Thoughts from Blend Interactive
One of Blend’s core values is a dedication to advocacy and progress — to expand upon and give back to the community that fuels us. This is where those thoughts live.
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The Web Project Guide on Agile Digital Transformation Off-site link
The Web Project Guide’s Corey Vilhauer and Deane Barker joined Tim Butara and the Agile Digital Transformation podcast to talk about the process of writing the book, the web project process itself, and the role of agility when moving toward a successful launch.
Episode 11: Model Your Content (w/ Jeff Eaton) Off-site link
Corey and Deane chat about the first time they realized they really liked content modeling, and how modeling is the hidden language of content. Then, Jeff Eaton, partner at Autogram, joins to define content modeling, the concept of content reuse (and its many issues), and the balance between philosophical modeling and actually doing the work in spreadsheets.
Episode 10: Organize Your Content (w/ Lisa Maria Marquis) Off-site link
Corey and Deane chat about Information Architecture for the World Wide Web — ”The Polar Bear Book” — and then our experiences with information organization in real life. Then, Lisa Maria Marquis, author of Everyday Information Architecture and You Should Write a Book, joins to discuss how to frame information architecture for those who aren’t web people, the hidden biases in organizing content, and a bit about why you should write your own book. (We also take a critical look at Lisa Maria’s bookshelf.)
Episode 9: Develop a Strategy for Your Content (w/ Kristina Halvorson) Off-site link
Corey and Deane talk a little about that time Kristina Halvorson (founder of Brain Traffic, co-author of Content Strategy for the Web, and executive producer of Confab and Button) visited Sioux Falls. Then, Kristina chats with us about content strategy — defining content strategy vs. content design, what tasks are often overlooked, and some basics on spinning up an internal web content team — including a bit of conference talk about the upcoming Button Conference.
Episode 8: Gather Insight From Your Metrics (w/ Jon Crowley) Off-site link
Corey and Deane talk about the first time they tracked analytics on their blogs in the early 2000s. Then, Jon Crowley, Senior Vice President of Strategy at Diamond Marketing Group, talks to us about the balance between data and insights — how to focus on questions rather than raw numbers, how to look for answers rather than “trying to be correct,” and a when we can take data at face value. (He also gives us a tour of his shoe collection.)
Episode 7: Know Your Content (w/ Paula Ladenburg Land) Off-site link
Corey and Deane talk about Blend CEO Karla Santi’s recent selection as Small Business Person of the Year for South Dakota. Then, Paula Ladenburg Land, author of The Content Inventory and Audit Handbook and principal at Strategic Content LLC, joins the podcast to talk about content inventories and content audits, including what separates the two, when and how to worry about auditing, and her first ever content inventory, which arrived as a spreadsheet on one-and-a-half inches of printed paper.
Episode 6: Identify Outcomes and Expectations (w/ C. David Gammel) Off-site link
Corey and Deane talk about understanding the audiences of the The Web Project Guide book, and the concept of predicate knowledge. Then, C. David Gammel, author of Online and On Mission, joins the podcast to talk about how to prioritize outcomes when stakeholders all have their own interests, understanding the expectations of those who use your website, and how to best introduce domain knowledge.
Episode 5: Identify Your Audiences (w/ Erika Hall) Off-site link
Corey and Deane talk about Bleachers, music producers, and how understanding your audience increases effectiveness. Then, Erika Hall, author of Just Enough Research, joins the podcast to talk about interviewing the people who will visit your site — how to frame interviews, effective incentives, and the difference between researching assumptions versus learning about your users.
Episode 4: Create a Project Plan (w/ Brett Harned) Off-site link
Corey and Deane talk about how project plans rarely stay intact upon first contact with real life. Then, we chat with Brett Harned, author of Project Management for Humans, about his definition of a project plan, creating better retrospectives, and how to help clients and project teams keep on track. (Also, Brett tells us the best album in his record collection.)
Episode 3: Form Your Project Team (w/ Patrice Embry) Off-site link
Corey and Deane talk about the roles missing from most new project teams — namely, the idea of a user and product advocate. Then, Patrice Embry joins the podcast to talk about forming a project team. And, of course, we talk about sports metaphors.
Blend doesn’t just write here: we also write books, create videos, and dive deep into our individual disciplines. Check out some of our external sources of knowledge.
The Web Project Guide
A phase-by-phase look at the web design and development process, providing context to each step.
Coding with Bob
A YouTube series by our director of development, focusing on .NET coding and Optimizely development.
A blog about content strategy, information architecture, and understanding user needs.