Blowing With The Wind Of Chaaaaange….

Scorpions!What a difference a year makes. At this time last year, I was working on the biggest content strategy project I had ever taken on while doing work for a client that had recently announced they were ending their 91 year relationship with my agency.

As I began wrapping up my time working on the Chevrolet project I was met with more change. I took on new clients in the Centers for Disease Control, Carrier, Olympic Paint and Stain and OnStar.

Along the way I also learned that I was going to be a father for the first time.

During the past 8 months I’ve been very fortunate to have the time to begin writing about things I love (context, neuro, etc.), working on projects that I’m passionate about and preparing for the arrival of my son. However, I was recently approached with the opportunity to take on a new challenge working on a brand that I have long admired. This opportunity allows me to be much closer to home and my family, while giving me the chance to work with team of digital professionals leading the way in terms of online communication.

So it’s both with a heavy heart and an excited mind that I announce that I’ll be joining Team Detroit to serve as an Enterprise Digital Strategist working on the Ford North America account. Though I no longer have content strategy in my title, rest assured that I’ll continue to be practicing it and forcing it upon my new friends and colleagues.

I can’t begin to say enough good things about the team at Campbell Ewald. The decision to leave the agency and a firmly established content strategy practice was not an easy one to come to, but the promise of an 11 mile commute and the chance to help shape one of the world’s most iconic brands was an opportunity that I couldn’t pass up. The good news is that my departure has left a vacancy in a fantastic group. Should you want to take an opportunity to work here in the Mitten with the likes of Chris Moritz, Jinita Shah, Arthur Mitchell and tons of more smart folks, you should check out this job description and speak kindly of me when you inquire.

What does this change mean for this space? Absolutely nothing. I’ll continue to be talking about context, testing and presenting my independent research and thoughts here. I’m recovering from Confab and hope to post lots and lots before baby Eizans greets us. Stay tuned.

Context As A Content Strategy: Let’s Hash It Out!

For the first time in my professional career, I took a pretty big leap. I told a room full of very, very smart user experience professionals at Internet User Experience 2010 that I believe content strategists are not doing enough to adequately prepare for the next big thing. I also mentioned that I believe that Context, not content, is the real king when it comes to the web.

Contextual Content Strategy

I’m happy to report that my thoughts and early stab at setting up the foundation for Context Strategy were both well received (see slides below).

Still, I’d like to reiterate that this process still needs refining and that we need to start finding better ways to account for personal behaviors (personal behavioral context) and personal situations (personal situational context) in order to take content strategy to the next level. When we combine personal behavioral and personal situational contexts we have the basis for what we’d potentially need to create a contextual based content strategy.

My next steps are to start exploring fields for content audits and persona development to begin accounting for context, while researching tools (including Eye Tracking, Functional MRI and biometric data) that can be synthesized on a project by project basis. Like I say in my presentation, I really need help formulating this discussion to get to a place where we can all start creating more meaningful content for users on the Web.

Comments on my presentation or the idea of Contextual Content Strategy in general are more than welcome. Let’s hash this thing out people!

Internet User Experience Conference this July. While I'm speaking as a member of the content strategy community, I'll be providing a heavy dose of context as the focus of my talk will be "Context as a Content Strategy."'>

Talking Context and Content Strategy: Internet User Experience 2010

I’m very excited to be able to announce that I’ll be a presenter in the Content Strategy sessions during the sixth-annual Internet User Experience Conference this July. While I’m speaking as a member of the content strategy community, I’ll be providing a heavy dose of context as the focus of my talk will be “Context as a Content Strategy.”

Basically, my presentation will attempt to shine more light on content’s oft overlooked spouse, context.

As web designers and user experience professionals we are all aware of the importance of content and we consider how this material is used, but more often than not we don’t consider what actually makes it up. Is the material too difficult to understand? Have we provided adequate background information on the topic? Is there another piece of content (even if this content doesn’t belong to us) that helps to support it and give it relevance?

These are the questions all content strategists and content developers need to begin considering prior to the onset of production. In order to achieve this process, content strategists and site owners must begin to be more critical of content during heuristic reviews, content audits and gap analyses to account for contextual improvements that will make content more relevant for visitors.

My IUE presentation attempts to begin to define how content strategists can evaluate and plan for content through a more specific contextual lens through examining how the brain processes, accesses and stores information and what factors content strategists can begin to consider when planning for supporting content and creating deeper, more meaningful content plans across multiple devices (iPad, Smart Phone, Laptop, Desktop, Etc.).

If you’re not familiar with IUE, the multi-day event covers most aspects of web site design and strategy, including user experience design, graphics, branding, social networking, accessibility, effective web writing, the migration to mobile, and enhancements that drive customers to your site.

I’m absolutely honored to have my own little spot and will be joining a panel discussion on content strategy as well with a bunch of smart cookies that include Chris Moritz (digital content strategy manager at C-E, Shauna Nicholson and many more. If you’re interested in attending my talk, I’ll be speaking Monday, July 26 (time is still TBD). Following my presentation will be the content strategy/content management panel. I’ll announce those details as I get them.

There’s still time to register, and if you can make it, you’ll no doubt be treated to a lot of interesting talks and learn a whole lot more about some really innovative things going on in the digital space.

Hope to see some of you there!