Environments for Humans
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Content Strategy Summit 2016 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 Content Marketing for an all-new, two-day online conference, the Content Strategy Summit 2016! Bring the experts to your desktop August 24-August 25, 2016 from 9AM to 4PM (CT).

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

Day 1 \\ Aug. 24, 2016 \\ 9AM to 4PM CT

(Schedule subject to change)

Better Strategy Through Structure 9am CT

by Lisa Maria Martin, Independent Content Strategist and IA

It can be tricky to prioritize content work in the design process, especially amid shrinking budgets and widening scopes. But learning to focus on patterns and hierarchies in content -- like how it's arranged, how it creates relationships across pages, or how it maps to the CMS -- can help you bring strategic planning to content, even with teams that don't have dedicated IAs and word-nerds.

A structural approach to understanding and designing content can lead to new insights, opportunities for collaboration, and thoughtful, cohesive user experiences.

You will learn:

  • Enhance your UX strategies by being purposeful about structure
  • Address content in the context of a design-focused process
  • Thrive in the sometimes-wobbly overlap between web disciplines

About Lisa Maria Martin

Lisa Maria Martin is an independent consultant based in Boston, MA. She practices content-driven information architecture, helping organizations to understand, plan, and structure their web content. Lisa Maria is also an editor at A Book Apart and former editor at A List Apart. Learn more about her work at thefutureislikepie.com, and follow her on @redsesame.


Building a Brand with Content Strategy 10am CT

by Keri Maijala, Content Strategist at Financial Engines

When it comes to branding, most people think about the logo. But brand is much more than a logo, more than colors, more than a slogan. Every brand decision matters, and that goes for content, too.

As content strategist for a major rebranding, I'm responsible for helping shape our story, our voice/tone, and ultimately, how we'll express this new brand.

In this session, you will hear about my challenges, my successes, and perhaps most importantly, my failures. It's the ultimate journey of content strategy across discipline lines, and I can't wait to bring you along.

You will learn:

  • How content and messaging can be an integral part of a brand.
  • How to collaborate with different disciplines and departments to create a messaging framework that can be applied universally.
  • How to communicate and govern your content strategy going forward.

About Keri Maijala

Keri Maijala is a content strategist at Financial Engines in Sunnyvale, CA. She?s been working in user experience since the days of the Dancing Baby, helping companies like eBay, PayPal, and Intuit find and use their voices. You can usually find her on Twitter as @clamhead, but if she?s not there, check the line for Space Mountain.


Design and Content Strategy 11am CT

by Heather Quinn, Creative Director of Brookline Studios

As designers, we have been educated to develop guiding principles and strategies to help inform our design decisions. Brand strategy and user experience inform our selection of colors and typography, among other things. However, even though we now live in a 'globalized' world, our design decisions are still informed by our localized point-of-view.

You will learn:

  • Develop and appreciation and understanding for the visual design surroundings of other cultures.
  • Gain new perspectives on type and color selection and how they inform the messaging of your designs (content, usability and brand) that goes beyond a westernized POV.
  • Understand that while this perspective may make our design choices more broad in scope, and our decisions more difficult, it may ultimately create more concord across culture and paradoxically more diversity across design.

About Heather Quinn


Content First in Action 1pm CT

by Stephanie Leary, Author of Content Strategy for WordPress

We know that a content-first approach to design is a best practice, but knowing is only half the battle. We're accustomed to our legacy workflows--and so are our clients. For years, we've trained clients to expect designs first, prototypes later, and writing last of all.

Win clients over to your new workflow by showing them what's in it for them: not just a better user experience for their readers, but a better authoring experience for the content editors.

