In modern digital publishing projects, content modeling can feel like a high wire act, balancing an organization’s big communication dreams against the ugly realities of design, technology, and legacy content constraints. Tilt too far in either direction, and the project falls.
Fortunately, there’s good news! By approaching content modeling as a communications challenge rather than One More Deliverable, it’s possible to design better, more accurate models in less time than you’d expect. In this workshop, we’ll use iterative exercises familiar to developers and designers, to examine an organization’s content multiple perspectives. We’ll build a complex model together — *fast*.
We will cover:
Attendees will produce a light entity-relationship diagram using a “Jobs to be done/Messages to communicate” model. This exercise will use a “canned” example organization. As attendees move through the exercise, they will be encouraged to examine the entities they have produced, and ask what makes one type different from another? Other topics to be discussed will be when to splitting and consolidate types, and composition.
After an explanation of what a content inventory is and the purposes it services, attendees will be given a “canned” inventory spreadsheet and asked to answer analyze it in a variety of ways. This will include using the inventory to spot trends and outliers, performing a gap analysis and Keep/Kill/Combine exercise through a content audit, and discussing how content governance can be brought to bear on these issues.
Attendees will Build a spreadsheet that describes the properties, property types, and rules for one entity type. This will be a table exercise, using pre-printed paper sheets ready to be filled with answers. Attendees will be encouraged to use the entity-relationship diagram and inventory to drive their decisions and answer questions like what properties are needed? What relationships are necessary? So the rules reflect the content you’re actually working with?
Attendees will be asked to produce or dissect a wireframe and explain how it maps to the data in the content model. During this exercise, some tables will be decomposing a screenshot and others will be wireframing from scratch. Attendees will be encouraged to ask questions about content relationships, curation, and automation. Are there new types being identified here which were missed when building the data dictionary? What are their properties and relationships?
About the speakers
Jeff Eaton brings nearly two decades of web development experience to his role as Digital Strategist at Lullabot. He’s designed and implemented large-scale web platforms for clients including Sony/BMG Music, Fast Company and Inc. Magazine, Harvard University, World Wrestling Entertainment, Verizon Wireless, and more.
He’s also the co-author of O’Reilly Media’s Using Drupal; the host of the Insert Content Here content strategy podcast; a frequent writer and speaker at web and open source conferences; and an active contributor to the Drupal project. In a previous life he worked as a freelance writer and a copy editor, jobs that he recalls fondly while building editorial tools for today’s content teams.
Greg Dunlap is a Senior Digital Strategist for Lullabot, where he helps clients create large-scale digital publishing systems using Drupal. In his spare time, Greg is an internationally ranked competition pinball player and loud-music concert goer. He lives in Pacific Grove, CA with his wife and a small menagerie of animals.