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Topic: Content Strategy

It’s time to take up the torch—time to make content matter. Preparing for a future where content is no longer stuck in websites, but orbits around users. A checklist for content work. Strategic content management. Testing content. Content modelling. Content templates to the rescue! Web governance—becoming an agent of change. Communications strategy in a crisis: what to do when your site or service fails.

  • Create a Content Compass

    by Meghan Casey · Issue 423 ·

    Content projects need a sense of direction: something to help you and your team provide the right content to the right people at the right time. Enter the content compass—centered on your strategy and supported by your messaging—to keep your content efforts on track. In this excerpt from Chapter 11 of The Content Strategy Toolkit, Meghan Casey explains her methodology for developing a core strategy statement and messaging framework.

  • The Homepage Exception

    by Johanna Bates · Issue 422 ·

    Structured, automatic systems are great at managing content efficiently—but not so great at accommodating human changes in that content. On the other hand, free-for-all WYSIWYGs lead to inconsistency and breakdowns. Stakeholders and content administrators need flexibility and control, especially where the all-important homepage is concerned. What’s a website to do? Johanna Bates suggests embracing a people-friendly homepage solution within our robot-driven architectures.

  • Crafting a Design Persona

    by Meg Dickey-Kurdziolek · Issue 421 ·

    Every product has a personality—but is yours deliberately designed? Meg Dickey-Kurdziolek shows you how Weather Underground solved its personality problems by creating a design persona, and teaches you collaborative methods for starting a personality adjustment in your company.

  • Approaching Content Strategy for Personalized Websites

    by Colin Eagan · Issue 420 ·

    Experience management systems are making it easier than ever to customize content for your visitors—but are you using your newfound personalizing powers for good (or for creepy)? Colin Eagan shows that personalization can be done, thoughtfully, using the same tools you would apply to any content strategy conundrum: by asking why, being deliberate, and putting users first.

  • What Really Matters: Focusing on Top Tasks

    by Gerry McGovern · Issue 418 ·

    Every piece of web content is important—or so every stakeholder insists. But what happens when dozens, even hundreds, of different tasks battle for space on your homepage and in your navigation? It’s time to make some hard choices about what does and doesn’t belong. Gerry McGovern demonstrates how to zero in on the tasks that matter most to your users.

  • The Core Model: Designing Inside Out for Better Results

    by Ida Aalen · Issue 411 ·

    We’ve all fallen into territorial arguments about what content belongs on a site’s homepage. It’s the most important part of your website, after all—or is it? Ida Aalen shows us how to circumvent these turf wars with the Core Model approach, starting with a workshop to get everyone on the same page about what really counts as important—to your users. By identifying the core elements of your website as a team, you’ll make those smaller decisions about page design and content placement a lot faster, and without getting political about it.

  • The Specialized Web: Working with Subject-Matter Experts

    by Amanda Costello · Issue 406 ·

    Content strategists often rely on the specialized knowledge of subject-matter experts (SMEs) to get the job done. But that job isn’t always straightforward; it’s complicated by different perspectives, communication styles, and project goals. Amanda Costello shows us how people skills—and the right mindset—can lead to better collaboration with SMEs and a smoother process from start to finish.

  • Training the CMS

    by Eileen Webb · Issue 405 ·

    Launching a site powered by lovingly crafted content models is a joy. But what happens in the weeks that follow, as authors start entering new content into the CMS? If you want to keep your well-structured content intact and on strategy, a training PDF won’t cut it. Let Eileen Webb show you what will: getting editorial guidelines where your authors need them most—in the CMS itself.

  • Gardens, Not Graves

    by Allen Tan · Issue 399 ·

    The stream is great for showing timely, scannable content. But solely organizing by reverse chronology leads to a dire loss of context. What can we do to make content easier to understand for those coming across it for the first time? Allen Tan explores methods for turning our untended archives into lively, flourishing spaces.

  • The Battle for the Body Field

    by Jeff Eaton · Issue 391 ·

    As we attempt to combine multi-device design requirements with complex, media-rich narratives, we’ve hit the wall. The chunky, fields-and-templates approach we’ve developed can’t save us from the mismatch between our content and HTML’s descriptive tools. The good news is we don’t have to convert all our projects to XML to learn from the XML community’s wisdom. By using custom elements and properties to represent content’s meaning, transforming it into HTML on output, and ensuring that editing tools share the same vocabulary, we can publish structured content that supports the needs of today’s editors and art directors while also making our content safe for future generations.