With a CMS that lets you modify the admin interface, you can make not only the design but the CMS itself fit the content. When coupled with a responsive design workflow, setting up the model first helps clients think more concretely about:

  • modular content
  • prioritizing chunks for mobile, search, and archived contexts
  • user roles and access
  • editorial UX

This content-first approach lets you design the CMS to fit the organization's content model and workflow. You can:

  • dogfood throughout the prototyping and design processes
  • spot areas of confusion early
  • change the admin interface
  • add inline help
  • plan documentation to be a backup or a last resort

About Stephanie Leary

Stephanie Leary is a web developer for Texas A&M University and the co-owner of Paged Media, a freelance business catering to authors and other publishing professionals.

She began developing themes and plugins for WordPress in 2005, and has taught numerous workshops on using WordPress as a content management system.


The Vocabulary of the Interface 2pm CT

by Lis Pardi, Information Scientist

No one knows that the floppy disk means save. At least, that's what the campus librarian insisted when she reviewed the website I worked on for her university. I had done research on just this issue, proving college students could identify what the floppy disk meant, but it wasn't enough.

New students are always coming in, she said, much younger than the ones I polled. So I went back and surveyed 526 high schoolers to find out definitively: Do teenagers understand the outdated tech in our icons? The survey says yes. But beyond answering her question, I learned a lot of other interesting things from this exercise.

Some of what we'll cover:

  • Visual language builds off metaphors from the past, just like spoken language
  • Users do not always need to know an icons origin -- context can help them
  • Teenagers are and aren't as dumb as you think

About Lis Pardi

Lis is an information architect, usability researcher, and interaction designer at Digitas Health. She has an MS in Library and Information Science from Simmons College and was named one of seven "Brilliant Women in Tech" by Craig Newmark (of craigslist). Lis has worked on interfaces for health care, games, retailers, and research databases. She lives in Philadelphia, where she doesn't eat nearly as many cheesesteaks as people might think.


Day 2 \\ Aug. 25, 2016 \\ 9AM to 4PM CT

(Schedule subject to change)

Content Strategy for an Era of Self-Validating Facts 9am CT

by Margot Bloomstein, Author of Content Strategy at Work

The 2016 US presidential election reveals a post-fact culture.

Previously, catching someone in a lie could sully their name, derail a campaign, or decimate a brand--ask Gary Hart, Richard Nixon, and former governor and Appalachian Trail enthusiast Mark Sanford.

Today, lies matter less. Not to brands, but to their audiences. Emotion replaces logic. So how do you choose content types to develop rapport when your audience tests proof points against their convictions? Can mass media validate fact if "truthiness" trumps truth? Can you harness opposing perspectives without ceding to false equivalency?

Most importantly, we'll discuss how to empower audiences to embrace the courage of their convictions on your behalf.

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.


Web Governance Through On-Demand Online Training 10am CT

by Shelley Keith, Director of Digital Communications at University of Mary Washington

One of the biggest web problems we have in higher education is the number of cooks in the kitchen. We've got SMEs and HIPPOs and the immeasurable plethora of "non web" people making changes to web content throughout the institution. Since there are as many ways to do things as there are people to do them, it all comes out a big mess over time.

All the content strategies, web governance plans, and communications policies in the world will not help if people in the trenches -- and often their bosses -- do not understand what is expected, why, and how exactly they can accomplish their goals. Enter training.

In this session, I'll talk about our content strategy journey, the redevelopment of a brand new .edu website, and how we used this process to both make the case for mandatory training and develop training beyond using the CMS. I'll even make available lesson plans, scripts, and talk about the actual tools used for development of the on-demand delivery system and content.

You will learn:

  • How we wove the case for mandatory training into the narrative we used to gain cabinet level buy in for a redevelopment initiative.
  • How training has been structured to guide users through not only compliance (ADA, style, best practices, etc.) and practical CMS use, but also show them exactly what tools and support options are available to them.
  • Shared lesson plans, scripts, and quiz materials.

