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SHUNNING WEB                                                     SUBURBIA                                                 ...
img source: http://www.phxre.com/willo-historical-homes-for-sale.phpThese are homes from a neighborhood in downtown Phoeni...
And they all look just the same...But most neighborhoods in Phoenix dont look like that, in fact they look a lot more like...
Oh, babies!Photo cred: Alfred EisenstaedtLook into the history of suburbia and you’ll trace it back to babies, basically. ...
Processes for building were                             unsustainableThis put a lot of stress on our cities, especially on...
A system of building with  interchangeable parts and modular structuresimg source: http://levittownbeyond.com/myPictures/1...
1     modular                       2      structured                       3      nimble                       4      int...
“I want to build a town                                                        to be proud of.”                           ...
1     rapidly changing demands              2     need for flexibility and speed              3     structured system solu...
img source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/library_of_virginia/2898490777/in/photostream/ img source: https://si0.twimg.com/p...
modular                                             sterile      structured      nimble                            ≠      ...
modular                                                vibrant      structured      nimble                             +  ...
See the similarities?                                                But it’s not automagical img source: http://www.flickr...
1      plan           2      work together           3      give equal priority           4      think like an art directo...
We need smart planning and strong workflowsimg source: http://levittownbeyond.com/myPictures/1958Rancher.jpgOne of the firs...
“But if our content authors aren’t           supported in this [structured] process,           it will be a hard battle fo...
science                      wonder                               artJust as only focusing on the voice, tone and message ...
“Metadata is the new art direction.”                                                                                      ...
Art direction          1                Brings clarity and definition          2     Enhances meaning          3     Evoke...
Let’s talk, preferably with cocktails.                           @rebekahcancinoSo far, we’ve made awesome progress with a...
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Lightning Talk: Shunning Web Suburbia - CS Forum 2012

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We're working to get our content ready to go anywhere, but are we inadvertently headed for a sea of sameness?

In the 1950s, American tract housing was our answer to the post-war population boom. This utilitarian system of construction was designed for speed and efficiency, but we ended up trading character for a mass of canned communities. Are we at risk of history repeating itself in our digital future?

If we want an adaptive web full of fluid content that's rich and unique, it's going to take all of us working together and building processes that encourage distinct results.

Published in: Technology
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Lightning Talk: Shunning Web Suburbia - CS Forum 2012

