Arranging A Marriage of Content Priority and Code-Based Presentation

And oh, how beautiful it can be:

When Editors Design: Controlling Presentation In Structured Content

Jeff Eaton presents a really great overview of a number of techniques used to a) allow editors ease of control over their content presentation by assigning emphasis and priority, and b) structure so that content can be reused smoothly for multiple implementations or future upgrades to features.

Why does this distinction matter? First, it becomes much easier to preserve emphasis when the content moves from one publication channel to the next. Custom-tailored HTML can be generated when the story is sent via email; simple CSS rules can be used to vary the article’s appearance in a responsive Web design; and a content syndication API passes along the emphasis information without assumption. In addition, emphasis will evolve more gracefully than explicit layout decisions. As the primary website’s appearance changes (and visual templates come and go), designers can decide how to best communicate the emphasis that the editors have chosen.

New site collaborations launched: Aurora mScope and The Relationship Deal

Happy milestones and finished projects! Over at Odeler, I’ve recently completed custom or adapted responsive WordPress themes for two new sites:


The Relationship Deal

Sue Nador is a relationship strategist in the corporate world, and she applies this training and experience to her thoughts on personal relationships. Her site includes a blog about the changing dynamics in modern partnerships, where there are sometimes few cues to take when gender and professional identities fall outside of traditional roles. Lots of thought-provoking angles raised, and always with a frank sense of humour. Make sure you subscribe to her mailing list (in the footer) so you don’t miss an entry.

The site itself is a custom adaptation of the super-stylish Big Bang WP theme, revised to include a tailored home page and a few other features.

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Aurora mScope

Aurora Interactive builds and supports medical imaging software to hospitals, educational facilities, and pharmaceutical researchers that allows the swiftest of collaboration, the most practical of archiving, and the crispest of image viewing, turning giant visual files into nimble streatming display on demand. This site was built entirely custom with a home page, content pages, a news blog, case studies, and a number of snappy brochure image templates.

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Yahoo acquires Tumblr; You are zero steps closer to having your own domain

Everybody says she’s the brains behind Pa.

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When Facebook acquired Instagram earlier this year, the news was followed with EULA updates and advertising promises that spurred outrage and exodus from the free (to that date, business-plan-less) service. Amazon recently bought Goodreads, dismaying a large community of book-lovers who (quite rightly) did not expect their passionate literary communities to be sold off as a potential focus group for monster e-commerce.

Today’s announcement that Yahoo acquired Tumblr was followed by similar (but far lower volume) rumours of user abandonment.

There is a lot that can be debated about user expectations versus network business models, and how much we can expect in return for our participation and life content. Who owns the content? Who is doing who the service? Etcetera etcetera. But to me — and I have no problem with either Yahoo or advertising revenue plans, specifically — this is just another giant, flaming, frantically-waving red flag to remind us that we should all have our own websites.

Social network participation keeps increasing, and users’ lives become more and more cemented into place online. Instead of printing our photos, we make Facebook albums. We document and discuss events from moment to moment on Twitter. We share online content with current and new friends on Tumblr or Pinterest. Those are the places people find us. But what happens when the landscape of our favourite places and digital lives are restructured by a new owner? What if we do not, in fact, welcome our new insect overlords? If you need to walk away, where do you go?

Now imagine if you had a website with your own domain name all this time. Maybe you reposted some of your best social network content to your blog here and there all along. Or maybe you just left it blank with a pretty splash page and some social networking links, and it just sat there, soaking up the SEO of being connected to your active profiles elsewhere, making you easier to find by search engine. Giving you fine control over how you are represented online.

A personal site is the home you can fall back on in times of transition. It’s the place where people can find updated links to your new online activities. And if the next social network morphs into something that doesn’t represent your needs anymore, it’s your website that will take you back. No questions asked.