Cobblers Shoes

Getting The Cobbler’s Children To Wear Flip-Flops

Many people have asked why I’ve not posted anything on my blog recently and there’s an easy explanation. Commitment Issues.  No seriously, I’m touched that readers have reached out and asked me to blog more (thank you forever for your feedback and support) but knowing that people wanted content that wasn’t ready gave me a brief complex. 

As I hung my head in shame, overwhelmed with guilt for not posting more often, I started to consider the current state of my blog. I considered which draft blog post to polish off  just to get some content posted.  I started mentally inventorying content, figuring out what publishing schedule I could tolerate and envisioning my goals (I can’t help it. I do this UX thing to everything now, my son’s homework processes, my garage, my closet, household product designs).

That’s when I realized that the question “Why haven’t you been posting anything?” was actually an indicator of a problem bigger than producing content on a schedule.  I hadn’t cast the net wide enough to include all content I produce.  I’ve been producing content.  Just not here.

The Problem

I produce content but users can’t access or find it. I’m silo-ing my content by putting related content into different locations that users don’t readily have access to.

There is no rhyme or reason why some content is posted to certain areas and not others.   The  purpose and rules for content hasn’t been defined.  Sometimes the content is placed on a site based on the audience and the purpose of the content like it should. Other times, it’s a whimsical or convenience-based decision. 

  1. Is Facebook open?
  2. Yes.
  3. Post Content to Facebook

Who’s going to be the first person to say the word “Governance?”   If it was you, yes, I don’t enforce governance of my own content.

The content exists in different locations and mediums.  Some of it lives on the web. Some doesn’t.  Some content is web-ready but a process isn’t defined to get it to the web.  If a process existed to get there, it doesn’t have a logical place in the current order. Where would it live? 

Each content item doesn’t have a defined place in relation to the rest of the content.  My content architecture isn’t robust and well-defined. I’ve not yet tried to add new types of content or categories into the schema. I told myself that it was okay not to plan the Information Architecture of my own site because it wasn’t a deep schema and didn’t really need it. Then I hoped no one would notice.  This lack of IA planning made adding new content and categories challenging.  It just didn’t belong anywhere so I didn’t post it.

These are all problems for my readers, potential readers and even myself because content is harder to maintain, retrieve, share,etc…

How am I going to change the world if my profoundness is scattered across mediums and websites?

People lose visibility into other content sources when  it’s siloed.  It’s sad, really. to have a user’s attention but not serve up the content.  This is a problem I resolve for both intranet and public facing SharePoint clients using Content Strategy & Planning, User Experience Design and SharePoint Web Content Management features.  Now, why didn’t I realize I could do that for myself? 

My Content Strategy Sucks

The saying used in the title of this post is based on an adage, “The Cobbler’s Children Have No Shoes,” which describes a professional that is so busy taking care of his or her clients that they fail to properly provide themselves with the benefit of their own expertise e.g. the shoemaker who doesn’t give his children shoes, the web designer with a terrible website, the accountant that doesn’t do his taxes, the UX strategist with content everywhere that can’t be found… you get the idea.  

This Cobbler Will Get Her Kids Into Flip-Flops

So now I’ve identified my problem.  It’s time to make a goal. What am I trying to accomplish?  And for whom?

I want to consolidate all my content and make it easier for me to manage and for users to find. 

To get there I’m going to do a simplified version of what I’d do for a client, which is the following:

  1. Set goals that support the business (me), the authors (me) and users (you).
  2. Develop user stories/personas
  3. Inventory the content
  4. Create a new IA,
  5. Define a publishing process and schedule
  6. Design content layout

  Because I’m simplifying this process, I will get simplified results. I will get my kids into flip-flops but not all the way into shoes.  The cobblers kids will not have shoes until the next iteration.

My Content Summary

A content inventory is a listing of all content in your site – both current and planned. The inventory is usually managed in a spreadsheet and lists the information about the content (metadata) such as filename, page title, type of content, author, owner, approver, keywords, etc.

This content summary is not a content inventory.  As I said before, I’m taking a shortcut and only aiming to get the kid into flip-flops.  

Blog Posts  and Pages

My blog is primarily posts and pages, which contains informal and informative content covering topics related to the work that I do – SharePoint, UX, Content, Usability, Presentations.  This content exists in a WordPress blog (moving it to another platform would be tragic for my SEO and make it harder to find my content).

Widgets

I use widgets to aggregate content from twitter and Pinterest.  Widgets are like web parts.  They are part of the platform and are modular components that can be placed anywhere.

