I was given this book as part of the O’reilly Blogger review program. I have had the book finished for a little over a month now, but I have been putting off in writing this review for many a reason, none the least of which is my lack of confidence in what I am doing as a writer these days.
Having said that I do owe a review for the book and I had the sudden realization that it doesn’t have to be a Hemingway novel to qualify as a good review. So here it goes.
Sara Wachter-Boettcher is an independent content strategist, writer, editor, and consultant. She has written a much needed treatise without resorting to a dry, academic style. If you work in web development, content development, web design, database design, or any field that requires you to break down and reassemble data into a usable format this book is for you. Don’t let the cover fool you. While the book primarily deals in web terms, there is a lot to be gleaned from this book for other people.
This book is a high level treatise on designing content for the coming years. It is a challenge to break content down in to pieces that are usable in many applications. The World Wide Web as we know it is an every changing animal. We are no longer able to depend on a static page of information to serve as a viable representation of who we are as companies or individuals.
The web isn’t just being viewed on the 17 inch CRT monitors of yesterday. It exists on cell phones, tablets, 24 inch flat screen monitors, and 72 inch flat screen tv’s in Hi-def. Our challenge is how to tailor the data in a way that is usable in all circumstances or as near as all circumstances as we can get.
This breaks down into four parts. The first part covers content strategies, what they are, and why we need them. The second part discusses content, what it is, what it isn’t, and breaking data down to its most usable form. The third part moves into a practical case study of how to make the most efficient use of content. Keep in mind this is a higher level book, there isn’t a lot about specific coding. You won’t find 5 steps to make your HTML more responsive, but you will find reasons why responsive design must be on your radar. The fourth part is a primer to help the content manager make a case with those outside. It is the type of no nonsense information that would have prevent many a blinking gif by a well meaning manager ten years ago.
All in all I can say this book should be on your list, especially if you are currently working or looking at working in a position that requires a consistent approach to presenting data in an ongoing capacity. I don’t currently work in a web based position and I still have found plenty to think about and apply to the reporting work that I do in my current position.