Confab 2012 schedule

Monday 14th May 2012

  • Content Measurement: Essential Techniques for Measuring Your Content’s Success

    by Angela Colter and Christine Perfetti

    How can you be confident that your content pages are understandable? How do you assess if the content is appropriate for your audience? How do you ensure you’ve written content that effectively communicates the essential information? In this workshop, expert usability professionals Angela Colter and Christine Perfetti will share several powerful techniques for measuring your content, including:

    • Traditional usability tests: You’ll learn all of the basics for conducting your own usability studies.
    • 5-second tests: A popular low-tech technique to collect quick feedback on whether your content pages communicate clearly to readers.
    • Comprehension tests: A simple user research method to assess whether users understand your complex content.
    • Inherent-value tests: A two-phase test that explores whether your content communicates the intended value to readers.
    • Cloze tests: Another type of comprehension test where words are deleted from the text and readers are asked to fill in the blanks.
    • Readability formulas: An easy—some would say misleading—way to estimate the level of education required to understand text.
    • REALM: A quick word recognition test that helps you identify readers who have low-literacy skills.

    At 9:00am to 5:00pm, Monday 14th May

  • Content Strategy 101: Start Here

    by Kristina Halvorson

    New to content strategy? Want to brush up on the basics? Kick off your Confab experience with an introduction to content strategy’s key concepts, techniques, and tools. We’ll provide the baseline knowledge you need to get the most out of Confab—and more importantly—get down to business when you get home.

    At 9:00am to 5:00pm, Monday 14th May

  • Taxonomy, Metadata, and Search: Put Your Content to Work

    by Seth Earley

    As a content strategist, creator, or manager, understanding the role of metadata in search and any CMS isn’t optional. And with the shift toward structured content, learning how to prepare your content for multi-platform distribution is equally important. This workshop will introduce you to information management best practices. You’ll also learn about the important relationship between content maintenance and content governance and the role they play in any CMS.

    At 9:00am to 5:00pm, Monday 14th May

    Coverage note

  • Writing for the Internet: Beyond Bulleted Lists

    by Relly Annett-Baker

    Copywriting is a different game online. Yes, your writing needs to engage, inform, and satisfy your users, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. How can you work effectively with designers and developers? How can you structure documentation so it makes sense to the rest of your team? Is writing for mobile any different? We’ll give you the tools you need to make you the hero on any content project.

    At 9:00am to 5:00pm, Monday 14th May

    Coverage note

Tuesday 15th May 2012

  • Be Vivid: How to Make Content Work - Even When Words Don't

    by Dan Roam

    At 8:30am to 9:50am, Tuesday 15th May

    Coverage note

  • Welcome to Confab 2012

    by Kristina Halvorson

    At 8:30am to 8:30am, Tuesday 15th May

  • A Timeline is Born: The True Story of One Facebook Content Strategist

    by Evany Thomas

    Building and launching the Facebook Timeline presented a toothsome array of content strategy opportunities. Join Evany as she tells the tales of how “your profile” became “your timeline.”

    What a Difference a Word Makes: Discover just how complicated one simple word change can get.
    The 1000-Hour Menu: How do multiple designers, an engineer, a researcher and a content strategist create a LifeEvents menu that resonates with over 800 million people worldwide? Very carefully.
    Change for the Good: Behold the anatomy of a product tour and see how we eased people into this all-new experience.

    At 10:00am to 10:20am, Tuesday 15th May

  • The Magic Layer: The Secret to Every Successful Content Strategy

    by Shelly Bowen

    Before embarking on a fresh content strategy, we often do a lot research looking outward. Who’s our audience? What do they want? Which content strategy deliverables are must-haves? But what we often neglect is to look inward, at ourselves. Who can make this happen? When do they get involved? How? Which skills and experience — and personalities! — do we need?

    This talk explores the part of content strategy that is unique to each company and effort,the part that changes every time and cannot be pinned down and explained in a numbered list. Find out how you can answer some of the most typical questions faced by companies embarking on a content strategy process:

    • Do I have the right content strategist for the job?
    • Where do we start?
    • How do we overcome debates on direction?
    • Are we moving in the right direction?
    • Which deliverables do we need? Will we actually use them?

    At 10:20am to 10:40am, Tuesday 15th May

    Coverage note

  • Implementation: Defining Content Architecture

    by Cleve Gibbon

    When you’re building your content strategy, how do you plan for execution? Which channels are you publishing to, and who’s going to use them? Who’s responsible for the day-to-day care of all this content after you’ve implemented the strategy, and which business units do they work for?

    Execution is more than just a CMS—and to do it effectively, we need content architecture.