  • Responsive Design Won’t Fix Your Content Problem

    by Karen McGrane ·

    For years, we’ve told clients to serve the same content to every platform. We explained that Responsive Web Design allows content to squish itself into any container. Is it any wonder, then, that the belief has slowly grown that RWD can act as a substitute for actual content strategy?

  • Following Through with Post-Launch Strategy

    by Aaron Mentele · Issue 379 ·

    Design studios have traditionally worked on a “launch and dash” model: we study a client’s business problem; address it in design, UX, and content strategy; inject templates into a CMS; take the money, and run. But while we’ve spent years refining our web and UX practices, we’ve never paid much attention to what happens months after we deliver a site. If we truly want to help the client whose conversions are going flat, it’s time to embrace post-launch strategy—and stop thinking of it as a bundle of shameful SEO tricks that are disconnected from our work. Aaron Mentele shares how his small boutique studio hired a digital strategist, and the benefits that have accrued to the studio as well as its clients.

  • Summer Reading Issue

    by ALA Staff · Issue 378 ·

    Presenting the second annual ALA Summer Reading Issue—a deep pool of editor’s picks from the recent archives of A List Apart, sprinkled with some of our favorite outside links. This summer’s picks are arranged in clusters that echo the design process, and like all good summer reading, they travel light. (This issue is also available as a Readlist, suitable for reading on Kindle, iPhone, iPad, Readmill, or other ebook reader.) Dive in!

  • Don’t Poke the Bear: Creating Content for Sensitive Situations

    by Kate Kiefer Lee · Issue 377 ·

    Delivering bad news is hard, but it’s part of life and business. We notify customers when we’re out of a product they want to buy, and we send warnings when people violate our companies’ terms of service. God forbid we have to send a system alert because our database was hacked, affecting every one of our users. But these things happen to the best of us. Can you be the bearer of bad news in a way that respects your customers? Learn how to create empathetic content for tricky situations, and shape your internal culture to foster human values of support, respect, and empathy.

  • Designing for Breakpoints

    by Stephen Hay · Issue 376 ·

    Text, navigation, and tables, oh, my! What’s a responsive web designer to do? How can you confine your design to as few major breakpoints as possible? Where and when will you sketch minor breakpoints? How should you think about content while sketching? Is it possible to sketch on actual devices, and what are the accessibility implications of doing so? The answers to these and other profound questions will be found in this exclusive excerpt from Chapter 7 of Responsive Design Workflow, Stephen Hay’s new book, available now from New Riders.

  • “Like”-able Content: Spread Your Message with Third-Party Metadata

    by Clinton Forry · Issue 372 ·

    Woman does not share by links alone. Although formatting our content via structural markup makes it accessible across a multitude of platforms, standard HTML by itself offers no means to control how our message will come across when shared on popular social networks. Enter third-party metadata schemas. Facebook’s Open Graph protocol (OG) and Twitter’s Cards are metadata protocols designed to provide a better user experience around content shared on these social platforms. Clinton Forry explains how to use these tools for good.

  • W3C is Getting Some Work Done

    by The W3C ·

    In 2014, W3C turns 20. In web years that's something like 200. We last redesigned the W3C homepage and other top pages in 2008 to provide more content, clearer navigation, and other conventions of site design. But a lot has changed in five years, and we want to revamp the site in time for our twentieth birthday.

  • Windows on the Web

    by Karen McGrane ·

    You have five minutes while waiting for a friend to meet you for lunch, so you find yourself shopping for a new pair of shoes. When your friend arrives, you put the phone away, but leave the web page open to help you remember what you found when you get home.

  • Translation is UX

    by Antoine Lefeuvre · Issue 366 ·

    We—the people who make websites—now study almost every aspect of our trade, from content and usability to art direction and typography. Our attention to detail has never been greater as we strive to provide the best possible experience. Yet many users still experience products that lack personality or are difficult to understand. They are users of a translated version. While good localization boosts conversion rates, bad or partial translation may ruin a user experience, giving people an uneasy feeling about the whole company. If we care equally about all our users, it’s time we start thinking of translation as something slightly more complex than a word-to-word job. Antoine Lefeuvre shares why translation matters, and what it takes to get it right.

  • Uncle Sam Wants You (to Optimize Your Content for Mobile)

    by Karen McGrane · Issue 364 ·

    Thirty-one percent of Americans who access the internet from a mobile device say that’s the way they always or mostly go online. For this group, if your content doesn’t exist on mobile, it doesn’t exist at all. The U.S. government has responded with a broad initiative to make federal website content mobile-friendly. Karen McGrane explains why this matters—and what you can learn from it.

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