Now What? Conference 2017

We hit the lab for two days of insightful talks and hands-on workshops about how to maintain and improve your website.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

  • 8:00 - 8:30


  • 8:30 - 12:00

    “Getting Started With User-Centered Content”

    Writing for the web is messy and complicated. As web content managers, we must weigh user needs against stakeholder demands, tight timelines, budget constraints, and more. We’re often thrown into projects that are already underway or lack a clear strategy. Our work is constrained by organizational pressures.

    In this workshop, we’ll talk about aligning content with project goals, creating a strategy that puts users first, and building products that can maintain momentum and success, even after we’re gone.

    Emileigh Barnes

    Content Designer, 18F

    Kate Garklavs

    Content Designer, 18F
  • 12:00 - 1:30

    Break for Lunch (on your own)

  • 1:30 - 5:00

    “Content Measurement and Analytics: Making Positive Change on the Web”

    We all want to create useful, usable content—and we want to deliver that content to the right users. But how do we know what works? And how do we use these insights to inform and adapt our content strategy?

    Effective content measurement relies on clearly defined goals. What is the purpose of your website and web content? What actions do we want users to take? How do we define success for our web presence and related content?

    Using analytics, we will relate content goals to relevant and meaningful metrics in order to quantitatively assess the quality of our web content and the efficacy of our content strategy. Say hello to positive change on the web!

    Join us and learn to:

    • Translate strategic business objectives into measurable content goals
    • Find the right metrics for the right goals (and how to avoid misleading metrics)
    • Measure and adapt your content strategy
    • Effectively present analytics data to engage content stakeholders and inform their work on the web
    • Configure Google Analytics to support your measurement plan

    Rick Allen

    Principal, ePublish Media, Inc.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

  • 8:00 - 8:30


  • 8:30 - 8:40

    Opening Remarks

    Corey Vilhauer – “Welcome to Now What? 2017”

  • 8:40 - 9:30

    “Content Design for Mobile Devices”

    We’ve all been so focused on designing for mobile devices that we’ve forgotten about content. But how your customers find, consume, and share your content on mobile is more important than ever. Learn about how to use content strategy to solve these issues, including content modeling, content auditing, and the core model. It may sound super nerdy now, but it won’t be once you’re there.

    Ahava Leibtag

    President, Aha Media Group, LLC
  • 9:30 - 10:20

    “Not Perfect, Always Better: A Story of Inclusion”

    Jake walked out of the conference room after meeting with Claire (VP of Engineering) and Sanjay (Design Director). He almost felt their glare burning a hole through his shirt. Jake had just sat through a hour-long meeting reviewing the user feedback from last year’s site launch. There had been reports of some accessibility issues for some time, but they’d been mostly ignored. The picture wasn’t getting any better: they were missing out on a lot of potential revenue by being hostile to people with disabilities.

    Jake pulled out his phone and sent a message to his team in Slack. “We’ve got some work to do”

    What was his next move? How did he begin the work and start to prioritize what needed to be done? How did he change the team’s process to include accessibility in EVERY post launch plan? Check in with Derek to find out what Jake and his team did next; you’ll learn what you need to do after a site launch to ensure your site is both accessible and easy to use by people with disabilities… and stays that way.

    Derek Featherstone

    Lead Accessibility Consultant, Simply Accessible
  • 10:20 - 10:45

    Morning Break

  • 10:45 - 11:35

    “Why Content Projects Fail”

    The content management implementation failure rate is higher than it should be, and projects seem to fail for the same cluster of reasons: unrealistic requirements, expectations, human factors, etc. In this session, Deane will discuss the major reasons for project failure learned through almost two decades of implementation experience, and discuss strategies and policies to put in place at each stage of the project to prevent them.

    Deane Barker

    Partner and Chief Strategy Officer, Blend Interactive
  • 11:35 - 12:25

    “How Silos Learn: Working in the Idea Factory”

    Taking up the cry against organizational silos can bring both empathy and cringing. Of course, silos are awful and keep us from doing our best work, but when you’re in the middle of a silo – and maybe that silo is inside ANOTHER silo – well, what’s a website manager to do?

    Based on her career among higher education’s ivory-tower silos, Amanda Costello brings together lessons from architecture and the Midwestern landscape to examine not only how to understand our silos, but to teach them a thing or two as well.

    Amanda Costello

    Lead Content Strategist, College of Education & Human Development, University of Minnesota
  • 12:25 - 1:45


  • 1:50 - 2:40

    “The Beauty of Brevity”

    The temptation with video content is to do too much: too many stories, too many voices, too many seconds! Parsing a bigger message into smaller bites offers a flexibility to align with an integrated marketing strategy. But it’s not about speeding things up or cutting things out.

    Utilizing short form content effectively takes foresight, contingency planning and conceptual agility. In this session, Ravi Jain will walk through the creative process of harnessing the potential of short- form aggregate storytelling.

    Ravi Jain

    Senior Associate Director, Digital Media and Web Development, Boston College
  • 2:40 - 3:05

    Afternoon Break

  • 3:05 - 3:55

    “Empathy Behind the Algorithms: Creating People-Driven SEO”

    Search engine algorithms are always changing, it can feel impossible to keep up. But the goal behind every Google search result has always stayed the same—to give people exactly what they want and need. If that’s Google’s #1 goal, then why would we cater to search engines instead of working harder to make our audience happy? Great SEO that results in better visibility and higher conversions always maps back to the people behind the keywords. In this talk, Chris will show you practical SEO techniques and approaches you can use to make sure your content is helpful, relevant, and findable, too.

    Chris Corak

    Partner, SEO + Technical Content Strategy, ONWARD
  • 3:55 - 4:45

    “Adaptive Content, Context, and Controversy”

    In 2017, “adaptive content” has become a buzzword. To some, it’s a complex, long-term initiative to structure content for flexible reuse and dynamic targeting. To others, it’s a way to ensure that everyone, everywhere, sees exactly what they want—like magic! In this talk, Karen shares her perspective (and reservations) on how adaptive content is being used today. She’ll discuss how adaptive content supports targeting content to device type—and why that’s rarely necessary. She’ll also describe ways that adaptive content can support tailoring content according to context—and ways that can go wrong. You’ll walk away with a better understanding of when adaptive content is necessary and how to get the most value from it.

    Karen McGrane

    CEO, Managing Partner, Bond Art + Science
  • 5:15 - 8:00

    Closing Party

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