  1. SHUNNING WEB SUBURBIA Rebekah Cancino //CS Forum 2012 @rebekahcancinoimg source: http://www.edb.utexas.edu/faculty/salinas/students/student_sites/Fall2007/John_David/images/levittownbig.jpg Hi my name is Rebekah Cancino, Im a communication strategist at Forty, an experiencedesign firm in Phoenix, Arizona. Let’s talk about something that is very important for us toconsider while were working to make our content structured and ready to go anywhere.
  2. img source: http://www.phxre.com/willo-historical-homes-for-sale.phpThese are homes from a neighborhood in downtown Phoenix, (That little white duplex in thebottom corner is actually where I live) in a historic district called Willo, built during the 1930sand 40s. What I love about my neighborhood is that it’s so vibrant and full of character.
  3. And they all look just the same...But most neighborhoods in Phoenix dont look like that, in fact they look a lot more like this.A sea of monochromatic sameness and I think this is a bit sad and depressing. How did wego from neighborhoods like Willo, that are so full of character, to cookie cutter communitieslike this?
  4. Oh, babies!Photo cred: Alfred EisenstaedtLook into the history of suburbia and you’ll trace it back to babies, basically. More specificallythe post World War II baby boom when all the soldiers were returning home, getting married,and starting families with lots and lots of kids.
  5. Processes for building were unsustainableThis put a lot of stress on our cities, especially ones that were already overcrowded. Theprocesses for building homes at the time were suddenly unsustainable and we could not keepup with the influx of new housing demand.
  6. A system of building with interchangeable parts and modular structuresimg source: http://levittownbeyond.com/myPictures/1958Rancher.jpg photo credit: WOLYNSKISo along came a man named Bill Levitt, who would later become known as the father ofmodern suburbia. During the war, he had perfected a process of building mass amounts ofmilitary housing using uniform and interchangeable parts.
  7. 1 modular 2 structured 3 nimble 4 interchangeable UTILITARIAN SYSTEMS OF CONSTRUCTIONAfter the war, he became convinced that utilitarian systems of construction were the answerto the housing crisis, because the methods were modular, structured, nimble and allowed forvery fast production of homes built on land right outside the city.
  8. “I want to build a town to be proud of.” - Bill Levittimg source: http://cdn.dipity.com/uploads/events/87d21e5781626805627e89cd023c419c_1M.pngMr. Levitt wasn’t a bad fellow, he really had the best intentions. He wanted to provideaffordable, modern, comfortable housing for war veterans and their families, AND buildsomething he could be proud of. We can relate to that.
  9. 1 rapidly changing demands 2 need for flexibility and speed 3 structured system solution WE’VE GOT A LOT IN COMMONThere are a lot of connections with the start of suburbia and where we are now with content.Were facing similar challenges, in a different context, and we are changing our workflows toadapt to those challenges.
  10. img source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/library_of_virginia/2898490777/in/photostream/ img source: https://si0.twimg.com/profile_banners/11855482/1348146182/webIn seeing the similarities with between this two seemingly disparate situations, there isactually an opportunity here for us to learn from their mistakes.
  11. modular sterile structured nimble ≠ bland monotonous interchangeable boring IT DOESN’T HAVE TO BE THIS WAYThe mistake Im talking about is that of allowing a system for doing something, completelystrip away the personality of the thing the system is designed to serve in the first place. Itreally doesnt have to be that way, but it could be, if were not careful.
  12. modular vibrant structured nimble + fresh diverse interchangeable rich WE CAN DO BETTERI think we can do better. And we have to, because people dont fall in love with a business ororganization, they fall in love with a personality. Structured content, done the right way cangive us content thats fluid and ready to go anywhere but also full of life and lovable.
  13. See the similarities? But it’s not automagical img source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/trialsanderrors/3117920975/But thats not going to happen all on its own. We need to be careful not to get so granularand clinical in our approach that we inadvertently create our very own sprawling websuburbia.
  14. 1 plan 2 work together 3 give equal priority 4 think like an art director (No, seriously.)As were bringing in our focus and starting from the smallest canvas out, its important for usto its important for us to build in ways to keep our content alive and our brand messagesintact.
  15. We need smart planning and strong workflowsimg source: http://levittownbeyond.com/myPictures/1958Rancher.jpgOne of the first things we can do is plan and intentionally allow time and processes in ourworkflows that ensure our content stays distinct and wonderful.
  16. “But if our content authors aren’t supported in this [structured] process, it will be a hard battle for us to implement in our organisations. Let’s work together to sell the new magic.” - Sally BagshawWell also need to work together really closely: content strategists, IAs, developers, designersand most importantly content authors. As Sally Bagshaw said at ConFab earlier this year, ifour authors arent supported and on board then well really have problems.
  17. science wonder artJust as only focusing on the voice, tone and message of our content, has failed us. Focusingsolely on structure and organization, will fail us too. We need to maintain equal balance inour priorities, or we’ll end up with a bunch of adaptable content that doesn’t inspire ormotivate us at all.
  18. “Metadata is the new art direction.” - Ethan Resnickimg source: http://therarebulldog.org.s47293.gridserver.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/01/eethapnl.jpgFinally, I think we all could could benefit from thinking more like an art director. Theres beena lot of talk about this quote by Ethan Resnick, Metadata is the new art direction. We lovethat, because we know that we need rule based instructions to impart human decisionmaking into automatic processes.
  19. Art direction 1 Brings clarity and definition 2 Enhances meaning 3 Evokes the right emotion 4 Makes you memorable/lovable From Dan Mall’s A List Apart article, Art Direction and DesignBut lets make sure to consider all that art direction really encompasses: it elevates meaning,evokes the right emotion, and helps makes our content memorable and amazing.
  20. Let’s talk, preferably with cocktails. @rebekahcancinoSo far, we’ve made awesome progress with adaptive content, but weve only scratched thesurface, and its never too early to start safeguarding against the suburbs.

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