The Parallax View

Content Matters

Mobile, social, web, brochure, user manual, policy, procedure, press release. Regardless of the type of material, where it appears, or how it’s delivered, all content matters. Yet, too often content doesn’t serve its users, frustrating them instead.

This year, The Parallax View is focusing on matters related to content: assessing it, writing it, editing it, managing it, and even enjoying it! Join us.

– Pamela Kostur & Paul LeBel


Gilbane 2013: Content & the Digital Experience

Pamela Kostur

In early December, I traveled to Boston to participate in the 2013 Gilbane Conference on Content and the Digital Experience. It was refreshing to be among so many people who care about content. Here are some of the highlights:

  • In his keynote presentation on “Forget Big Data…Here Comes Big Content!” Jake Sorofman reassured us that it’s a good time to be a content geek, and emphasized the importance of storytelling. “Stories engage. Stores help us learn. Stories help us remember.”
  • In another keynote, Stephen Powers talked about the Context Conundrum, especially how “empowered buyers demand a new level of customer obsession” which includes cross-channel contextualization.
  • Tony Byrne had everyone in stitches with his “ShakesPoint: What the Bard Could Teach us About SharePoint and the Digital World.” According to Byrne, “Now is the Windows Mobile of our Discontent.”
  • I loved Karla Turcios’ presentation on “Empowering Users by Designing with Empathy.” Karla differentiates designing with empathy from designing with sympathy. Empathy focuses on how we are trying to solve users’ needs, and ensures we design through their mindsets, not ours.
  • My favourite recommendation from David Hobbs’ presentation on “Your Site Needs Improvement” is to “get the bones right.”
  • While I wasn’t able to attend Hilary Marsh’s presentation, we did manage to chat about content strategy in a spare moment. I love this quote from her slides: “If you build a site without knowing the content that will exist, the site you create may not be able to be successful!” Hilary goes on to talk about 7 ways content can ‘choke out’ a web project, and 6 things you can do to mitigate the risks.

I’m hoping the passion for content carries over into the content we’re seeing everyday on the web. At least once I day, I’m baffled and annoyed by content that doesn’t make sense, or isn’t what I expected. Content matters; this year, vow to make your content connect with your users in a way that’s meaningful to them.

Presentations, including mine on “Connecting Content to the Customer Experience” are available for download.

Reading List

It’s hard to keep up with all the buzz related to content these days. Here are some suggestions, taken from a reading list Pamela gave to her students studying Interactive Digital Media at Centennial College last semester. These are the newsletters we look forward to seeing in our inbox every week.

  • From the Nielson Norman Group comes Alertbox, reporting on UX trends, research, and events. Subscribe by visiting
  • Mark Hurst’s company Creative Good focuses on creating better customer experiences.
    He also publishes an excellent weekly newsletter, aptly named Creative Good. Subscribe at
  • Gerry McGovern’s weekly newsletter New Thinking provides insightful articles on all things customer-centric. Shows up in your inbox on Sunday evening so you can dig into it first thing on Monday morning. Great start to the week! Subscribe by visiting

A noteworthy newsletter not related to content strategy is Brain Pickings, with thought-provoking articles like “Debunking the Myth of the 10,000-Hours Rules: What it Actually Takes to Reach Genius-Level Excellence” and “How Long it Takes to Form a New Habit”. Subscribe at Although they suggest making a small donation (which you might consider, if you think the content is worthwhile), the newsletter is free, and interesting.

Subscribe, spread the word, and send us your suggestions.

Upcoming Events

Meetup logo
Toronto Content Strategy Meetup

February 20

Pamela is speaking to the Toronto Content Strategy Group on improving the customer experience through content strategy.

Good content serves customers. It persuades them to buy and use your products and services, reduces calls to your support centers and helps prevent costly accidents and lawsuits. Yet, in spite of the buzz surrounding content strategy, there is a shocking amount of unusable, inappropriate, and irrelevant content being published and delivered to customers. Learn how to develop a content strategy to improve the customer experience, while advancing your business objectives.

For details and to sign up, visit the Toronto Content Strategy Group.


Customer Experience Strategies Summit
March 25 & 26

The third annual Customer Experience Strategies Summit is in Toronto this March, and Pamela will be there, speaking on using your content to set the customer experience stage.

Whether it’s a marketing piece, billing statement, FAQ, or user guide, your content sets the stage for your customer’s experience. It’s the crucial first step in providing the optimum customer experience, and it’s often overlooked. Learn how you can build a content strategy to improve the customer experience while advancing your business objectives. Gain insights and tactics you can use to:

  • Connect your content to the customer experience
  • Develop content that supports customers and business objectives
  • Create and manage a needs-sensitive, channel-specific content strategy

If you’d like to attend, the Summit is offering 20% off the regular rate for colleagues and other industry professionals. Just use the VIP code SPK20, and register using one of the following methods:

Phone: 1 866 298 9343 ext 200



Visit the Summit website for more details.

U of T iSchool logo
University of Toronto iSchool, Treating Content as a Business Asset

March 27 & 28

Immediately following the Customer Experience Strategies Summit, Pamela is teaching her two-day “fun with content” course at the University of Toronto’s iSchool.

Treating Content as a Business Asset is offered through the iSchool’s Information Management certificate program, but whether you’re enrolled in the certificate program or not, you benefit from learning how  to assess content and its key performance indicators, and promote the value of good content in your organization.

Registration and course details are available through the University of Toronto iSchool.

Parallax Communications. Content first.
Available to write, edit, improve, clarify, plan, and manage your content.