Environments for Humans
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Content Strategy Summit 2015 logo

The virtual, live Content Strategy conference

In-kind Sponsors

Environments for Humans brings together some of the Web's most notable experts in content strategy and message architecture for an all-new, two-day online conference, the Content Strategy Summit 2015! Bring the experts to your desktop September 21-22, 2015 from 9AM to 4PM (CT).

Don't miss this great event and purchase your tickets now!

Day 1 \\ Sep. 21, 2015 \\ 9AM to 5PM CT

(Schedule subject to change)

Content-First Design Secrets 9am CT

by Stephanie Hay, Content and UX Specialist

We spend a lot of time trying to solve communication problems through design. We design first, write later, and end up iterating endlessly, only to start the process over again – design first, words last.

What would happen if we wrote the words first--agnostic of technology or channel--and then designed an experience to bring those words to life?

That's what Steph Hay and her content strategy team are doing at Capital One. She'll show us content-first techniques learned from the Video Game industry that result in faster learning, fewer iterations, a more cohesive voice and tone, and higher engagement.

Come to this talk if you want to learn:

  • The value of writing real content before there's an interface
  • Ways to introduce users to new content or interactions
  • How to do Content-First Design in your work

About Stephanie Hay

Stephanie Hay is a content and UX specialist whose clients include UIE and Happy Cog. She has spoken at conferences from SXSWi to FOWD London, and her articles have appeared in publications such as A List Apart, UX Magazine, and Web Standards Sherpa.

Steph?who is a resident mentor at 500 Startups?cofounded FastCustomer, founded NovaCowork, and co-organizes the (Washington) DC Lean Startup Circle.


Empathetic Evaluation: Techniques for Assuring Successful Content 10am CT

by Ginny Redish, Author of Letting Go of the Words

Your content only succeeds if it meets your business goals. You can meet your business goals only if your site visitors can find what they need, understand what they find, and use the content appropriately. How do you assure that’s going to happen?

The secret to successful web sites is to follow the iterative process of plan – create – evaluate (just like the design process). Good writing doesn’t start with writing. Good writing doesn’t end with writing.

In this hour, Ginny Redish will focus on the first and third parts of the plan – create – evaluate cycle, with special emphasis on specific techniques for user-focused planning and user-focused evaluation: Asking the right planning questions. Doing person-based, scenario-based evaluation even before you do usability testing. And she’ll do that with lots of examples that will help your writing, too.

About Ginny Redish

Janice (Ginny) Redish is President of Redish & Associates, a consultancy that specializes in content strategy, writing for the web, plain language, and usability. She is the author of Letting Go of the Words: Writing Web Content that Works, which blog writers and Amazon reviewers have raved about.

Ginny is also co-author of two of the classic books on usability techniques and has been called the "mother of usability" (UPA Voice, June 2005).

She is a dynamic speaker, sought after for workshops and conferences. Ginny has keynoted conferences in 8 countries and has trained thousands of writers, designers, developers, and subject matter specialists on 4 continents.


Survey Methodology 11am CT

by Caroline Jarrett, Leading User Experience and Usability Consultant

To get the best out of this tricky research method, Caroline will describe the Survey Octopus, a friendly creature that helps her to tackle all the issues that may lie between ‘what we want to ask’, ‘who we want to ask’, and a solid, reliable number that can be used to make decisions.

Along the way, we’ll encounter the key concept in survey methodology: Total Survey Error, and the various types of error that can affect your survey.

About Caroline Jarrett

Information coming soon. ×

The Press Release in 2015 12pm CT

by Lori Packer, Web Editor at University of Rochester

Ah, the humble press release. This venerable arrow in the public relations quiver is still very much with us in 2015. Depending on your organization, most of the actual words written to describe your latest news and developments may take the form of press releases.

Your organization probably employs people whose full-time job is to write and distribute them. But as soon as press releases broke out of their literal envelopes and were posted to the web nearly 20 years ago, their role shifted.

In addition to serving as a tool for media relations, the online press release becomes a destination in its own right, whether we think of them that way or not.

So in this session, we'll fast forward to 2015 and ask:

  • How can we think of press releases differently, to maximize their ability to reach the public directly?
  • What changes in the media landscape and in the news consumption patterns of readers impact how we approach press releases?
  • How does social media impact how our press releases are seen and shared?

About Lori Packer

Lori Packer is the web editor at the University of Rochester, where she and her team are responsible for the design, maintenance, and content development for several central University websites, including the University?s homepage and news site. Lori is also part of the design and editorial team for Futurity.org, a news site hosted at Rochester and focusing on the latest innovations coming out of the world?s leading research universities.

Before coming to higher ed, Lori was the lead U.S. editor for MSN Search ? Microsoft?s pre-Bing search engine. She has a bachelor?s degree in journalism from Lock Haven University and a master?s degree in communications from the University of Washington.

