From AARGH to AAAHH: Web Content Strategy


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June 2010 PD Session for the Edmonton IABC Chapter.

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  • I have to tell you that this is a bit of an intimidating topic to speak on. I had suggested two topics, this and something social media related and I have to admit that social media is easier. I could have wowed you with some success stories, history and my knowledge of obscure services, but here we are talking about something much more HUGE! It’s not that I’m not thrilled; I feel a lot more passion about this topic. I’ve got a history with web content and there’s a lot of past pain and future potential that makes it an exciting thing to talk about.
  • Let’s start with a little background.
  • It’s true. Web content usually sucks. There’s either too much or too little. It’s outdated. It’s underplanned. And it’s hard to find what you’re looking for. We’ve all lost countless hours on the web searching for some piece of information on a website (built for us) that doesn’t seem willing to cooperate. We’ve got a long way to go.
  • I wish I could say that I discovered the issues with web content 25 years ago in a lab when the web was being conceived.
  • It was sometime after the beginning of the web.
  • Let’s
  • Yahoo looked like this...
  • AltaVista was cool and looked like this...
  • CNN looked like this...
  • So, here I was in 1990-2000 at MacEwan. The .com bubble was big (but bursting) and IT was still a magical land of Unicorns and Fairies. I took an intro to the web course and I was hooked. As an assignment I took on my first freelance gig doing a website for my in-laws’ realty business. I was so proud of my work, but something was missing.
  • I’ve now been running lift over 8 years and I’ve been involved with the creation, launch and management for LOTS of websites. I lost count somewhere in the hundreds. With all those experiences, as a team, we began to learn. Working with such a variety of organizations and talents has shaped our understanding of communication on the web. We’ve become members of a community of professionals. We’re integrated into the ethos of the web. And as we’ve grown up, the web has too. It’s not all about tricks and gimmicks; the web wants more.
  • So we began to adopt sayings in the design world.
  • We sought justice.
  • And we began to hold ideals.
  • We even got cute and clear with our values.
  • We adjusted our own intentions.
  • And there have been successes. Even several. Just to name a few recent examples...
  • Thousands of pages 24 local gov departments A very capable communications team We were challenged by the com team to come up with reasons behind the recommendations. We grew and a great relationship developed.
  • Over a decade of news archives Hundreds of photos Stakeholders from around the province with varied backgrounds Again, David lead the communications team and we clicked. We gave him the site he had always wanted and he gave us the communications experience that allowed us to deliver.
  • Thousands of resources Varied content Little to no brand development Kristina sorted through all of it with us to develop a lovely site that’s very useful.
  • We have begun to realize that we love YOU GUYs. Over the years we’ve noticed the pattern of success around projects where someone is *really* caring for the content.
  • there are still successes and failures
  • it’s like that perfect cup of coffee sometimes it works out and sometimes it doesn’t and it’s so hard to figure out why
  • then one day recently... I was attending a UX conference in Banff called CanUX And...
  • Get started. At the beginning, it’s a very good place to start. Develop a taste for good content. Start bookmarking examples of great content online. Be aware of when you feel like a website’s content is serving you.
  • Understand that Content Strategy is something that won’t just take care of itself. Read. Buy Kristina’s book and read online. Start developing your own strategy and process for handling online content.
  • It has to start with you. Communications needs to own your organization’s website. Somewhere along the line IT owned our websites and it’s time the medium stopped ruling the message. You need to be empowered to deliver the message that your audience needs. Work with technical professionals, consultants and creatives that are talking the same language.
  • well, some of you are already doing this stuff. And I like that. Let’s share information more freely and make the web a little more of a *lovable place.
  • From AARGH to AAAHH: Web Content Strategy