    Cleve will explain how content architecture can help. He’ll share some of his tactics and war stories where he’s helped define content architectures for clients like Skype, Investec, Roche, and Virgin Media—organizations coming to terms with being multi-channel digital publishers.

    At 10:40am to 11:00am, Tuesday 15th May

  • Content Makes a Difference: Learn the Ways of the Content Force

    by Colleen Jones

    Today, digital is complicated. Doing your content the same old way will bring you problems. These content problems will choke the life out of your digital presence faster than Darth Vader. Dare to do content differently, and you can be a Jedi master of your complex digital universe.

    Colleen will share how three companies let content make a difference to strategy, editorial, and testing. InterContinental Hotels Group transformed its mobile strategy to focus on content first. Equifax changed its editorial approach for product content, making it much more than a features list. And, a health startup expanded its product testing to include content tone.

    Find out how doing content differently worked for these companies—and will work for you, too.

    At 11:20am to 11:40am, Tuesday 15th May

  • Balance and Compromise: Issues in Content Localization

    by Lise Janody

    An effective global content strategy involves localization—and that’s much more than a language and translation issue. Most companies with international presences have objectives and operations that vary—sometimes wildly—from country to country. There can be significant differences in everything from product availability to pricing and promotions, from campaigns and events to local presence and resources.

    These variations have impact not just on a website’s information architecture, but also on the content itself. They affect decisions about: What content should be localized? How much flexibility should local web managers have? How do you handle content that remains in English? Finding the right answers for your company requires balance and compromise.

    Three things attendees will learn:

    • Questions to consider when building localization strategies for specific content types
    • Common pitfalls to watch out for, and possible options for avoiding them
    • Ways to align your global content strategy to business objectives

    At 11:40am to 12:00pm, Tuesday 15th May

  • Creating Emotionally Relevant Content for Higher Education Audiences

    by Erika Knudson and Rebecca Salerno

    Content strategy across the higher education spectrum is all about engaging audiences, from prospective students to potential donors. What kind of content creates a spark that sets off a lifetime of engagement? Erika Knudson and Rebecca Salerno will show how the Indiana University Alumni Association developed a content strategy that used content about major life experiences (getting a job, moving to a new city, having a baby) to strengthen the relationships with their alumni.

    They’ll present a road map for engagement that outlines their process for developing and selling a brand story to stakeholders; researching and challenging audience engagement trends; analyzing audience behaviors; and creating a content strategy. It’s a process that is applicable to any business or service that is trying to connect with audiences in a meaningful way.

    At 12:00pm to 12:20pm, Tuesday 15th May

    Coverage note

  • Content Curation Grows Up

    by Margot Bloomstein, Erin Kissane, Aaron Lammer and Mia Quagliarello

    Now that the initial hype around content curation has died down, let’s get real. Erin Kissane will lead a conversation about practice and theory with a group of people involved in different aspects of the work. They’ll discuss:

    • the challenges of curation/aggregation/anthologizing as a whole (by users and by editor-curators)
    • the value for readers, content creators, and the curators themselves (and the organizations they represent)
    • the responsibilities of curators and aggregators (to readers and to content creators)
    • common myths about curation (it’s easy, it’s piratical, etc.)
    • the specific challenges of creating tools and systems for filtering and curation

    At 1:40pm to 2:00pm, Tuesday 15th May

  • Content Strategy, Communications Strategy and Digital Excellence

    by Diana Railton

    While content strategy and digital channels still bear the brunt of cross-organizational silos, communications departments have been converging. Communications directors often sit at board level and help shape business strategy. In a further drive for integration, some organizations have set up multidisciplinary centres of digital excellence.

    So where in an organization does a content strategy team fit best? To show its full potential, content strategy needs to work alongside communications strategy in supporting business strategy. Diana shows how content strategy and communications strategy are complementary, providing a practical and inspiring framework for everyone to keep to.

    At 2:00pm to 2:20pm, Tuesday 15th May

  • Flexible and Smart Documents with Reusable Content

    by Mark Stahura

    Augsburg Fortress (a 200-year-old Lutheran publishing house) had two centuries’ worth of content … and no idea how to use it. Surely churches and other institutions must be interested in having access to it. But how? Web Development Director Mark Stahura led a 5-year initiative to make their documents flexible and smart. By developing a user-centered taxonomy (while avoiding The Bottomless Pit of Possibly Useful Metadata, or Death by Over-Tagging), Mark and his team created a database of reusable content. The result? Thousands of subscribers to six subscription applications, generating new and growing revenue for the publisher. This case study will give you insight into how structured content can actually happen, making content a truly valuable asset.

