Content strategy - Written aspects of interactiondesign

28 Apr 2004 - 9:39am
12 years ago
2 replies
571 reads

Hi Molly

Molly Wright Steenson wrote:

> Content strategy isn't just a matter of writing. It's understanding all
> the content -- which could include different media, or interactive,
> user-generated content, or ways to manage it (content management
> systems, for example). It's about setting out for your client a set of
> clear decisions to make about content. Dynamic, or static? Who will
> update it? How frequently?

***In discussing content strategy, you've added an entirely new dimension to
this thread. So far, we'd been focusing on text as an element of interaction
design in applications--Web or desktop. Content strategy is certainly
important for content-rich Web sites and CD-ROM publishing. I'm sure our
previous neglect of it was just a matter of focus. I can see that you've
given this a lot of thought. Are you still specializing in content strategy?
I'd like to learn more about the tools (CMS, etc.) that one can bring to
bear on such problems. Can you recommend any good sources of information
about this on the Web?

> It's a vital part of a user experience team, whether these roles are
> played by a few people doing many things, or (like it was back in the
> days of huge web app development) one person playing each role.

***It is for content Web sites. Just curious... What do you mean by "back in
the days of huge web app development"? This is still going on as far as I

> Content strategists should be working with people doing user research or
> observation -- or can be one of the people involved in this activity --
> because they will see aspects of media and cues for the language, tone,
> style, and functional needs of users. A content strategist works hand
> in hand with an information architect to flesh out the information, and
> should have some input into how it's organized. She also works with a
> UI designer to determine how best to handle material on a screen by
> screen basis. How much room is there? How do the pages flow? The
> content strategist can ensure that the content best fits the page
> structure, and set out guidelines so that it can be updated without
> breaking the work the users have done.

***As a former author of online help systems, I've done a lot of this kind
of work--just never called it "content strategy". I imagine this is probably
true for a lot of people. It's interesting to see your perspective on how
this specialized role fits into the overall development process.


Pabini Gabriel-Petit
Principal & User Experience Architect
Spirit Softworks


28 Apr 2004 - 10:05am
Elizabeth Buie

Pabini writes:

<<Just curious... What do you mean by "back in the days of huge web app
development"? This is still going on as far as I know.>>

It certainly is. :-)

Elizabeth Buie
Computer Sciences Corporation
Rockville, Maryland


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28 Apr 2004 - 10:46am
Olly Wright

On Apr 28, 2004, at 5:05 PM, Elizabeth Buie wrote:

> Pabini writes:
> <<Just curious... What do you mean by "back in the days of huge web app
> development"? This is still going on as far as I know.>>
> It certainly is. :-)

Of course it is -- I wasn't clear on my point.

In the late late 90s, at the height of the boom, web app projects had
multimillion dollar budgets (or multi ten million). An Internet
consulting firm at that point might have 30-40 person teams (including
user experience, business strategy, project management and technology)
working on the project at various points.

At that time, user experience teams for such projects usually had one
(or more) individuals filling each of these roles, coming on and off
the project throughout its entire lifecycle:

experience architect/strategist
user researcher
information architect
content strategist
user interface engineer
production manager
visual designer
brand strategist
usability engineer
front-end developer

When the crash happened, teams like these greatly compressed.

So web apps are now not usually built by monster user experience teams

.... which was the point that I was making. (Incidentally, the company I
worked for went bankrupt and parts were bought up by another very large
consulting firm -- I would suspect that they now have leaner teams than

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