Two days of smart workshops and presentations. Two days of notebook-busting, pencil-scribbling, brain-enlarging content. So let’s get ready to blast off.

Workshop Schedule

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

  • 8:00 – 8:30


  • 8:30 – 12:00

    Corey Vilhauer – “Writing for Your Audience: The Message, the Words, the Plan”

    Every word has an audience. And every audience has a message. Tying those three things together, however, is what takes the act of writing into something more strategic. This workshop will start from the beginning – determining our website’s message – and dive into how to write and plan effective web content that is both on point and on time.

  • 12:00 – 1:30

    Break for Lunch (on your own)

  • 1:30 – 5:00

    Eileen Webb – “Planning for Consistency: Creating Content Practices to Support Your Team”

    The copy has been written and the message has been set. The site is live, and everything fits. But after a few months, things start to slip. In this workshop, we’ll explore how to improve the authoring experience for those who are creating and maintaining content. We’ll learn how to build content guidelines (that your team will actually use!) to support the ongoing content creation needs of your site.

Conference Schedule

Thursday, April 30, 2015

  • 8:00 – 9:00


  • Opening Remarks
    9:00 – 9:30

    Deane Barker – “Introducing the Blend Web Operations Framework”

    Effective web operations is often treated as something of a minor miracle — we’re not sure how it gets done, but we stumble through it somehow. In a long-range attempt to remedy this, Blend Interactive is developing a formal “Web Operations Framework,” describing the roles, tasks, events, and artifacts to implement effective web strategy in your own operations. Deane will give a short introduction to this framework, both its current form and where it’s going. Additionally, Deane will discuss how this framework will affect the curriculum of the Now What? conference in the coming years.

  • Opening Keynote
    9:30 – 10:20

    Margot Bloomstein – “Knowing and Communicating the Self Amid Constraints”

    Arm yourself with personas, research, and KPIs. Look out at data you’re chasing. Then look in. What do you see? We spawn sites, create content, and chase new platforms without always knowing why. To keep up with competitors? To keep up with users? We know them better than we know ourselves, then burn resources racing toward questionable destinations and burn out in the process. That’s where content strategy can help. We’ll discuss forging a path from where you are and who you are. Learn how to allot constrained resources and engage your audience. Eager to reach them? To know them, first know yourself.

  • 10:20-10:45

    Morning Break

  • 10:45-11:35

    Karl Fast – “Living With Agile”

    Agile is the modern way of making software. It’s the new standard for managing IT development teams and projects. But while Agile is centered on developers, setting the course for your website depends on many different roles: project managers, content strategists, information architects, marketing specialists, and more. What does Agile mean for everyone else? Developers are learning how to be Agile. The rest of us must learn how to live with Agile. Find out how.

  • 11:35-12:25

    Ahava Leibtag – “Managing Content Projects with Success and Panache”

    So often in digital projects, we push content to the bottom of the pile, or the end of the timeline. As we evolve our strategies, we’re learning that content really needs to come first. Ahava will show you how to avoid this problem and plan your content for success. Using case studies from a major university, a children’s hospital and a major publishing company, you will learn how to set up your digital projects, so that content is a major consideration and doesn’t destroy your project at the last minute.

  • 12:25 – 1:40


  • 1:45 – 2:05

    Eileen Webb – “Integrating Accessibility: Planning Content for Everyone”

    Discussions about web accessibility are usually focused on the technical challenges, but the real roadblocks are often inside your organization. Editors don’t know the steps to creating accessible content, and managers don’t understand the need. You may have a technically-accessible site, but you don’t have the workflow to fill it. We’ll talk about the organizational changes necessary to support complete content accessibility, from executive persuasion techniques to nitty-gritty process planning. Some organizations can be motivated by a carrot, while others will need the stick.

  • 2:05 – 2:55

    Corey Vilhauer – “Small Business CS: Content Strategy on a Shoestring”

    The discussion around content strategy is framed by large examples. NPR. Marriott. The Boston Globe. But it’s also the work of regional organizations, small universities, and mom-and-pop stores. It’s the work of non-profits with small budgets and big goals. How do we take those large ideas and distill them down to a level that helps the Web on a smaller, more local scale? Threaded through a discussion of three case studies, we’ll look at scaling the idea of content strategy back toward something more realistic so it fits within your time and budget.

  • 2:55 – 3:20

    Afternoon Break

  • 3:20 – 4:00

    Kevan Gilbert – “Creating a Healthy Digital Culture”

    Now that your new site is up, it’s the time to think for long-term. Next year, will you still be the only champion for change? Or will everyone from leadership to front-line workers embrace the power of digital? Was this web project just short-term relief work to solve itchy problems, or is it part of a pattern of thoughtful, iterative growth? Discover tools, approaches and facilitation tactics to help transform your organization into a culture of digital excellence.

  • Closing Keynote
    4:00 – 5:00

    Jared Spool – “The Anatomy of a Design Decision”

    What are the habits of highly effective design teams? For the last five years, we’ve been studying how designers make their decisions. When do they use outside information, such as research about their users? When do they go with their gut instinct? When do the designers look to past decisions and the lessons they’ve learned?
    What we found will surprise you. In this presentation, Jared will take you on an entertaining deep dive into the gut instinct of the best designers (without looking at all the gooey parts). You’ll learn five styles of decision making, from Self Design to Experience-focused Design, and which style produces quality results. Prepare to learn how to be a better designer.

  • 5:30 – 8:00

    Closing Party

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