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Content strategy

Content strategy is the practice of planning for content creation, delivery, and governance. (source: Wikipedia)

Responsive content modeling

Creating a model of the content world always must be systematic a.k.a. systems thinking.

“The most important thing anyone can do on a web project is find its nucleus. The core, that central piece of content around which everything orbits. Finding that reveals how all of the content fits together. It offers clarity to the relationships between the project’s content and the project’s vision, and will make your process far more successful.”

(Steve Fisher a.k.a. @hellofisher ~ Republic of Quality)

Every company is an experience company

CX, the sum of design for UX and BX a.k.a. XD.

“Reflecting on my earlier work on brands as media companies, I realize that the word media was really a placeholder for experience. It’s not that every company should be a media company per se – but rather, that every company must become an experience company. Media is one kind of experience – but for many companies, the right kind of experience is not media, at least if we understand “media” to mean content. (…) I believe that every brand needs to get good at experience design and delivery. Those that are great at it tend to grow by exponential word of mouth – think of Google, Facebook, Uber, Airbnb, or Earnest (a new lending company). When marketing becomes experience design, brands win.”

(John Batelle’s a.k.a. @johnbattelle ~ Search Blog)

Reuse is a good tactic but a poor strategy

Reuse was the holy grail of code, now of content.

“(…) reusing text where you would have been writing substantially the same text anyway is clearly the right thing to do. But taking all the various ways in which you might express an important idea and combining them into one expression is a bad idea. Your idea will have more impact and more reach if it is expressed in different ways and in different media for different audiences, different purposes, and different occasions.”

(Mark Baker a.k.a. @mbakeranalecta ~ Every Page Is Page One)

What is a card?

My C5 design law of cards: Cards contain content chunks and code.

“(…) when we talk about cards in digital products, it’s important to understand that there are actually two, interrelated concepts at work that some people conflate as one. I’ll use some grossly simplified language to label them as cards as presentation and cards as third-party content. (…) A card is a single unit of content or functionality, presented in a concise visual package. More advanced cards use that form to surface content or functionality from other apps, and allow users to interact with that content or functionality directly in the context of where a user encounters the card.”

(Khoi Vinh a.k.a. @khoi ~ Subtraction)

Designing for content

Great example of content-first experience design.

“Our jobs as designers, coders, thinkers and writers is to deliver relevant content in a meaningful context. We are creating a complete reading experience where not only the visual delivery is responsive (desktop to tablet to smartphone) but also the content is responsive to the context of it’s consumption. We look at new phenomena like agile publishing and self-publishing (and a pretty triumphant return of print) and we collect data to get insights in the behavior of our audiences.”

(Robert Stulle a.k.a. @robertstulle ~ EdenSpiekermann)

The container model and blended content: A new approach to how we present content on the Guardian

The container model published on a Freitag. Re-usability of a content design concept.

“This way of thinking and curating our content became known as ‘blended content’. Each container is then filled with content containing a blend of verticals, a blend of tones or both. A container full of blended content can aggregate content from across the whole of the Guardian. Rather than pigeonholing and presenting content on the basis of how it was commissioned, blending frees it to appear anywhere in any combination.”

(Nick Haley a.k.a. twobobswerver ~ The Guardian beta)

The death of technical writing: A two-part rant

So many in our field have a similar background of tech writing, communication or documentation. These document people became the page people when the web hit them. Now they move on to the content universe. Keep on moving…

“Since the internet bubble burst of those many years ago, we’ve seen some large software companies stick around, although usually a little smaller they once were. And we’ve seen a few upstart companies turn into similarly large behemoths. Those companies still hire technical writers, although even then they tend to have different names, and often different roles. And they also hire people with funny new job titles like content strategist.”

(Neal Kaplan a.k.a. @nealkaplan ~ Customers and Content)

Content planning: How to use UX research to uncover hidden needs

CS and UX in concert.

“Understanding how people think and what makes them tick is the common building block behind both creating content and designing experiences that matter to people. But before you dive into content planning or begin designing an experience, you have to understand what your audience finds meaningful. This is where UX research can provide insight to help inform content marketing efforts.”

