Don’t Believe the Hype

A couple years ago, as we heard about innovations in autonomous driving technology, I found myself daydreaming about what this technology would mean for our culture and my own life.  “I bet my own kids are the last generation of American teenagers who will go through that archetypical rite of passage of learning to drive!,” I thought. “In less than a decade, we’ll all be hauled around in brilliant, peppy…

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The Web is Written

Think of the verbs we use when describing the work we do on digital products: develop, design, code, manage, test, release, launch, support. You’ll note, though, that we don’t often say that we write web sites or apps.  “I write web sites” isn’t a sentence we hear nearly as often as, say, “I design web sites.” But writing well—that is, carefully choosing and assembling the words in our UI—is one…

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Sketching as Work

Earlier this week I led a group of Product, Technology, and Experience pros through a lengthy session to plan some challenging work to unify a diverse product portfolio. Several weeks ago, another group and I planned ways to improve an important business challenge: increasing renewals for a critical product line. In both sessions, I asked the teams to do something that might have seemed frivolous: I asked them to draw…

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A Working Definition of Digital Content Management

Been thinking lately about an enduring challenge for digital product teams: content management. So much of the problem–like so many problems–is definitional. So let’s propose a definition: “Web content management comprises the set of tools and practices by which the appropriate experts throughout the organization are able to create and update the online content that they care about, according to their own priorities and schedules, without specialized technical or design…

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Web content and time

Digital content changes over time, in a way other media content does not. Unlike a book, a brochure, a clay pot, or a piece of film, users expect web content to be easily and regularly revised. (Side note: this is why “under construction” pages, so popular in the 90s, with their cute icons of little construction workers, were basically pointless. All digital experiences are, in some way, “under construction.”) Therefore,…

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