About Shelley Keith

Shelley Keith has been building websites long enough to remember when some sites operated just on IP addresses, Angelfire was rad, and the capitalization of HoTMaiL was clever. She's survived the Dot Bomb, the advent of the "blog," and the days when every small business client was sure they could clone eBay - only just for Beanie Babies - and make a mint. She was the manager of Web communications and marketing at Southern Arkansas University before moving into her current role as director of digital communications for the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, Virginia. Keith has a bachelor?s of business administration from Southern Arkansas University, a master?s of science in information quality from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, and is a 2013 graduate of the HighEdWeb Leadership Academy - but is still totally just making it up as she goes along.


Building a Storytelling System 11am CT

by Georgy Cohen, Associate Creative Director for Content Strategy at OHO Interactive

Within any organization, stories are all around us - they reflect our brand and mission come to life, and they can enrich our digital experiences while driving actions that support overall goals. But how do we discover them in the first place? How do we decide and prioritize what stories we publish, defer, or forego entirely? How do we determine which format is best suited to convey a specific story? These decisions and processes are not intuitive, and we cannot take them for granted.

Stories are powerful, but to harness that power meaningfully, we need to create sustainable systems (cultural, organizational, and technical) that support high-level, cross-platform storytelling, whereby your organization is collecting and crafting stories that align with your goals, audiences, resources, and overall communications strategy.

In this session, we will discuss how to:

  • Socialize and gain buy-in around the concept of strategic storytelling
  • Create editorial workflows that support storytelling and planning your story content lifecycle
  • Develop editorial criteria and scoring systems by which to evaluate story ideas
  • Use editorial calendars and editorial meetings to reinforce strategic storytelling
  • Measure the impact of stories published and distributed across multiple platforms

About Georgy Cohen

Georgy Cohen is associate creative director for content strategy at OHO Interactive, a digital agency in Somerville, Mass., that works extensively with higher education. Georgy previously worked at Tufts University and Suffolk University, in addition to her own independent consultancy to higher ed. Georgy speaks frequently, receiving Best of Conference honors at HighEdWeb 2011 and delivering the keynote addresses at HighEdWeb Pittsburgh 2014 and HighEdWeb Arkansas 2011. She is also co-founder of Meet Content, a resource empowering higher education to create and sustain web content that works.


More Than Words 1pm CT

by Brad Weaver, Chief Experience Officer at Nine Labs

Content is far more than words. It's at the heart of design, and very soon content will, in fact, be design. Headless user interfaces, such as Siri and Amazon Echo, are the tip of the iceberg.

Within a decade, most user interface design will have very little to do with pixels and will be about consistency, tone, context, and understanding.

Moreover, the line between content and marketing is blurring by the minute, and we're going to have to learn to balance giving people what they want, what they need, and what's best for overall outcomes. We can do the right thing for our audience, clients, and the world at large if we get things right in the near future.

In this talk, we'll take a look at where content is headed and what we can learn from past mistakes.

About Brad Weaver

Brad Weaver is the Chief Experience Officer at Nine Labs in Atlanta. He went to school to be a lawyer, then came to his senses and has spent the last 18 years as a Creative Director, User Experience Designer, Information Architect, Author, and Content Strategist. He is the author of Creative Truth: Start & Build a Profitable Design Business. Brad's professional experience includes product development, interactive, branding, and marketing for clients including IHG, Verizon, AT&T, ESPN, Disney, NATO, The PGA, and Coca-Cola. Along the way, he's been the big cheese, the plebeian, the middle manager, and the class clown. Not one to shy away from hard work or his blue collar upbringing, he's also folded clothes, pumped gas, acted in blockbuster films, bagged groceries, sold cell phones, and climbed the Great Wall of China. His likes and loves are design, film, whiskey, Oxford commas, and Jesus, but not in that order.


Round Table Q&A Wrap-Up 2pm CT

by Kristina Halvorson, CEO and Founder of Brain Traffic

Closing the Summit, Kristina Halvorson hosts the Q&A Round Table session to allow attendees from all over the world to ask questions about processes and tools for 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.


speakers from:

many fine organizations and companies

About the Content Strategy Summit 2016

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%

Buy Tickets


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.