She recently completed her MSLIS from the iSchool at Syracuse University, because libraries are amazing. Lori is a Phillies fan, a beer snob, and an insomniac. She is a huge geek who loves Supernatural, Doctor Who, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Game of Thrones. She could go on.


Small Content Strategy 2pm CT

by Corey Vilhauer, User Experience Strategist at Blend Interactive

The discussion around content strategy is framed by large examples--NPR, Marriott, The Boston Globe--but it's also the work of regional organizations, small universities, and mom-and-pop stores. It's the work of nonprofits with small budgets and big goals. In this talk, we'll take those large ideas and distill them down to a level that helps the Web on a smaller, more local scale. And, we'll start looking at a few ways to adapt our processes to work within constraints while still focusing on quality user experiences.

You'll learn:

  • How to best tackle projects with small budgets, small timelines, or limited resources in a way that still makes actionable change
  • How to gauge what parts of our personal methodology are necessary for a new project
  • How to scope a smaller project with allowances for future advancements
  • How to pull back our thinking from "going all out" to "reasonable and sustainable"
  • How to be better stewards of our clients'/organizations' time and resources

About Corey Vilhauer

Corey Vilhauer is user experience strategist at Blend Interactive, a recovering advertising copywriter, and self-proclaimed productivity junkie. He writes at length about methodology, empathy, and small business content strategy at Eating Elephant, and he writes about other things at Black Marks on Wood Pulp.


Making Content More Social 3pm CT

by Ma'ayan Plaut, Manager of Social Strategy and Projects at Oberlin College

New change to a social platform? That's no time to rethink your social media strategy; stick to your content strategy and all will be fine. Recenter yourself with the mantra "Make content more social"--an attempt to proactively create, host, and share more social stories.

Moving horizontally rather than vertically through our social spaces allows for more seamless and integrated social experience, with an emphasis on telling our best story, aided by the tools we have at our disposal.

You will learn how to:

  • Identify opportunities for social integration in existing and future content
  • Redefine the concept of social media as it pertains to original content
  • Challenge the model of site-specific content creation and realign with the human angle of storytelling efforts

About Ma'ayan Plaut

Ma?ayan Plaut is the Manager of Social Strategy and Projects at her alma mater, Oberlin College, where she manages Oberlin?s social spaces and projects. She serves as a cheerleader, consultant, and strategist for anyone interested in exploring social media on campus. Ma?ayan has presented at HighEdWeb, the Web Conference at Penn State, the CASE Social Media and Community conference, Confab Higher Ed, Academic Impressions, and is a frequent guest on the Higher Ed Live network. In her free time, Ma?ayan writes a lot, tweets a lot, and thinks about food a lot.


Reducing Digital Clutter 4pm CT

by Matthew Grocki, Principal and Owner of Grass Fed Content

Organizations love to produce content, but the majority suck at making it available to internal resources and external audiences. In the race to provide more content for our audiences, we've created a systematic web of back-end digital clutter.

In this talk, you'll see how a disorganized internal content environment at a leading medical device company meant the difference between life and death. Fret not--we can fix this. Matthew will demonstrate how our own digital behaviors can positively affect organizational attitudes towards cleaning up their content and how it translates to richer content experiences for their audiences.

You will learn how to:

  • Understand your own digital behavior patterns
  • Understand the impact of fractured content on an organization
  • Establish an actionable plan to reduce digital clutter
  • Receive best practices on how content can be reused internally and externally

About Matthew Grocki

Matthew is the principal and owner of Grass Fed Content, where he has been challenging organizations to rethink the impact of content on their business. His work focuses on correcting content production inefficiencies and facilitating organizational change.

Matthew has been a content strategy consultant for over 5 years creating content and editorial strategies for NASDAQ OMX, MFS Investments, Dell, Cisco, and Covidien. Prior to consulting, he sat in a windowless office for 12 years and was miserable.

Matthew is an active member in the content strategy community and international speaker. He is frequently featured by many of today?s top content strategy blogs and is currently a featured columnist for eContent magazine.


Day 2 \\ Sep. 22, 2015 \\ 9AM to 4PM CT

(Schedule subject to change)

Content Strategy Round Table 9am CT

by Kristina Halvorson, CEO and Founder of Brain Traffic

For those starting out, it's tough to find one's footing. In a brief session, Kristina Halvorson reviews the places where people can go for online for like minds and Content Strategy resources to help get that solid first step.

Afterwards, Halvorson hosts the Q&A Round Table session to allow attendees from all over the world to ask questions about Content Strategy.

About Kristina Halvorson

Kristina Halvorson is the CEO and Founder of Brain Traffic, http://www.braintraffic.com/, a content strategy consultancy. She is the author of Content Strategy for the Web, a book that?s being called ?the most important thing to happen to user experience design in years? (Peter Morville, Ambient Findability, Information Architecture for the World Wide Web).