    At 2:20pm to 2:40pm, Tuesday 15th May

  • See What I Mean

    by Kevin Cheng

    How do you get people to read your documentation? How do you get a point across within 10 seconds? How do you make sure your product stays true to its original vision? Google used them. The US Postal Service used them. Adaptive Path used them. The US Navy used them. Business author and TED speaker Daniel Pink used them. It seems comics are in use everywhere lately.

    Comics are a unique way to communicate, using both image and text to effectively demonstrate time, function, and emotion. Just as vividly as they convey the feats of superheroes, comics tell stories of your users and your products. Comics can provide your organization with an exciting and effective alternative to slogging through requirements documents and long reports.

    In “See What I Mean”, Kevin Cheng, OK/Cancel founder/cartoonist and author of the soon to be released Rosenfeld book by the same title, will discuss how and why comics are a powerful communication tool that can be utilized without any illustration training.

    At 3:00pm to 3:20pm, Tuesday 15th May

  • The Myth of the Perfect Methodology: Breaking and Recreating the Content Strategy Process

    by Corey Vilhauer

    Every novice content strategist searches for the perfect content strategy, and every experienced content strategist fights to keep his or hers relevant. But can the always-changing process ever be complete?

    The answer: of course not.

    Corey Vilhauer discusses the myth of the perfect content strategy methodology – the fact that, no matter what, we cannot stop adapting, changing and improving our methods – and in the process we can begin to shift the discussion from WHAT makes a methodology to HOW we put together one of our own.

    At 3:20pm to 3:40pm, Tuesday 15th May

    Coverage slide deck

  • Think Big(ger): Turning Content Strategy into a Company Value

    by Gerhard Arnhofer

    Around 2009, Merck identified its unbranded physician portal as a major key to long-term survival in a highly regulated industry. Upper management insisted on a global content strategy to help energize more than 30 local markets around this common goal.

    In the first six months after the strategy was delivered, Univadis.com had identified nearly $4 million in potential savings. With several critical recommendations already implemented and a new version of the site coming soon, growth has doubled in the last three years. In the meantime, entire teams and systems have been mobilized to support this truly international endeavor.

    In this case study session, Gerhard makes a compelling case for continuous, end-to-end and cross-functional involvement in the implementation of a content strategy. He’ll explore how equal parts discipline and courage have taken the Univadis® global strategy from daring vision to operational process—and ultimately turned it into a corporate-wide system of beliefs.

    At 3:40pm to 4:00pm, Tuesday 15th May

  • Lightning Talks

    by Katie Del Angel, Sydney Markle, Juli Smith, Sally Bagshaw and Ahava Leibtag

    At 4:10pm to 5:10pm, Tuesday 15th May

Wednesday 16th May 2012

  • Managing Your Content Strategy for Success

    by Ann Rockley

    At 8:30am to 9:30am, Wednesday 16th May

  • Mobile & UX: Inside the Eye of the Perfect Storm

    by Jared M. Spool

    The world of web application design is expanding at a rapid rate. We’re now expected to design great experiences across a huge variety of platforms, from small screens to large displays. The flood of iPad applications and successful online businesses are showing our executives that design matters.

    Why is all this happening now? Where is it all going? UIE’s own Jared Spool will show you how four driving forces—market maturity, the emergence of experience, Kano’s model, and Sturgeon’s Law—are increasing the visibility and value of design in organizations everywhere. He’ll show you what the next generation of design teams will look like and how you’ll get there.

    At 9:40am to 10:00am, Wednesday 16th May

  • Content & Cash: The Economics of Content Strategy

    by Melissa Rach

    Dinero. Dosh. Dough. Dollabills. Like it or not, money plays a role in every content strategy project. As content strategists or practitioners, we need to be prepared to answer questions like:

    • How much does a content strategy “cost”?
    • Why should I fund this content strategy project?
    • How do you define the value of content for an organization or client?
    • Can you prove ROI for content or content strategy?

    In this session, we’ll discuss the complicated relationship between content and cash. Then we’ll focus specifically on the conversations you need to have to scope, price, and prove the value of content strategy work. Cha-ching.

    At 10:00am to 10:20am, Wednesday 16th May

  • Accessibility Means Business

    by Irene Walker

    Websites and web tools that are designed for people with a broad range of abilities benefit everyone – especially business owners.

    Sadly, web accessibility is not the most popular kid on the block. “It’s too expensive,” an executive would say. Another: “We’re not a federal government site, so we don’t have to comply with Section 508.” But 20% of the US population has a disability of some sort. And nearly half of its population consists of aging families that are on the brink of retirement. So the need for accessible content is pretty strong.

