Tall, Opinionated, and Highly Search-Optimized

Session Title

Tall, Opinionated, and Highly Search-Optimized


Jennifer Dubernas-Barton and Carl Collins, HUGE

Session Type: Presentation

Have you ever asked the question, “What’s all this content we produce really for? Is it saying anything original?” Is it inspired? Is it taking off? Never mind whether it’s factual, proper or appropriate: will it grab the attention of a busy world?

In other words, does your content have an opinion?

Persuading clients, managers, editors, or other stakeholders to be comfortable launching “opinionated” content might sound like the task of Sisyphus–but it’s a critical part of the user experience and one of the more satisfying parts of our jobs. In our experience, the magic of content strategy can help any company or product can find its voice. We’ll look at examples of successful, “opinionated” content and sites-things we often run through with our clients at HUGE in order to build consensus. We’ll demonstrate how we get traditional writers, editors, interaction designers and content strategists to work together negotiating the issues and producing successful products.


Jennifer Dubernas-Barton is a 6’2″ senior interaction designer at HUGE in Brooklyn, NY. She has been data wrangling for 10+ years coast-to-coast. She often requests clients that have large-scale sites and require new CMS systems. When not heads down, she is either on a plane traveling the world, gaining new experiences or baking cupcakes for the office. Jennifer has a Masters in Human Computer Interaction from DePaul University.

Carl Collins is a 6’4″ interaction designer (and sometimes content strategist) at HUGE in Brooklyn, NY. He loves nothing so much as working to help clients understand what the web means to them. Carl has a Masters of Science in Information from the University of Michigan.


  1. Posted September 16, 2009 at 4:45 pm

    Great subject for a session! It’s always a challenge to layer branding on top of content in a way that actually enhances the content. Very excited to hear what these smart tall people have to say about this excellent topic!

  2. Posted September 30, 2009 at 1:10 pm

    This is a great topic — addressing the quality & consistency aspects of your content rather than mere quantity and mass. It’s about intelligently producing content that is different, meaningful and inspirational so you can really connect with and grow your base. It sounds like they have some practical solutions for attracting more readers through optimization techniques as well. Looking forward to it!

  3. anya
    Posted September 30, 2009 at 1:48 pm

    When I first started as a Use Experience Designer, I thought that my role was designing a usable wrapper for content. Since then, I have I have learned that it is much more. We can all benefit from an understanding of Content Strategy in order to produce compelling web sites.

  4. Posted September 30, 2009 at 2:34 pm

    Content strategy talk would be an excellent subject for UX folks, especially those like myself working in environments where a content strategist isn’t a permanent position. Would love to see/hear examples of practices and suggestions that people in these types of situations might take away.

  5. Abigail
    Posted September 30, 2009 at 4:34 pm

    I think this could be really valuable in understanding our ever evolving field. Looking forward to it.

  6. Posted September 30, 2009 at 11:50 pm

    Great topic, but I really like the angle revealed in Anya’s comment: getting designers to go beyond the wrapper (“lorem ipsum”) and see that their work is tightly integrated with that of authors and editors.

  7. TG
    Posted October 1, 2009 at 2:04 pm

    I’ll 3rd Anya’s angle: this opinionated content should be the organizing principle of the site, not “the stuff inside” the site. Maybe use that as a wedge to get CS “baked in”?

    Also thoughts on getting clients to recognize the need for explicit, thought-out content strategy BEFORE it becomes a glaring need — the “ouch, yeah okay, about that content strategy phase you mentioned long ago…” part — would be tee-rific to hear.

  8. MP
    Posted October 1, 2009 at 6:01 pm

    This topic is especially important given that content is now being served on so many different platforms/media – many of which strip out design altogether (e.g. RSS, content sharing partnerships). Sometimes, in the dark of night, all you have left is the content. I’d love to learn more about how to convince clients how to make it shine.