View individual speaker pages for more detail or, if you need to know what you’ll learn, read our convince your boss page.
Ahava Leibtag – Aha Media Group
Talk Title: I’m ok, You’re ok: Navigating Challenging Content Strategy Conversations
Abstract: It takes a lot of work to say the right thing. Particularly in UX, where we spend so much of our time being critical of design, content, strategy, and products, how do we artfully communicate with our clients to create a feeling of rapport, collaboration, and collegiality?
Join this lively, interactive session to hear real-life examples from a veteran in the field on how to effectively communicate during difficult conversations.
This session will examine how to:
- Manage challenging conversations around scoping
- Right a derailed project
- Create consensus without agreement
Clair Byrd – InVision
Talk Title: Content Core Values and Creating Humanity at Scale
Abstract: What does it mean for a brand to be “human?” As content leaders, our assumptions about what defines corporate “humanity” are colored by our own culture and self-interests. With such a subjective framework, how can we expect writers to create content consistent with our expected model of humanity?
Voice and tone documentation is often equally subjective. Adjectives and style notes mean different things to different people, but consistency is critical to establishing and maintaining your readers’ trust. How do we maintain voice and tone consistency when your creators span across a team of hundreds or thousands, all from different cultures and areas of focus?
Learn how creating working core values for content—not a list of do’s and dont’s—can unify disparate writers and improve your content strategy over time.
This talk will examine:
- Our assumptions about humanity and brand personhood
- New ways of encouraging and surfacing active decision-making regarding voice and tone, at scale
- How to create and instill your own brand-specific content core values at your company
Kerry Crawford – Simple Focus
Talk Title: A Detective, a Rock Star and a Content Strategist Walk into a Bar
Abstract: What do the best detectives, rock stars and content strategists have in common? They know how to observe a situation, ask the right questions and solve problems. In this session, we’ll talk about developing a framework for getting the information you need to do your best work.
Ron Bronson – Nordic Strategy Lab
Talk Title: The ROI of Content Strategy
Abstract: Despite the value of content strategy in everything we do, there still exists a gap across many organizations about its impact on the bottom line. For all of the big brands who value content, there are lots of firms along the highways and byways of the world who still don’t quite understand what the fuss is about. For those practitioners, we need to develop frameworks and results-driven practices that can quantify the value of content for stakeholders across the organization.
Hazel Jennings – Instagram
Talk Title: Postmodern Counterculture Meets Content
Abstract: As user experience designers, we’re redefining how people interact with content. What could a 1960’s counterculture novelist teach us about onboarding new users or making product decisions? Kurt Vonnegut, author of Slaughterhouse Five and over 25 other famous works, was a master of language and storytelling. Vonnegut outlined 8 rules for creative writing––including where to start your story and the job of every sentence. Come see how the rules that Vonnegut used while sitting at a typewriter apply directly to our work as designers, researchers and writers building online experiences.
Through this session, you will find a new way to think about designing products through the lens of an iconic postmodern author; see examples of uncommon ways Instagram has solved UX problems; and learn how the power of storytelling can build a stronger connection between your product and the people who use it.
Colleen Jones – Content Science Group
Talk Title: Thinking Big: Content as Core Business Capacity
Abstract: Business today is digital. Content is core to product experience and often is the product. Content drives marketing, sales, customer service, and support–all extensions of the product experience. Why do we relegate content to discrete small functions? Organizations who thrive in the future will treat content as a core business capacity. This session will explore how forward-thinking organizations are establishing content capacity with content models, content principles, and content intelligence.
Kate Kiefer Lee – Mailchimp
Talk Title: Writing in the Real World
Abstract: Whether or not you identify as a writer, you probably write every day. Most writing goes unnoticed, but emails, proposals, creative briefs, and blog posts are all meaningful forms of written communication. Developing your writing skills can strengthen your relationships, give you clarity when you need it, and transform your work. In this session, we’ll look at big and small ways to improve your writing. We’ll talk about how to get past the fear many of us feel at the beginning of a project by reframing the way you think about writing. You’ll learn how to move in stages through the writing process—even on quick projects and short blurbs. We’ll talk about how to communicate your ideas clearly, kindly, and in your voice. And finally, we’ll throw out the rules you were taught in school and replace them with some practical self-editing tips to make your writing polished and uniquely your own.
