Changing the Face of a City: Live Tweet Transcript

I got a chance to attend last night’s session on the content strategy used to rework the City of Vancouver’s website from the ground up.

My favourite tidbits:

  • 4,500 citizens responded to a survey about how the City could improve the site–those are outstanding numbers and indicate that the stakes are high
  • The site went from 26,000 HTML pages to under 5,000 through a combination of prioritizing most frequently visited content and rewriting copy in plain English
  • Visitors go to the site to find out about parking and traffic tickets, garbage and recycling, and how to arrange inspections. What does the City focus on? Council minutes and bylaws–after all, the City is required to maintain these records. But that doesn’t service the public.

Want the full transcript tweet by tweet? Here’s my transcript via Storify.

Are writers and graphic designers equal in the eyes of our employers, peers, and clients?

I wonder if we treat all content creators with the same level of respect. I have a suspicion that, in general, writers get the short-end of the stick. My rationale is that since everyone who works with a writer is literate, they often think they can also actually write. Graphic designers and digital media artists also regularly encounter laypeople who think they can do it better. But, more than likely, they are afforded a certain degree of esteem in recognition of their professional expertise.

Do you agree? Is it because designers are proficient at using specialized software whereas writers can resort to stalwart but boring pens and paper? Are we digital snobs?

Do we also de-value text in favour of graphics? I find that the highest priority is always placed on the visuals, and copy can often be an after-thought. In fact, I am struggling against a trend to move work out of the hands of dedicated writers/editors to data entry workers.

If all content is not equal, what does that mean for us?

I originally made this post on The Content Wrangler Community (LinkedIn) on December 2, 2008.