Kristina is widely recognized as the industry's leading advocate for content strategy. In 2009, she curated the first Content Strategy Consortium to facilitate a national dialogue about this emerging discipline. In 2010, she delivered the keynote address at the world?s first Content Strategy Summit in Paris, France. Kristina has also been a featured speaker at Web 2.0 Expo, SXSW Interactive, An Event Apart, UX Week, User Interface Conference, Voices That Matter, IA Summit, Future of Web Apps, Future of Web Design, and the Online Marketing Summit.

When she's not running around talking about content strategy, Kristina can be found chasing after her two children in St. Paul, Minnesota.


Expanding our Expectations of 'Everyone' 10am CT

by Margot Bloomstein, Author of Content Strategy at Work

Content strategy both champions and makes possible the idea that "everyone is a publisher." New platforms and approaches to collaboration let us reframe the conversation beyond traditional book publishing. But with challenges to net neutrality and inconsistent network connectivity in the developing world, do we need to limit our definition of "everyone" to just the white and wealthy world and the more cutting-edge businesses it spawns?

Maybe that's the case today, but today is the mirror of realism. The future is the undefined outcome of optimism—and we have many reasons to be optimistic.

Looking at emerging examples from modern business culture, Silicon Valley investment strategies, and communication trends beyond the United States, Margot Bloomstein will map out challenges and opportunities for publishing in the coming decades.

Bloomstein will explore how content strategy will work in the future to aid the changing face of publishing. Who will practice it? Will power align with technology, quality, perspective, or a combination of all three? And how will we define "publishing," anyhow?

About Margot Bloomstein

Margot Bloomstein is the author of Content Strategy at Work (Morgan Kaufmann, 2012) and principal of Appropriate, Inc., a Boston-based brand and content strategy consultancy. She crafts brand-appropriate user experiences to help organizations engage their audiences and project key messages with consistency and clarity through both traditional and social media. A featured speaker at SXSW, Margot speaks around the world about enriching interactive engagements with content strategy. Recent engagements include the HOW Interactive Design Conference, CS Forum Helsinki, IA Summit, Content Marketing World, Confab, and Web 2.0. She also teaches brand-driven content strategy in Columbia University?s graduate program in strategic communications. Find her blogging infrequently at Appropriate, Inc. and tweeting prolifically at @mbloomstein.


Responsive Content Experiences 11am CT

by Steve Fisher, Founder of The Republic of Quality

For the 90% of people who start a task on one device and complete it on another, how do you make your site's fundamental message remains clear? In a multi-device world where your content can live anywhere, planning responsive content experiences helps content adapt consistently.

Steve Fisher, UX Architect and Founder of The Republic of Quality, will help your team rethink your content for responsive projects.

  • Set up a framework for success
  • Establish content types
  • Prioritize content chunks
  • Sketch the content experience

About Steve Fisher

Information coming soon. ×

Collaborative Approaches to Responsive Content 12pm CT

by Kevin Hoffman, Author of Meeting Design

Responsive design has led to more complex discussions around the way teams plan website content. For organizations big and small, it forces a change in how people collaborate--especially people that may not have an understanding of how all this cool stuff actually works.

Using good meeting design frameworks in content planning helps get everyone on board with a responsive project, and guides them to a more sophisticated understanding of what’s at stake, sot hat they can make important decisions about how people experience your stuff on any device.

From this session, you'll get:

  • An overview from small and big organizations of how responsive content has changed getting website work done
  • Simple meeting frameworks you can use to improve the quality of content strategy discussions, right now
  • Exercises you can use with your team to make better decisions about content hierarchy, content models, and better user experience

About Kevin Hoffman

Kevin M. Hoffman is an information architect and design strategist that has been building digital tools since 1995. He holds a deep belief that properly designed and executed time spent together, or a good meeting, is a core element of good design. It puts necessary shared understanding and trust in place, enabling teams to make better experiences real. Kevin is regularly hired to facilitate design meetings for web and application design projects. He also speaks and provides workshops on the design of meetings and collaboration all over the world. He has a forthcoming Rosenfeld Media book on the topic of meeting design coincidentally titled Meeting Design.

In 2012, Kevin founded the distributed design network Seven Heads Design, a network of highly experienced digital design thinkers who operate independently but love working together. Prior to that he served as Experience Director for the award-winning web design agency Happy Cog, where he lead he led user experience strategy and practice for Fortune 500 companies, non-profits, and start-ups. He spent the formative years of his career in-house at colleges and universities, bringing countless digital design and communications initiatives to life. During this time he also taught digital communications strategy and web design in graduate and undergraduate interaction and communications design programs.

Kevin always says yes to the first meeting.