Alaina Wiens – Flint, Michigan Chamber of Commerce
Talk Title: Translating Business Strategy to Content Strategy
Abstract: Content strategy is good for business, but it can be challenging to sell the fundamentals of content strategy to leaders and decision-makers in our organizations. It can also be challenging to stay focused on strategy when surrounded by conflicting priorities and demands on web resources. In this session, we’ll discuss the value of your organization’s Strategic Plan in the face of these challenges—examining its application for making your case, guiding content decisions, and evaluating the success of your efforts.
Kerry-Anne Gilowey – August Sun Projects
Talk Title: Talk to the People: Customer Interviews for Content Strategists
Abstract: We can pore over detailed web analytics, review the pretty demographics charts given to us by Marketing, and devise colourful personas to guide our work, but until we’ve actually spoken to our customers – preferably face-to-face – our understanding of their needs remains limited.
It’s not just interaction designers, user experience practitioners and marketers who can benefit from conducting customer interviews. Content strategists and content creators too can gain an enormous amount from asking customers the right questions and knowing how to interpret their answers.
In this session we’ll explore how we can use interviews to get an understanding of the journey that our customers take with us, and how our content can be moulded by their emotional and mental state at each point along the way.
Amongst other things, you will learn:
- How conducting customer interviews can help you to develop better content
- How to conduct interviews sensitively but effectively
- How to analyze and use the information you gather during interviews
Melissa Breker – Content Strategy, Inc.
Talk Title: How to Use Content Mapping to Collaborate with Stakeholders
Abstract: Learn how you can use customer journeys as a way to uncover content requirements for your audience and plan for better content. It’s hard work getting people to change. The challenge is how to convince your team to work with content in a new way. It almost always boils down to the same thing.
Without the right motivation to change, people would rather stick to what they know, even if the status quo is more painful, ineffective, and unsatisfying.
Like all strategic conversations, understanding your current situation and determining the readiness for change in your organization is an important first step in getting things done.
This presentation highlights how to bring teams together around content via customer journeys to bring a shared vision for your content.
Through this approach, you can identify gaps in your current content and highlight opportunities to build a content mix that meets both business and audience goals.
Attend this presentation if you want to learn:
- How to use audience research to build content requirements
- Why it’s important to understand your organizations readiness for change
- How to plan and structure a content mapping session with your stakeholders (as well as explaining the benefits to them)
- What to do with the results of the session to socialize content strategy
Keri Maijala – Financial Engines
Talk Title: Being Human (Even When it’s Difficult)
Abstract: In order to connect with human beings, our content needs to be empathetic, conversational, and, well, human. But what do you do when you’re mired in heavy things like regulations? When you have a team of lawyers standing by with red pens? When the language you need for your brand is at odds with scary-sounding laws? With planning and partnership, you can create content that stays on-brand and keeps the lawyers on your side. You’ll see how to partner with legal and compliance representatives to work toward a common goal; ways to be creative with language to achieve brand goals while staying compliant; as well as examples of how being human can help regulated content be clear, accessible, and even fun.
Steve Fisher – Republic of Quality
Talk Title: Creating a Content-First Culture
Abstract: Raise your hand if the content of your website isn’t a top priority on meeting agendas or project budgets. We’ve all been there. Our websites are black holes without their content, but often organizations don’t prioritize content strategy in project plans or budgets. Sometimes it is close to the bottom of the list. It doesn’t have to be that way.
Learn how everyone can spark change to help organizational culture become content and design driven. And how to find and focus on what matters.
This workshop will help you understand how to plan for organizational change by working through items like future state maps and guiding principles to impact culture. We’ll discuss key activities that move teams and organizations towards becoming content focused and driven and how to create teams that can continue to advance this cultural change in an organization.
Jonathon Colman – Facebook
Talk Title: Wicked Ambiguity and User Experience
Abstract: How do you solve the world’s hardest problems? And how would you respond if they’re unsolvable? As user experience professionals, we’re focused on people who live and work in the here and now. We dive into research, define the problem, break down silos, and focus on people’s intent to create solutions. But how does our UX work change when a project lasts not for one year, or even 10 years, but for 10,000 years or more? Enter the “Wicked Problem,” or situations with so much ambiguity, complexity, and interdependencies that—by definition—they can’t be solved. Using real-world examples from NASA’s Voyager program, the Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste Repository, and other long-term UX efforts, we’ll talk about the challenges of creating solutions for people whom we’ll never know in our lifetimes. The ways we grapple with ambiguity give us a new perspective on our work and on what it means to build experiences that last.