whether or not I do the things necessary to claim those titles. Some thoughts on that, camp, kayaking, and a painting that turned out to be totally bogus.

The New Smashing Book: Now with More ME!

I’m excited to officially announce the my inclusion in The Smashing Book #4: New Perspectives on Web Design. SURPRISE – I wrote about content strategy. The chapter, which focuses on both sides of the content strategy landscape – both user needs and editor needs – serves as a capstone to all of this empathy stuff that’s I’ve been writing and talking about over the past year and a half. So go buy it.

Empathy and Content Strategy: on Teaching, Listening and Affecting Change

Content strategy practitioners – and, really, the entire UX umbrella – serve a unique role in the life of a web property, in that we act as an advocate for people we may never know. But there’s another element of this process that can often be overlooked, and it’s the audience we know and understand and work with on a daily basis: the client.

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, …

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 …

Callan on “Content First”

Spot on tidbit from Seattle’s own James Callan: develop your site with content in mind from the beginning, but don’t be so strict as to expect finalized web content before design begins. From “Content doesn’t need to come first” on Scarequot.es “Content first vs. content from the beginning: Is it semantics? Maybe. But it matters. I’ve seen a number of people who interpret “content first” …