Latest news in content: autumn 2017

News, thought pieces, advice

Content designers add value (just by doing their job)
Just having a content designer on your team means you get training, capacity development, mentoring and user-centred design advocacy for free. Content designers are AMAZING.

Map a content ecosystem
There is no better way to work out where your content stands. Then you can step back and take a critical look at the whole bangshoot. (Also, a great read.)

SEO myth-buster: 2017 edition
Exasperated post about current SEO buzzwords and fashions that are just nonsense and don’t work.

Practical tips and ‘how-tos’

Plain English, again
As a content designer, you will have endless conversations about why even experts need plain English. Here’s some more ammunition.

How to write a problem statement
‘Are we all solving the same problem?’ is an excellent first question to ask on any content project.

Sketch and prototype with content
(Long read, worth it.) A step-by-step guide for content designers working in interaction design. How to get the words into the design from the start.

Tools

How much will the content cost? 
Wait, HOW much? People constantly underestimate the cost of content. This tool is a quick way to work out how much a content project will cost.

And finally…

It’s so beautiful and clever and funny!
How to tell if your copy is narcissistic.

Latest news in content: Summer 2017

A round-up of the best advice, thinking, tools and news in content. This has all appeared in the fortnightly Scroll newsletter. (Sign up on the right, never miss out again…) Enjoy your summer!

News, thought pieces, advice

Content and emotions
Rule #1 for emotion-driven content: never assume you know how your user is feeling. Rather, focus on what you can do for them.

Mailchimp wins again
This is still the best tone guide around. That’s partly because they have focused on content types, so people know where they can vary tone as well as how to vary tone. That means this is more actionable than most. Annoyingly good.

Required reading for accessibility
Excellent, detailed advice and tools to help you meet AA compliance for accessibility. Good on the balance between font size, colour and contrast.

Government is service design
A classic by @mattedgar. Expresses why anyone who works in government, not just in digital, needs to develop design thinking capability. Required reading.

Practical tips and ‘how-tos’

How to get hired – advice for contractors
Top advice on getting hired, from an expert. Hetty Meyric Hughes is the Scroll partner in charge of matching contractors with jobs.

Voice and tone tables
Nice, simple way to explain tone and voice. Conveys a lot of information in an easy format.

How to SEO your video content
Excellent best practice advice, updated for 2017.

Tools

Distraction-free writing app
Of the many distraction-free writing apps around, we like Focus Writer the best. Good for working when it’s sunny outside.

And finally…

The Cat in the Hat style guide
The Bank of England uses Dr Seuss to train staff in the art of clear writing.

 

Latest news in content: Spring 2017

A round-up of the best advice, thinking, tools and news in content. This has all appeared in the fortnightly Scroll newsletter. (Sign up on the right, never miss out again…)

News, thought pieces, advice

Structured content saves lives
US doctors had to use a huge reference book when they diagnosed cancer. This case study explains how a digital team turned that reference book into interoperable digital content, accessible via APIs. Amazing piece of work.

Q: What’s a ‘UX writer’?
A: The private sector name for a content designer.

Design patterns for trust and consent
Digital is losing people’s trust. We need to get better at this.

GOV.UK taxonomy in beta
This is a sea change in the way GOV.UK content is organised. We’d love your thoughts on this – tweet us @ScrollUK using #taxonomybeta.

Much smarter marketing
Quite a long read but rammed with fascinating stuff about how to get people’s attention, digitally.

Practical tips and ‘how-tos’

Get the bullets right
A satisfyingly detailed article about how to use bullet points effectively.

How to use a content model
A step-by-step walk through designing and using your own content model.

Writing for translation
By a Google content guru. This shows how much worse badly written content gets after it’s translated. (Trigger warning: may make you feel retrospective guilt if you’ve ever written anything that was translated into Thai.)

Design your own chatbot
Excellent 4-part series about using IA to design chatbots. It’s not an in-depth guide but it’ll give you a couple of ‘Aha!’ moments as you see traditional content strategy tools being deployed in chatbot world.

User research: small-ish is beautiful
Definitive answers to the perennial ‘how many people is enough?’ question for doing qualitative user research. (Hint: about 5.)

