Larry Swanson’s Digital Portfolio

Brief summaries of some of my content strategy, modeling, information architecture, design, writing, and editorial work.

Strategy

Content Strategy

Comprehensive content strategy for fintech startup

Role: Consultant
I consulted with the founder to develop a foundational content strategy for an early-stage fintech startup. We collaborated with branding and design consultants and with engineering staff to envision, plan, and coordinate cross-functional alignment of content operations as well as voice, tone, and style guidance for product, web, and marketing content.


Content audit for publishing startup CMS migration

Role: Senior Manager
Two years into our journey as a dot-com publishing startup, we had accumulated a surprising amount of content – thousands of articles and resources across dozens of topics. In preparation for migration to a new CMS, we 1) inventoried the content in the old CMS, 2) audited it against new editorial criteria and publishing strategy, and 3) retagged it to align with a new taxonomy.


Content Strategy Insights podcast

Role: Producer and Host
As I completed my pivot from identifying as a web publisher to a content strategist, I launched the Content Strategy Insights podcast to keep myself abreast of the field and to connect and reconnect with fellow content and UX professionals. Five years and 120+ interviews later, I have stayed focused on my mission to democratize content strategy and make its principles and practices accessible to all. 

Modeling

Content Modeling

Product-content modeling for strategic enterprise pivot

Role: Contractor
Expedia Group is in the middle of a strategic pivot that requires a new product-content management approach. I am working with dozens of stakeholders across several product, engineering, design, and proof-of-concept teams to 1) structure content for a new design system, 2) align stakeholders on terminology, and 3) prototype a new content modeling and management system. 


Content modeling for nonprofit resource program

Role: Consultant
As part of a content strategy and modeling engagement, I created a content model to accommodate a shift in this nonprofit’s approach to their consultative mission. The model supported both a new information architecture for their resource library and a new program-assessment methodology.

IA

Information Architecture

Design system documentation

Role: Contractor
LinkedIn has a very mature design system, but the information architecture for its documentation had not kept up with the evolution of the system, making it difficult to find pattern, component, and other guidance. I used 1) IA heuristics, 2) stakeholder interviews and other qualitative research, and 3) tree tests and survey research to evaluate new organization and navigation options and plan their implementation.


Information architecture for course-listing website

Role: Founder and System Architect
As the founder and lead architect for this educational directory, I researched and modeled the business domain and created an information architecture to accommodate its educational content. Working closely with a back-end web developer, we fine-tuned our entity relationship diagram and used it to design the schema for the MySQL database that would power the business.


Taxonomy alignment for contextual advertising program

Role: Senior Manager
As part of my management of a new advertising-product launch, I worked closely with other senior managers to align our editorial and business-partner taxonomies. After several weeks of painstaking meetings, conversation, and correspondence, we documented our agreed-upon terminology and its organization and included it in the CMS component that drove the new system.

Design

Content Design

Content design guidelines review and update program

Role: Contractor
After auditing and reviewing the team’s Content Design Guidelines, I built a headless CMS for the guidelines in Airtable so that we could share them from a single source of truth to both a Sharepoint documentation site and to new Figma component-documentation cards. I also created and operationalized an ongoing review program to keep the guidelines up to date, running the weekly review meeting and tracking discussions and changes with Airtable workflow tooling.


Product-review page templates

Role: Founder and Editor
As the editor, designer, and developer of this (modestly funded) office-fitness startup, part of my job was to design the product-review overview pages and detail pages. I applied current UX design best practices, reviewed competing publications, and interviewed about a dozen prospective users to test possible template designs. I then implemented the designs using a low-code WordPress add-on.


Design Agency Management

Graphic services intrapreneurial venture

Role: Senior Manager
To augment our modest startup funding, and to address what we saw as price-gouging in the banner-ad production market, the founder of workz.com and I launched this intrapreneurial “start-up within a start-up.” I managed all aspects of the business, including all staff (as many as 15 designers) and account management (clients included established companies like Countrywide Home Loans and Investors Business Daily, as well as then-high-profile internet companies like 24/7 Media, Infonautics, and Nexchange). The archived version of the homepage showcases my 20th Century web form design skills.

Writing and Editing

UX Writing

Startup website UI and marketing copy

Role: Founder and Designer
As the founder of a startup designed to deliver content-strategy services to startups at scale, I interviewed dozens of  founders to identify their content pain points and elicit their feedback for the scheme for naming the levels of service in the product. After validating their concerns and considering their feedback, I wrote microcopy for the website and scripts for onboarding emails.


Editorial Management

WorkWhileWalking

Editorial management for ecommerce company

Role: Interim Managing Editor
Provided editorial leadership for office-fitness furniture company’s content-marketing program. Supervised and mentored editor and staff writer. Wrote and edited reviews of standing desks, treadmill desks, and other office-fitness gear.

 


Editorial leadership for education website

Role: Founder and Executive Editor
Developed editorial strategy and plan for an educational-information website. Hired managing editor and worked closely with her to create a publishing operation that let us author more than 8,000 detailed class listings in about six months.


Editorial jack-of-all-trades for web-enablement startup

Role: Senior Manager
Built editorial operation for dot-com-era startup that helped small businesses learn how to build websites and do business online. Hired writers and editors. Assigned, wrote, and edited stories on web design and development, internet marketing, SEO, and ecommerce.


Other Writing

Train-the-Trainer Training Lesson Plan
training documentation (collaborative contributor)
WordPress.org, January 2019

Sourdough: The Local-Community Starter Kit
program proposal
WordPress.org, October 2017

The Definitive Guide to Actual Famous Standing Desk Users
blog post
Well9to5, June 2016

Sitting and Other Hazards of Office Work
book chapter (research round-up from hundreds of sources)
ScaredSitless.com, October 2014

The 3 R’s of Habit Formation
blog post
LarrySwanson.com, February 2014

 

Longer case studies are available that elaborate on my work on:

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