(Caitlin Vlastakis Smith a.k.a. @caitvsmith ~ Content Marketing Institute)

The psychology of digital content

Used to think in terms of perception, cognition and emotion when designing instructional software. L’histoire se… now it’s (digital) content.

“A cognitive effect is just a change in the mind of the audience. When we learn or are influenced or make a decision, there is a corresponding cognitive effect. Most of these are small and incremental. Some are breakthroughs. All things considered, breakthroughs are more relevant than small changes to our attitudes. The actual theory is quite a bit more complex than this, but we can gloss over that complexity for the time being.”

(James Mathewson ~ Writing for digital)

Change management for enterprise content strategy

The enterprise context always adds complexity to the matter.

“Content strategy, its processes and tactics, are for many employees a new way of doing things. With so many content stakeholders and creators within a company, it can be incredibly difficult to not only get buy-in for strategic enterprise content approaches, but also on-going adoption.”

(Kris Mausser a.k.a. @krismausser ~ the discontented company)

The trouble with content

Content as the generic term for all things digital stuff.

“The core problem seems to be a feeling that the word ‘content’ reduces thoughtful, artistic expressions to a commodity. The websites and apps we develop to elegantly deliver words, images and media experiences are perceived as empty containers, hungry for content to be poured into them. Content marketing campaigns depend on calendars that demand to be filled on a regularly scheduled basis. This may give the impression that an effective approach to content is to churn out generic stuff that fits the size and shape of the container, and meets the deadlines.”

(Rachel Lovinger a.k.a. @rlovinger ~ Razorfish Scatter Gather)

Responsive Design is a poor man’s Content Strategy

Sometimes, you need the Dutch truth to be told.

“Responsive design is a poor man’s content strategy to address multiple channels. Perhaps a technical masterpiece, but it adds nothing to the transmission of a message. It helps nothing with the basics of content strategy: the transfer of certain key messages to your target audience. Indeed, there is also such a thing as a need. When I use a smartphone, I have other needs, then when I’m on a desktop. Responsive design – solely – does not respond to that fact. It’s a technical trick that will make everything fit on my screen and makes it readable.”

(Ric van Westhreenen a.k.a. @roodlicht ~ Rood Licht)

UX designers should be content strategists too

And information architects, visual designers, interaction designers, web designers, applications designers, etc. too.

“If we, as UX designers, are providing complete UX solutions and setting our clients up to successfully manage their site or application moving forward, then we are providing some form of information architecture, interaction design and content strategy together.”

(Callie Myers ~ Nerdery)

No model survives first contact with real content

Content collision ahead.

“So go ahead and break your models, test them by running various scenarios using real content. Inspect, then adapt your models because that’s design. This kind of model design is best done early and often, rather than downstream in production where the cost of change is insane.”

(Cleve Gibbon a.k.a. @cleveg)

Why designers need to craft words not pixels

Design with prose, not pixels.

“In this interview, Jeffrey Zeldman explains why you should use words and stories to frame an experience. He reveals his writing process and why good copy teases interest; and why making your content the focus, and removing distractions, engages readers and improves web experience.”

(Jeffrey Zeldman a.k.a. @zeldman)

Content as medium

As medium, material, and Marshall McLuhan.

“The industry seemed to assume that it was the very physicality of books, newspapers and magazines that we craved – or that we required in order to comprehend the idea of a digital equivalent. The industry was wrong. Digital newspapers that were actually much more like TV news-channel tickers have now all but disappeared.”

(Matt Gemmell a.k.a. @mattgemmell)

Controlling the pace of UX with content strategy

Content and interaction, a perfect match for the UX of apps?

Interview with Margot Bloomstein ~ “In some scenarios, getting a user to convert or react to a call to action is the desired outcome. It means your design and experience work. But if users are coming to and then quickly leaving your site, what are they really experiencing? If they don’t take the time to explore and discover they may not have any loyalty to you or the experience. And if you’re dealing in complex decisions, you want your users to take the time they need to fully understand and commit to their choice.”

(Sean Carmichael ~ UIE Brain Sparks)