Facebook “Blog” Posts

I post Facebook status updates that are not really status updates, they are blog posts.  If a user has to click “See More” twice from the activity feed and then scroll vertically to finish reading, it’s not a status update. It’s a blog post. Rather than post the content directly to facebook,  I’ll put those stories in a new section called, The Marcy Experience.  Once posted, I’ll share the article to Facebook. 

Event Photography

I take pictures nearly everywhere I go.  This content lives in Smugmug at http://marcykellarstudio.com.  After nearly every event people ask me to email or tweet them when I post my pictures and to include the link.  Earth to Marcy.  People can’t find my pictures that are already out there on the web.

Portfolio

I have a portfolio but you wouldn’t know it unless you asked me.  It doesn’t exist on the web in one place. My work includes paintings, photography, websites, mobile apps, illustrations, UX deliverables, book covers and e-books.   It used to be online years ago but came down when I redesigned it and then overthought the new design.  Hopefully I can get the portfolio content posted by staying away from designing the presentation of the portfolio. I always get stuck there.  

Screenshots

I am always on the look out for examples of well designed sites or bad usability.  Couple that with the fact that I’m a digital hoarder and you will understand that I collect massive amounts of screenshots of things I think may potentially have some use later.  Of that massive collection, about  1% are worthy of sharing.  Want to know just how many screenshots I collected since I reimaged my computer on July 23rd of this year?   524.  524 Screenshots in 24 days.  I’ve posted 4 of those to twitter and facebook.

 SNAGHTML6d1112

Ad-hoc Guidance

Sometimes I email a client useful guidance that could qualify as a short blog post.  This content is formatted for easy consuption and often includes links to resources. 

Videos

I used to make silly videos using Premier Pro and terrible digital cameras. Much to my family and friend’s chagrin, these videos now live on YouTube.  They are nearly impossible to find because they aren’t tagged for the masses to see. Now that I know how to record HD video using my Canon 7D, I’ve got a few more planned. 

Napkin Articles

This article started as an outline on the back of a napkin.  Recently I had been outlining articles on an airline napkin while awaiting that 10,000 foot mark when napkin is traded for iPhone. What’s interesting is that these articles cover my favorite subjects to talk about and work on but I’ve never written about them. When I talk about these topics, I bet my pupils dilate like I’m looking at Ryan Reynolds or Nutella. Here are a few of those titillating subjects that need to be translated from napkin into articles:

  • Designing Usable Mega Drop Down Navigation
  • What Does User Experience Design look like with SharePoint
  • Gathering Requirements
  • Web Content Migration
  • Faceted Search

Cartoons

I draw cartoons to explain SharePoint things to people.  Very few people get to see them. They live in sketchpads.  A few months ago, Jeff Shuey sent me an awesome Kodak scanner.  If I use the scanner to make the cartoons digital, we all win.

Conclusion

Now that I’ve inventoried the content, I can see that I have a lot more content than I thought I did.  A few items are already on the web, others require migration.  Now I can move on to the next step: Creating a new IA to support the content.  

SharePoint is still the focus of TheSharePointMuse.com but the rest of me will be represented in the Marcy Experience.  I am learning new things and getting into mischief nearly every day all the while producing content that I want to share.   I am a photographer, artist, mother of a teenager, gardener (prior to the Indiana drought) and friend. I’ve been producing content related to these passions for a while that don’t make it into my blog. 

I wonder how I missed this?  I guess it took being strapped to a seat on an airplane having nothing to do except write on the back of a napkin to figure it out.

About Marcy Kellar

Marcy Kellar is a SharePoint Solution Architect at Perficient and well known for her expertise in SharePoint branding. Her specialties include user experience design, branding and UI customization, information architecture, web content management, and usability testing. Marcy’s experience spans over 20 years and includes work in design, life sciences, psychology and R&D. Marcy is co-author of Beginning SharePoint Designer 2010 (Wrox, October 2010) and is a former professor at the Art Institute teaching user centered design courses, “Intro to User Centered Design” and “Usability Testing.” She is a popular speaker, author and award-winning artist and photographer.

Blogging, content, Content Inventory, The Marcy Experience, User Experience, ux

One Response to Getting The Cobbler’s Children To Wear Flip-Flops

  1. SomeDude August 17, 2012 at 5:13 pm #

    You have some serious issues internally… seriously though.. your one talented woman that shares about a quarter of what is inside that head of yours to the world.

    Get busy Kellar. Folks are waiting for more

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