42 minutes | Sep 30, 2020

Autogram: Content and Design Systems for Enterprises – Episode 84

Orchestrating the strategy, design, and software work that comes with enterprise-scale digital projects is a complex and painstaking mission. It's hard to imagine a team better equipped to take on these challenges than the founders of Autogram. Karen McGrane Ethan Marcotte Jeff Eaton Karen McGrane, Ethan Marcotte, and Jeff Eaton have each mastered huge swaths of digital business practice. Karen built the venerable UX and content practices at Razorfish and has arguably done more enterprise content strategy work than anyone else on the planet. It's hard to find a content strategist who doesn't cite her as a mentor or source of inspiration. Ethan introduced the now-ubiquitous practice of responsive web design ten years ago. He's working now to develop a holistic approach to creating design systems. Jeff is an accomplished web developer and content management systems expert who has guided the content strategy for many of the largest sites on the web. Together they help digital teams collaborate more effectively. We talked about: Karen's background as a content strategist and information architect and her pioneering work building the user experience practice at Razorfish Ethan's background as a front-end designer and developer and the creator of responsive web design Jeff's background in content management systems and web development and his work in content strategy how their identification of common concerns across content management systems and design systems led to them getting together as a team the Venn diagram that describes their overlapping skills sets: Karen in strategy and design, Ethan in design and software, and Jeff in software and strategy the challenges of getting content management systems and design systems to work for the whole organization, not just the content and design teams how to move from thinking about artifacts like websites to higher level design systems that have a broader impact on the organization how hard it can be to keep content, design, and tech teams aligned over the course a digital initiative the "tangly" challenges of implementing a decoupled content architecture the interplay between decoupled-content systems and pattern-oriented design systems the importance of focusing on the back-end authoring experience and of aligning on language and labels across different parts of the organization how to align teams on a collective shared understanding about design pattern language the tools and approaches you can use to help different teams develop a shared understanding of the concepts in a big, complex digital project the hazards of having complicated systems being led by any one discipline or team the challenges of scaling content strategy and design practices the ongoing thinking among enterprises that technology will fix their problems, when in fact it's 80% people and process work that needs to be done the ongoing work in the design world to develop a common language around building design systems the importance of shared language and grammar across the span of big complex digital initiatives Karen's Bio Karen McGrane identifies and solves problems with content management and user experience design across print, web, and mobile. She has partnered with some of the world’s largest enterprise businesses to streamline their digital operations and governance. Follow Karen on Twitter. Ethan's Bio Ethan Marcotte works at the intersection of design and front-end development, to help organizations design and build sites and services that can be accessed by everyone, everywhere. Notably, he introduced the world to responsive web design. Follow Ethan on Twitter. Jeff's Bio Jeff Eaton helps large organizations understand, model, and manage their content. Whether he’s fixing problems with CMS architecture or editorial workflow, his solutions sit in the overlap between design, communications,
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