I Am My Content

I am my content. I have been a content creator since I learned how to speak and how to hold a pencil. I’m creating content every day of my life both professionally and personally. I create content every time I send a photo of my dog to my sister and every time I write a review of a movie or book that I loved. Some of this content is shown in front of an audience of over 1 million and some of it is for my eyes only. Interestingly enough just about all of this content is digital and when I am not creating my own digital content I am consuming other’s digital content.

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History of Content

Before we can talk about the history of content strategy and answer the question: has there or has there not been a change to the practice of content strategy in the past decade? I think it would be beneficial to take a moment to explain what the term content strategy really means. According to UX Mag content strategy can be defined as “the plans for the creation, delivery, and governance of useful, usable content” and according to Moz, content strategy “concerns itself with the vision—the ins and outs of how and why your content will be created, managed, and eventually archived or updated.” In my opinion content strategy is the “how” behind the “what”. The what being your content and the how being how you’re going to push that content out to people successfully.

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Content Strategy 101

Meghan Casey, in her book The Content Strategy Toolkit, goes into great detail in order to give a step-by-step guide on how to create and plan content, deliver that content successfully and how to manage that content. Casey takes special care in explaining budget, buy-in and preparing for success. Everything Casey says is important for the budding content creator to absorb, but these three elements are especially important in developing a content strategy. These elements are so important in fact that Casey covers them within the first five chapters of the book. But why are they so important? And how can we expect to use them in a helpful way in a real world setting?

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An Audience Understood

Quinnipiac University is a private university located in Hamden, Connecticut. The university was founded in 1929 and has roughly 7,000 undergraduate students. These students, including graduate students pursuing their master’s degree must navigate MyQ.com for information, access to blackboard, access to plan their future courses, housing information and much more. My Q serves as a starting off point for students to learn information on almost any topic regarding student life as well as a way to access their e-mail, self service and web advisor accounts.

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You and Me and Usability

My Q is a site used by Quinnipiac University undergraduate and graduate students as well as staff and faculty. The purpose of the site is to direct users to information, forms and third party applications related to the University. Usability tests were conducted on three participants to determine how difficult or easy it is to navigate My Q in its current state.

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Two Wrongs Make A RITE

If you haven’t read my previous blog post about another great UX method called Business Origami I definitely recommend checking out that post before reading this one. If you take anything away from reading that post it should be that there’s so many different methods of UX design and there’s no right or wrong way to do any of these methods. Another one of my favorite methods, aside from Business Origami, is the RITE method, also known as Rapid Iterative Testing and Evaluation. How can you not like the RITE method, it’s literally the right method to use! But enough word puns (for now) let’s talk more about what the RITE method actually is.

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Interviewing 101

Jimmy Fallon. James Corden. Trevor Noah. What do all of these people have in common? (Aside from being hilarious.) They’re all great at interviews! There’s so much more to being good at interviewing besides sitting next to someone and asking them a simple question, getting a simple answer in response and repeating it over and over. If that was the case then these hosts wouldn’t be half as popular as they are today. When it comes down to it there are Five Phases of an Interview that everyone should go through when it comes to collecting data. No promises you’ll be the next Jimmy Fallon at the end of it but you’ll definitely get some just as good results.

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Business Origami

User Experience Design (UX design) is all about the process or steps that an individual takes when interacting with your product, these products mostly include things such as websites or applications. The amazing thing about conducting UX tests is that there’s not just one way to do this. The process is never so cut and dry, there’s always various different methods of collecting data to see how users interact with your product. Personally, I think that’s the best part of UX design, I love the variety of choices! I could go on nonstop talking about the different ways to gather data but I want to talk about one method that is one of my favorites called Business Origami, created by the Hitachi Design Center.

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Mental Models

Google has all the answers. Twitter is filled with hate speech. Apple is better than Android. Only moms use Facebook. All of these assumptions are considered mental models, a sort of group thinking that pertains to a system based on belief, not fact. but still effect your user base. Sure you might think that Apple is better than android, everyone you know has an iPhone after all, but did you know that Apple and Android split the market almost 50/50? That’s the thing about mental models, you might have assumptions you think to be true but your assumption is personalized to you, everybody has their own personal mental models.

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Principles of User Experience Mini Portfolio

Throughout my seven weeks in my Principles of User Experience graduate class I have learned so much and taken away such important information that I find myself wondering how I could have considered myself a designer without this class. Perhaps that was a bit dramatic but I definitely consider myself a better designer after having taken this class. (And at this point do you really expect anything other than ~dramatics~ from me?) In all seriousness because I learned so much and did such great work with this class I created a mini portfolio of my work. I’ll also go through each module in the class and explain what I did and what I learned in the module because not everybody can take a graduate class and this way you’ll get the Spark Notes of what I learned.

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