2012 in articles and blog entries

Apologies if you’ve only joined me under this canopy to shelter from the deluge of year/end of year rundowns, reviews, and lists, but I have something of a tradition to maintain. For the fourth year running I’ve chosen a selection of articles and blog entries penned over the last twelve months which have had the most impact on me personally and professionally.

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Content strategy’s well-trodden paths

Back in the spring, when I first sowed the seeds of this open project, I had no idea how things would play out. I really shouldn’t have been so worried.

Let me begin by extending a huge and sincere thanks to everyone who played their part in this, particularly those who responded to the survey, encouraged others to do so, and remained patient as I worked out what to do with the results, and to the attendees of CS Forum 2011 who offered such kind words following my sole destroying (you had to be there) attempt to squeeze the last six months into 20 minutes. I can’t deny it’s been fun.

Though the finished diagram is by no means perfect, I can say with a measure of confidence that not only are these the six commonest paths today’s practising content strategists have taken to reach the discipline, but that they demonstrate the extent of our varied skills and approaches. It only serves to emphasise how much we need to continue sharing a little of what we’ve picked up along the way.

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Order your diagram prints from Society6

After having to disappoint literally ten people who asked if I had any plans to sell prints of my diagrams, I’ve finally bowed to the pressure.

One of the primary reasons for my long-standing reluctance was the thought of organising the printing, handling and distribution of the prints myself. Getting to the stage where I’d be on first name terms with the Post Office cashiers as I negotiated another shipment of thundersticks to a far flung land didn’t exactly fill me with much enthusiasm.

So when I stumbled upon these fine folks at Society6 and realised I could get away with placing any would-be customer in their capable hands, I finally got excited by the whole idea. You see, when you or I buy a product from Society6′s stable of ridiculously talented artists from around the world, they handle the production, packaging and shipping on the artist’s behalf. I know. I’ve rubbed my eyes a few times now and it still reads the same.

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That fine art of restoration

We all have a tendency to discard and dismiss things just because they’re seen as old and failing.

I’ve always greatly admired those with the skills, patience, and devotion required to restore objects to their once-glorious state. Take that rickety old chair left by your Great Aunt with tears in its cushions, blemishes on its veneer, and a woodworm-ridden leg that suggests to anyone who approaches with the intentions of sitting down that they risk ending up in crumpled heap. If only someone would be prepared to source the correct materials, discard anything that was beyond repair, and apply their knowledge of the materials, tools, and age to produce replacement pieces that match anything produced in its heyday.

In short: that there chair can be saved.

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Colour blindness and the web

Genetically inherited – or acquired through illness, accident or poisoning – colour blindness is a condition affecting approximately 8% of men and 1% of women in developed nations. The absence or altered sensitivity of one of the three cone receptors at the back of your eyes causes the individual difficulty in distinguishing certain colours from one another. While not a disability, the condition can at times be frustrating. I’m sure anyone with a form of colour blindness has fielded many a ‘what colour does this pencil look to you?’ question ad nauseam.

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