It’s been a surreal few weeks across the globe thanks to the coronavirus pandemic. And it’s only getting surrealer. One reassuring side effect is the surge of resources for dealing with the virus and its impacts surfacing from various individuals, collectives, and organizations. Produced in good faith by experts and non-experts alike, many of these resources are crowdsourced, allowing people in far-flung locations to collaborate in ways unheard of in previous global disasters. As a human with a social anarchist bent, I find this type of self-organizing incredibly reassuring. As a digital experience designer, though, I find a lot of these resources horribly broken in their user experience. With the stakes as high as they are, making these tools usable and ethical is critical. So I've compiled some guidance and caveats for those looking to create a digital resources of their own.
- 2020 Digital Disaster Response: Creating Tech-based Resources
- 2020 Digital Lessons From a Caucus App DebacleRegardless of party affiliation (none for me, thanks), no one should have been surprised by the recent Democratic debacle in Iowa. Media has been hard at work digging into the root causes of the caucus reporting breakdown. Turns out, there's an app for that. And where there's an app, there's going to be Kool-aid. In this case, the Kool-aid was served up by Democratic Party officials who insisted the caucus app was going to be a-okay. Given that it ended up resoundingly not okay, perhaps it's worth taking note of a few lessons we can apply in our own digital day-to-day.
- 2019 Reduce Your Content OverheadHow much time do you spend managing content? Do you spend all day fielding the same questions over and over? Are you scrambling to keep up with a voracious publishing schedule? For too many of us, busy work makes it a real challenge to cross anything off the to-do list. Here are a few ideas that can make space for the important stuff.
- 2019 Don’t Fear the AI (Yet)When Chase announced it would be rolling out AI-powered copy across their marketing departments recently, a chill went down the spine of human copywriters everywhere. The global bank is using machine learning and natural language processing to generate ad copy aimed at highly-targeted market segments. But while UX and marketing writers have every reason to feel insecure in their corporate jobs, it shouldn’t be because of AI taking over.
- 2019 Riding the Content Curve: the Four Stages of LearningSometimes you learn about a thing and it completely shifts your perception. Years ago, while earning some kind of certificate in sustainable business management, I learned about the four stages of learning and it changed so much about how I approached, well, everything new. The gist of it is pretty straightforward: there are four phases a person can go through when developing a new skill.
- 2019 Just Enough Docs: a Lightning Talk About Docs for OnboardingDo you actually enjoy writing documentation for your project? This post is adapted from the transcript of a short talk I shared at the Code for America Summit's Brigade Day. While this presentation is specific to brigade teams, it's relevant for any remote development team struggling to bring new team members up to speed.
- 2018 WordPress 5.0 and Gutenberg: Get your content readyIf your organization’s website runs on WordPress, the next upcoming release may be a shock to the system. After much ado and hand-wringing in the WordPress community, 5.0 will introduce Gutenberg, an entirely new interface for creating and editing posts. Not everyone is happy about it (with some even quitting their job over it). So should you be worried? The short answer is: no, but you need to be prepared.
- 2018 Content Strategy for Nonprofits: An InterviewNon-profits often stumble their way through content strategy. The tendency in the sector is to conflate content strategy with content marketing, which way too often focuses on the transactional at the expense of the experiential.
- 2018 Finding a Place at the Table for Your Content Strategy TeamBeing a lone wolf content strategist can be...lonely. Hell, content strategy can be lonely even as part of a content team. I know, because I’ve been there. It tweaks my heartstrings when I continue to hear from content strategists who feel like short-order cooks turning out copy strings piece by piece, with no input on how orders are expedited or the menu is planned. In the words (and emoji) of one: “We're struggling to get beyond 'oh you guys just add in the copy at the end' 🙄.” So for those who are struggling, here are some of the lessons I’ve learned (sometimes the hard way) over the years...
- 2009 Information Overload: Tips for Creating InfographicsOnce relegated to academic textbooks and snooze-inducing PowerPoint slides, information graphics are suddenly everywhere. Here’s what you need to know to create effective infographics in an information-saturated world...