The New Smashing Book: Now with More ME!

I’ve been quiet for the past few months, and that’s by design. Between the press of conference season and the post-Confab hangover (not to mention vacations, work travel and children) I’ve had tons of reasons to keep putting off new writing.

The biggest one, however, was that I actually was writing, just not for this blog.

I’m excited to officially announce the my inclusion in The Smashing Book #4: New Perspectives on Web Design. SURPRISE – I wrote about content strategy. (They even gave me this adorable hedgehog thing as the intro to my chapter!)

The chapter, which focuses on both sides of the content strategy landscape – both user needs and editor needs – serves as a capstone to all of this empathy stuff that’s I’ve been writing and talking about over the past year and a half.

From “The Two Faces of Content Strategy: Balancing the Needs of Users and Editors.”

“Our attention on users — on the audiences and customers we rely onto make our products and content a success — took a long time to coalesce. But here we are! The golden age of Web design! Where content is taken seriously! Where users get a seat at the table! Where everything is rainbows and chocolate cake and there isn’t an oatmeal raisin cookie to be seen!


Except for those who may not have had the same desire to take apart the Web and get behind it. Except for the people who take the things we make and fold them into their everyday job. Except for the editors who struggle with the weight of a new CMS, or the trivialities of workflow change, or the political turmoil that comes with a new website.

Along the way, these people all made the same move I did — from audience to editor — and they all take part in the creation of Web content. But we’ve been so focused on making usable websites for our customers that we somehow forgot that we also need to walk editors and bosses and co-workers through the process, too.

There are two faces to content strategy: the people we’re targeting (our users), and the people who are doing the targeting (our editors). We’re responsible for making great websites. But we’re also responsible for making websites that are usable from the editor’s standpoint. We are the people who make the Web; we are also those responsible for helping those who sustain it.”

It is officially the longest thing I’ve ever written, and it’s exciting to be included alongside smart people like Vitaly Friedman, Mat Marquis, and Aaron Gustafson. The book is on sale today, so you should go buy it.