Content is King

Last week I attended an Information Architecture & User Experience Meetup on content strategy in Seattle. It’s a big commitment of time to get downtown on a rainy evening, but it’s part of my commitment to professional development.

When I was accepted into the user-centered design program at the University of Washington, I wasn’t sure just where my communications experience and interests fit in. So I dove into exploring the field of user experience design (UX). I attended events hosted by the Special Interest Group on Computer-Human Interaction (SIGCHI), Content Strategy Meetups, User Experience Professionals Association (UXPA) presentations, Society for Technical Communications networking, World Information Architecture Day, and various WordPress meetups.

I have found that my “people” – the ones whose skills and geeky tendencies fit mine – are content strategists and information architects. I have always been a customer advocate who believes that content is king.

I am also a UX designer with many years of experience in the fields of usability, content strategy, and information design – I just didn’t call it those things at the time.

One of the slides at last week Information Architecture Meetup showed a stuffed squirrel amidst a disassembled jigsaw puzzle. The squirrel wore a crown. The presenter, Misty Weaver, explained that the art of piecing content together into a cohesive whole requires extreme focus and mastery – and in her case, loud music.

Like Misty, I love making content fit together. I also love finding the pieces that just don’t fit, so we can cut content down to what is most important for each web page and website to provide.

She described a content audit identifying:

  • What content you have on your website
  • Where is it?
  • Is it any good?

My favorite slide of the night said simply: “The internet is full. Please stop.”

My UX niche is in big picture thinking and understanding what each agency and website has to offer that is unique and valuable to your visitors. The right content, well-organized, is a powerful thing.

It’s my passion.

I always come home from a professional meeting with a few new Twitter feeds to follow, blogs to read, and insights into the user experience design process.

Takeaways from last week include:

Misty Weaver’s Meaning and Measure blog, where you can learn more about content strategy and the value of content audits.

Yes, I can help you with that.