Ann Rockley and Charles Cooper visited PDX to drop some knowledge on us in a little ditty called “Adaptive Content Strategy for Multiple Devices.” Using their newly launched website, they demonstrated a successful adaptive content model while hammering home of content strategy standards and principles.

Thanks to #CSPDX and LavaCon for making this happen!

Rockley emphasizes that developers often design content for the device, which she states is the wrong thing to do. Designing to the parameters of one technology alienates the optimization of the content across a whole bunch of other formats.

The duo used the recently updated Rockley Group site as an example. Rockley and Cooper demonstrated the Rockley Group site on a browser and across a bevy of mobile devices: phones, tablets, mini tablets… and more!

Cooper points out that optimization goes beyond browser, mobile and tablet. We need to recognize that each mobile device has a portrait and landscape mode at a whole bunch of different aspect ratios. The challenge grows exponentially it can seem, as device markets expand and launch all kinds of new stuff.

Random note: Scott Abel let us know that there are over 800 devices in the world during the LavaCon opening presentation. Phew! Couldn’t imagine optimizing for all 800-something.

“You do need to test on more than one device,” said Cooper, as he began his multi device demonstration of the Rockley Group site.

“You won’t always know which device you’re using, but you’ll know who’s going to use the content.” said Cooper. It was a reminder to not forget content strategy principles of serving the user in a sustainable way.

Rockley brings it back to structured content.

Rockley reminds us that content is most efficient when it’s modular. Events, names and structure allow content to be fluid and adaptive. As long as we have small, modular and layered content, we are not reliant upon the dimensions of the device. You can have different sets of structures for information that are adapted in different ways. Tiny tidbits are not enough. They want a combination of things that are meaningful to them.

The Rockley Group focuses on content. Not code, not development. Content. But with the right decisions, and the right help, they can make a commercially available, and free tool, like Wordpress sing for them. That’s just one path out of many technologically.

Both Rockley and Cooper encourage us all to know what the customer needs and to always have an eye on the objectives of the content. Do what it takes to discover how they want to use it. Use this knowledge to sit down with tech and design folks to create an optimal presentation of content.

Rockley suggested that everyone start thinking structured content NOW (if they haven’t). By starting to look at how we can chunk and structure content now, and can create a clear definition of that structure, it’ll be much easier to adapt. The jump will be less painful than the one from print to web.

"If we know what something is, we can do anything we want with it." -@arockley on semantic naming of content.

Some awesome Q&A:

One audience member suggests designing with a framework to see content in various, different spaces. This allows testers to see how content looks across devices. Examples of frameworks to use: 960grid and Skeleton.

On scrolling: Rockley and Cooper believe that scrolling is no longer an issue. Don’t annoy the crap out of users, but design content that’s usable. It seems like there’s an undertone of not being afraid of scrolling– be more afraid of being useless.

The fold? Cooper suggests that the only people who get bent out of shape about content below the fold are marketing folks (hah). The more important mission is to get useful content to people– the right amount of information at the right time.

There’s crazy content strategy vibes and momentum coming from LavaCon and the soon-to-launch Content Strategy Workshops here in PDX. If you’re here, come say hello! Bring caffeine.