The life cycle of online content

The life cycle of online content #ndf2012

The life cycle of online content Kate Chmiel (@cakehelmit), Museum VictoriaContent is king, declares the familiar refrain. We technologists in the cultural sector talk a lot about brilliant new applications, platforms and containers for web content, but not so much about the slippery business of creating, managing and retiring the content itself. At Museum Victoria we’re working on ways to steer our content and address three of our biggest challenges: what to do with old content, how to make great new content, and how to keep users – external and internal – happy. In this presentation, Kate will run through Museum Victoria’s online content plan, and whether it’s helping us nail the jelly to the tree. Delete Migrate Update Build Sean Connery may have been best Bond but not up to job now. Similarly with many old websites. But can take long discussion to turn off old sites. Should be easy to update content but someone needs time to check content and update. Generally content worthless unless supporting business objectives and/or fulfilling user needs. Need to make sure stuff is efficient, be sustainable, make content work harder - be reused over multiple platforms. Often content doesn't need to be made... But if you're going to, need masterplan: a map defining what, when, who, how.

Keeping everyone happy is biggest part of the job in getting people to change the way they work. Start by asking questions and listening. Who will use it? What do you know about them? How will they get to it? Clarifies purpose for content. Often people make pages for themselves - what they would like if they were the user. Convert people. Need to convince people why this is a priority. What are the advantages of doing this? What are the disadvantages of not doing it? People are committed; no-one's twiddling their thumbs. Have to convince people this'll save time in longterm. Convince them it has to be done at all. "I spent a lot of time doing this site in 2002 and now you want me to change it?" Web users rarely initiate communication about problems, just go away. Make user testing a spectator sport. Pick a day a month - stream the video of the testing, have tea and coffe and invite people (developer, manager, everyone...) to watch and discuss. (Have done it once but not ingrained as a habit.) Working with researchers, some people will never play, but don't let them hold back others. Just do it - maybe professional rivalry will then come into play. Content strategy - focus is on content rather than container. Create once, publish everywhere. Get out of pattern of thinking that website is done. Currenly most of the innovative work is happening outside of the website. Make sure our content is great so it's always worth consuming.

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