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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Corey Vilhauer Joins The Content Strategy Podcast Off-site link
Corey Vilhauer joins Kristina Halvorson on The Content Strategy Podcast to discuss his start in content strategy, his thoughts on communicating with clients and stakeholders, and his work toward demystifying the world of web projects.
Episode 13: Develop the Graphic and Interface Design (w/Sam Otis) Off-site link
Corey asks Deane about his ideal web design, and Deane talks about how CSS ruined the web. (He’s kidding, mostly.) Then, Sam Otis, lead designer at Blend Interactive and designer of The Web Project Guide, joins us to talk about his history in design — from Flash to responsive web design, what young designers need to know about the web, and what he wishes clients would stop doing.
Episode 12: Write for People and Machines (w/Sarah Winters) Off-site link
Corey and Deane talk briefly about how hard it is to run a conference. Then, Sarah Winters, founder of Content Design London and author of Content Design, joins to discuss the difference between content design and content strategy, writing and designing for accessibility, and the work it takes to turn a big ship toward lasting content change.
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.
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.