    While the general ignorance about users with disabilities’ needs is surprising, what really staggers is how few people realise the potential business benefits. We’ll take an in-depth look at these benefits, discuss how you can advocate them to clients and stakeholders, and work through some practical ways of implementing accessibility into your content strategy.

    At 10:20am to 10:40am, Wednesday 16th May

    Coverage slide deck

  • Search Analytics for Content Strategists

    by Louis Rosenfeld

    What do people want from your content? And are they happy with what you’re giving them?

    Lou Rosenfeld, co-author of Information Architecture for the World Wide Web, will take a deep dive into his new favorite toy—site search analytics—to show you how a variety of organizations are successfully mining search query data—stuff they already own—to better understand their users’ search activities.

    Lou will cover how organizations use search analytics to identify and diagnose the absolutely most important UX problems their sites face. He’ll show how to use it to do a better job with wicked challenges like content modeling and measuring engagement. He’ll even describe how some organizations use search analytics to predict the future.

    It’ll be fun.

    At 11:00am to 11:20am, Wednesday 16th May

    Coverage slide deck

  • Conquering The Context Conundrum

    by Daniel Eizans

    Users don’t visit a website with the goal of browsing its content. All web users — whether they’re shopping, doing research or killing time watching videos — arrive on web pages with the goal of completing a task or satisfying a need. How do we ensure our content is satisfying their specific tasks? How can our planning account for a user’s specific situations and behaviors?

    To truly get the right content to the right user in the right place and at the right time, we need to develop models for bringing contextual relevance to our content strategies. In this session, Daniel will explore the elements of context and how we can account for them in developing a content strategy. Along the way, we’ll talk about how we measure for success, and explore how context can drive future messaging strategy and information design.

    At 11:20am to 11:40am, Wednesday 16th May

    Coverage slide deck

  • The Art of the Quest: How Your Mission Drives Your Content

    by Matt Thompson

    The Epic of Gilgamesh. Exodus. The Odyssey. Lord of the Rings. Harry Potter. For as long as humans have been telling stories, those stories have taken a familiar shape: the quest.

    This hasn’t changed as we’ve moved into digital spaces. Hooking users into an ongoing narrative of pursuit built around your mission is one of the most powerful ways to develop your voice, workflow, calendar, content architecture and strategy.

    We’ll cover:

    • Case studies from NPR and the member stations we work with
    • Questing in real-time: how the quest narrative has evolved for social media

    At 11:40am to 12:00pm, Wednesday 16th May

  • Voice and Tone: Creating Content for Humans

    by Kate Kiefer

    So your company has a super awesome voice. Great! But your work doesn’t end there. This session will focus on articulating your brand’s personality and writing for emotional humans. Kate will explain how MailChimp created VoiceandTone.com, an interactive style guide that highlights the difference between the company’s voice and tone. We’ll talk about the importance of establishing voice guidelines that don’t hinder your writers’ creativity or insult their intelligence, while still making corporate writing fun. Kate will also share real-life examples of empathetic writing. Come learn from MailChimp’s techniques for maintaining a consistent voice and putting readers first.

    At 1:30pm to 1:50pm, Wednesday 16th May

  • Content Strategy: A Dangerous Method

    by Joe Gollner

    Based on a number of case studies, this session will share some stories about how the content strategist can come to play an unexpected role in the life of their organization. As the title of this session insinuates, the speaker, himself an accidental content strategist, will draw some parallels between the emergent discipline of content strategy and the early years of psychoanalysis. Acknowledgements are offered, in advance, to David Cronenberg.

    At 1:50pm to 2:10pm, Wednesday 16th May

  • SEO at PBS: Can You Tell Me How to Get, How to Get to... Top Rankings in Google?

    by Melanie Phung

    Do you know what it takes to be findable, relevant and authoritative in the eyes of Google? What about translating “SEO best practices” into tactics that actually get implemented throughout your company?

    If you want to attract new audiences in today’s fractured media environment, it’s not enough to publish great content and hope people find it. Using examples from PBS, Melanie will talk about specific SEO tactics and strategies for larger websites — and how those approaches generate sustainable traffic from search engines.

    You’ll learn: tips for scaling your optimization efforts, what tactics generate the best ROI for different types of content, and how to integrate SEO into your current content workflow.

    At 2:10pm to 2:30pm, Wednesday 16th May

  • Innovations Worth Stealing

    by Erin Kissane

    Kissane leads a lightning tour of the biggest and most interesting developments in journalism, library and information science, editorial design, new-school publishing, reading products and studies, and more, as they tie into our work as content strategists. From large-scale data analysis to the most promising developments in mobile content and responsive design, you’ll learn about dozens of projects and ideas that can and will affect content strategy in the coming year.

    At 2:50pm to 3:10pm, Wednesday 16th May