Tools

Community thesaurus
Folksonomy-style thesaurus. Lovely little tool if you’re lost for words.

And finally…

Fiendish UX quiz
Do you know your Pantone Colour of the Year from your therblings? Prove it here!

What’s new in content

This blog is a round-up of the best of the Scroll newsletter in January. The newsletter is itself a round-up of the best advice, thinking, news and events in content strategy and content design. Sign up on the right, never miss out again…

News, thought pieces, advice

Why lorem ipsum is the worst thing ever

Proof that filler text ruins user testing sessions (even if it’s from Slipsum, the Samuel L Jackson filler text generator.)

Politeness and tone

If you write for US and UK audiences, listen to this excellent podcast on how the word ‘please’ is perceived differently.

Boomers v millenials

There’s a big difference in the way these audiences perceive, use and create user-generated content.

Practical tips and ‘how-tos’

How to use content types

A step-by-step guide to identifying content types and modelling them for a CMS. Excellent guide – follows on from part 1 which explains why it’s important to do this.

What would Mailchimp say?

Mailchimp’s highly respected voice and tone guide talks you through how to vary your tone for your audience’s emotional state.

Tools

Tools for finding related keywords

Some good ideas for keyword tools (not all free). Apparently Pinterest is great for this – who knew?

And finally…

A cure for writer’s block

Staring at a blank page? Lost for words? This app will fix you!

What’s new in content

This blog is a round-up of the best of the Scroll Training newsletter in November. The newsletter is itself a round-up of the best tools, tips and tricks in content strategy and content design. Sign up, don’t miss out…

News, thought pieces, advice

It doesn’t matter what you call it

Struggling to explain what content strategists do? Put the work before the words. Client panics at the sound of a ‘content audit’? Call it a ‘content check’.

A content designer is not just a web editor

Here’s how our friend Beck moved from writing words for websites to designing content based on user needs. (Take our content design bootcamp to get these skills.)

Reasons to be cheerful

Optimistic UI design.

Practical tips and ‘how-tos’

How hashtags work

Hashtags have different effects on different social media. This explains how they work and how to get the best out of them.

20-minute Twitter audit

Find out how well your client’s Twitter account is performing in less time than it takes to get your Deliveroo.

Design better forms

Simple fixes for common mistakes.

Tools

Clever tools for UI writers

Some useful ways to mock up designs to help you test your UI copy, or explain it to developers or designers.

And finally…

It’s content advent calendar time

And look who’s behind door #4. Don’t you wish he could run all your content projects?

 

 

Must-read only: what’s new in content

Too much internet to wade through before you find the worthwhile stuff? Never fear – we read it for you, cut the dross and keep the best. Then we put it all together in this round-up of the latest thinking, advice, tools and events in content strategy and content design. (Hint: you can get this straight to your inbox if you sign up for the Digital Content Academy newsletter. Never miss out again…)

Practical tips and ‘how-tos’

How hashtags work
Hashtags have different effects on different social media. This explains how they work and how to get the best out of them.

Run a user journey mapping workshop
Brilliant post on how (and why) to run a user journey mapping workshop. Sample takeaway: you really don’t need a fancy template to create a user journey map. Digital agencies make these to justify their fees…

Make your content live longer
Publishing brilliant content is one thing. Sustaining its life is another. Here’s some good advice.

Tools, tools, glorious tools

Clever tools for UI writers
Some useful ways to mock up designs to help you test your UI copy, or explain it to developers or designers.

Trello for Slack
We’re one step closer to achieving mind-meld.

News, thinking, advice

It doesn’t matter what you call it
Struggling to explain what content strategists do? Put the work before the words. Client panics at the sound of a ‘content audit’? Call it a ‘content check’.

Cognitive pyschology and content design
Content designers need to be able to explain their decisions – it’s not enough to say ‘because it’s in the style guide’. What we do is based on sound evidence, and you can learn about some of that here.

A content designer is not just a web editor
Here’s how our friend Beck moved from writing words for websites to designing content based on user needs. (Take our content design bootcamp to get these skills.)

Forgotten your password?
So have 82% of other people. Here’s the latest thinking on design patterns for log in pages.

And finally…

“We’re going digital!”
Sigh.