Creating Tangible Experiences 2pm CT

by Marli Mesibov, Content Strategy Director at Mad*Pow

Many UX practitioners are moving out of the deliverables business - but what does that leave us with? Product teams have concrete items to ship at the end of the day, and so should service providers. In this talk we’ll review how to measure the ROI and create a sensible deliverable for any project, be it product- or service-based.

In this talk we’ll learn concrete ways to measure ROI and create sensible deliverables for content strategy projects, including:

  • Templates for stakeholder-friendly reports
  • Alternatives to lengthy documents reiterating research and brainstorming
  • Analytics tools for measuring ROI
  • Strategic tools for identifying what to measure

About Marli Mesibov

Marli Mesibov is the Director of Content Strategy at the design agency Mad*Pow. Her work is heavily influenced by her passion for the user experience. Marli is also the managing editor at UX Booth, and a frequent conference speaker. She can be found on Twitter, where she shares thoughts on UX Design, content strategy, and Muppets. You can learn more about Marli and her work at http://marli.us


Showing Compassion in Sensitive Situations 3pm CT

by Jasmine Probst, Content Strategist at Facebook
and Holly Hetherington, Content Strategist at Facebook

How do you develop content that’s relevant, empathetic and supportive, especially if you haven’t gone through something like it yourself?

Through recent work we’ve done at Facebook, we’ve gained compassion as well as opportunities to think beyond the online experience and into some of life’s hardest topics.

We learned about how to talk about issues such as as suicide and the passing of a loved one in the context of UI.

We’ll share some of our greatest challenges and lessons:

  1. Take a risk. Being empathetic and supportive in any situation requires vulnerability. Nothing worth doing is easy, and it’s imperative to be ok with that upfront.
  2. Don't go it alone. Find experts--such as credible researchers and clinical psychologists--who are familiar with the subject matter and turn them into your partners.
  3. Seek to understand. Talk to people who have gone through the kind of experience you’re addressing. It will help you grasp a wider range of feelings and perspectives.
  4. Take a stance. Difficult experiences involve difficult decisions. Creating an experience for someone who’s likely going through something tough demands that you take a position on what and how you’ll communicate.
  5. Put it out there. Humbly. How do you know if what you create is appropriate? You don’t--until you launch and see how people react in the real world. Part of creating compassionate language is doing your best with what you know, putting it out there and being willing to iterate if it didn’t hit the mark.

About Jasmine Probst

Jasmine Probst is a content strategist at Facebook. She recently helped launch Facebook?s new legacy contact feature, which gives people more options for what happens to their account after they pass away.

Last year, Jasmine gave a talk at #dareconf in London about how to STOP being an expert and become a more effective collaborator.

Before her adventure in Silicon Valley started, Jasmine was an independent consultant focused on high-end real estate and lifestyle branding. She has a BFA in electronic media and an MBA in design strategy.


speakers from:

many fine organizations and companies

About the Content Strategy Summit 2015

As the web continues to grow and delivery platforms multiply, so does the challenge of planning for useful, comprehensive, relevant and timely information that adapts on the fly. Enter Content Strategy! Discover more effective techniques for organizing and executing the creation of meaningful, flexible content.

Why attend the online conference?
  • Attending a conference online means no travel hassle!
  • Bring the experts live to your desktop!
  • Time spent on the road is better spent instead in the office or with family, friends!
  • Sessions are developed to dive deeper into the material!
  • Ask questions directly to the speakers!
  • Can't make it the day of the conference? Watch the recordings whenever you want!
Testimonials from
This conference was a load of fun. I loved the instant feedback from the speakers and the atmosphere.

John-David Dalton
Web Application Developer
& Web Performance Summit Attendee

I love these online conferences. It's convenient and you can still learn a lot from the comfort of your home or at work.

Candi Ligutan
5by5.tv Producer

An absolutely fantastic event. Well done—will definitely be back for more!

Russ Weakley
Chair of Web Standards Group
& CSS Summit Attendee

Satisfaction Guaranteed 100%

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Once you are registered, you will receive a follow-up email to confirm your reservation. Later on, as the event draws near, you will receive a more detailed message, with the full schedule and other helpful information to help you take full advantage of your conference-going experience and plan your day.

On the day of the conference, you will receive an email invitation about 45 minutes before everything starts. Click on the enclosed link to sign in and enter the virtual meeting space. Once you are signed in, you'll be able to see and hear the presentations as they happen, ask questions as needed and chat with the other attendees if you like!

Technical Specifications: to attend The Summit, you will need a modern web browser and a recent version of the Adobe Flash Player. Follow this link to run our system diagnostic (opens in a new window). It will let you know right away which plug-ins, if any, you will need to update before the event.

Still have questions? Drop us a line or contact us at e4h@heatvision.com if there's anything else you'd like to know.