Learn why alignment and collaboration are secret weapons in the fight for successful content strategies.
I have always liked the idea of medieval mapmakers using the phrase "Here Be Dragons" to denote unexplored or dangerous territories. Sticking a fire-breathing reptile in documentation when you run out of facts? That's panache.
These days, people aren't so stylish. When an information architect (or user experience designer) doesn't have the time (or the talent) to document content requirements, they stick a "page stack" on their site map. It looks like this:
Don' t get me wrong: I'm cool with the stack if there is accompanying documentation that provides content details. But when an information architect uses the stack in place of content requirements, they are leaving the client in unexplored and dangerous territories (without even a dragon to warn them).
So, I have an idea. If you're a web professional doing information architecture and you're not documenting content requirements, stick a dragon on your site map instead of a page stack. This will be a nice heads up for your client and particularly fun for those of you who used to be designers.
If you're a client and you see a dragon on your site map, consider why your information architect is not worried about the information. Then, call Brain Traffic.
P.S.: Unfortunately, that here-be-dragons bit is mostly a myth. Only one medieval artifact, the Lenox Globe
(ca. 1510), actually has the phrase "here be dragons" on it. Well, technically, there's also the Borgia map (ca. 1430), but it doesn't really say "here be dragons." It says (over a dragon-like figure), "Here are men who have large horns of the length of four feet, and there are even serpents so large, that they could eat an ox whole." Put that on your site map.
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Will this information add to the experience? What if you just got rid of it?
Whether you’re in a decision-making position or not, it can be difficult to figure out how to use your powers for good to defeat bad content. Fear not! If you’ve been quietly suffering the knowledge—nay, the CERTAINTY—that your content stinks, here are a few ways to take steps in the right direction.
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Tack this handy list of web-writing techniques to your wall.
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Brace yourselves, content folks. We're going to talk economics. I promise there will be no math involved.
Without governance, your content strategy has no teeth. And a content strategy without teeth may as well not exist.
The other day I posted Whitney Hess' article 10 Most Common Misconceptions About User Experience Design on Twitter, along with "'User experience is not user interface design' and other good tidbits." Then I re-read the article ... and my response ended up being much longer than 140 characters.
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Your writing is magic. Their feedback is tragic.
Think no one will notice or care about your little grammatical misstep? Inconceivable!
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Although academia and consulting can sometimes seem like different planets, content strategists and librarians have a lot in common—after all, we all love content.
Small organization? Small budget? Don't get down in the mouth. A content strategy is still within reach. We'll show you how.