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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A Better Budget: How Tech Planning Improves the Scoping Process
One of the toughest parts of any web project is estimating how much the project will cost and how long it will take. Technical planning helps create better budgets, plan for more realistic timelines, and improve the efficiency of the entire project.
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.
So ... What Is Discovery?
Building a website is like building a house — each decision is built upon the decisions that came before. Just as an architect doesn’t just throw a number at you and begin working on blueprints, we don’t begin working on a project until we fully understand the scope. We do that through our discovery process.
Chapter 6: Identify Outcomes and Expectations Off-site link
Your content and message – and your audiences – live on dozens of paths and hundreds of combinations. Understanding what they’re looking for when they access your project will have a large impact on the steps that follow.
Chapter 5: Identify Your Audiences Off-site link
We build websites to prompt an action or convey information to humans. Who are your humans? What are their motivations?
Chapter 4: Create a Project Plan Off-site link
Determine the true time scope of your project. When does it start (hint: right now, perhaps) and how will you choose someone to help through to the very end?
Chapter 3: Form Your Project Team Off-site link
Web projects are shaped by the people involved in decision-making. You can help prevent latestage rework by making sure the right people are in the room from the beginning.
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.