    2. 2. Design is communication, not decoration. BACKGROUND Thursday, June 24, 2010
    3. 3. WEB CONTENT USUALLY SUCKS :-( Thursday, June 24, 2010
    4. 4. when did I realize there was a problem? Thursday, June 24, 2010
    5. 5. sometime later... Thursday, June 24, 2010
    6. 6. 2000 the year Thursday, June 24, 2010
    7. 7. Design is communication, not decoration. Thursday, June 24, 2010
    8. 8. Design is communication, not decoration. Thursday, June 24, 2010
    9. 9. Design is communication, not decoration. Thursday, June 24, 2010
    10. 10. Spiess Realty (circa 2000) - house navigation drawn in Paint - shimmery wallpaper background - tables with double borders - content strategy? not so much. Thursday, June 24, 2010
    11. 11. fast forward a decade Thursday, June 24, 2010
    12. 12. We make lovable* websites. Thursday, June 24, 2010
    13. 13. Design is communication, not decoration. We make lovable* websites. Thursday, June 24, 2010
    14. 14. Technology should empower communication, not control it. We make lovable* websites. Thursday, June 24, 2010
    15. 15. Your users want to feel smart and productive when they visit your site. We make lovable* websites. Thursday, June 24, 2010
    16. 16. Don’t forget your users. Thursday, June 24, 2010
    17. 17. Your web designer should get to know you & your message. Thursday, June 24, 2010
    18. 18. things got a little better. there were wins. Thursday, June 24, 2010
    19. 19. Strathcona County With our help, Strathcona County was able to sort through several thousand pages, and combine the messages of over twenty local government departments into one elegant, cohesive design. Thursday, June 24, 2010
    20. 20. AUPE Careful planning and collaboration with AUPE’s experienced communications team produced a crisp, easy to use website with hundreds of pages, photos and twelve years of news articles. Thursday, June 24, 2010
    21. 21. LSCC We worked with the Land Stewardship Centre of Canada to help create a better website, resource database and a more consistent look and feel. Thursday, June 24, 2010
    22. 22. we + communications professionals. Thursday, June 24, 2010
    23. 23. Design is communication, but still, content was not decoration. HIT AND MISS Thursday, June 24, 2010
    24. 24. Design is communication, not decoration. Thursday, June 24, 2010
    25. 25. then one day... Thursday, June 24, 2010
    26. 26. (buy it now!) Thursday, June 24, 2010
    27. 27. LEARN PLAN CREATE GOVERN Thursday, June 24, 2010
    28. 28. LEARN Thursday, June 24, 2010
    29. 29. from LEARN SOLUTION Design is communication, not decoration. do less, not more figure out what you have and where it’s coming from learn how to listen put someone in charge start asking, why? Thursday, June 24, 2010
    30. 30. from LEARN PROBLEM Design is communication, not decoration. content is complex no one owns the content you never meant to be a publisher content is seen as a commodity our standards for content are really, really low Thursday, June 24, 2010
    31. 31. from LEARN DISCIPLINE Design is communication, not decoration. the advocate for content throughout the project provides the background to allow stakeholders to make decisions content recommendations based on business and user needs sees to the implementation of the content online Thursday, June 24, 2010
    32. 32. PLAN Thursday, June 24, 2010
    33. 33. from PLAN AUDIT Design is communication, not decoration. create a content inventory do a quantitative audit do a qualitative audit approach specialized audits Thursday, June 24, 2010
    34. 34. from PLAN ANALYSIS Design is communication, not decoration. how does content happen? who are your users, and what do they want? what are your competitors up to? who else influences your users’ opinions? Thursday, June 24, 2010
    35. 35. from PLAN STRATEGY Design is communication, not decoration. what content do we need to create? why? how will the content be structured? how will users find the content? how will we get from here to launch? what’s next once the content is “out there”? Thursday, June 24, 2010
    36. 36. (buy it now!) Thursday, June 24, 2010
    37. 37. Design is communication, not decoration. WHAT NOW? Thursday, June 24, 2010
    38. 38. Design is communication, not decoration. 1. GET STARTED. Thursday, June 24, 2010
    39. 39. Design is communication, not decoration. 2. LEARN. Thursday, June 24, 2010
    40. 40. Design is communication, not decoration. 3. OWN IT. Thursday, June 24, 2010
    41. 41. some of you are already doing this stuff. Like Thursday, June 24, 2010
    42. 42. Micah Slavens @micajobe Thursday, June 24, 2010