Invite us into your inbox! We promise we won't overstay our welcome - we'll pop up once a month with updates on industry trends, best practices & new strategies. 

Empathy and Content Strategy

Our goal as web practitioners is to create a site that’s easy for the end user to navigate and participate within. But are we ensuring the same thing for the site’s editors?

10/11/2012

Authored by

Categorized

  • Content and IA
  • Strategy

Our goal with any new site is simple: create something that serves organizational goals, is accessible and usable by site audiences, and functions according to the perceptions those audiences might have.

What we often forget about is the middle ground. What do we do to ensure that our processes — and the systems we create — are usable and useful for site editors? Are we doing a good enough job bridging the complex concepts of the web and the needs of our end users?

User Experience Strategist Corey Vilhauer wrote about this on his blog — empathy, user needs, and how we make sure we're not slamming a new web team with an overly complex and out-of-reach task.

From his post, “Empathy and Content Strategy: On Teaching, Listening, and Affecting Change”:

Content strategy practitioners – and, really, the entire UX umbrella – serve a unique role in the life of a web property, in that we act as an advocate for people we may never know. These are people who will encounter a site or read an article or follow our company on Twitter, and while we surely develop personas based on real-life interviews and we plan strategy based on best practices and deep research, we’ll still never meet a vast majority of the people who we’re attempting to represent.

Our goal: provide a level of empathy for these strangers. Guide content, design and functionality for an audience of John and Jane Does. Give answers to questions that probably haven’t been asked yet.

Reams of imaginary internet paper have been written about the need for empathy for users – for a basic understanding of who we’re serving and their needs and their problems. That’s our job, and the best do it well. But there’s another element of this process that can often be overlooked, and it’s the audience we know and understand and work with on a daily basis.

The client.

Read all of Corey’s content strategy thoughts at his blog, Eating Elephant.

Our thoughts on web strategy.

Read articles on web strategy.

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.)

June 15, 2022 | The Web Project Guide Podcast

Flexibility First: Designing for Mobile and Beyond

Sam Otis | Corey Vilhauer

There’s a lot more to building a mobile-friendly and responsive site than just saying the words “mobile-first” and willing it into being. What does it mean? How is it done? In this article, we take a look at the process behind designing for mobile.

May 26, 2022

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.

May 17, 2022 | The Web Project Guide Podcast

Read all web strategy articles.