Content strategy is one of my UX crushes. I was a couple years into my collection management job when I realized my strategizing around how best to convey messaging to staff had a name, and it was part of the UX field. I consider communication with staff to be internal user experience work, and as a person who works in an office and doesn’t see branch librarians often, I have to be strategic about what I communicate, how, and when.
I apply the content strategy quad created by Brain Traffic to my work. The substance I’m communicating is generally instructions for placing orders, requests to perform a task or give feedback, information about a new service we’re going to offer. Should be easy, right? Just send an email! Well, for the seventeen busy people whose selection work I coordinate, reading email means grabbing a second between storytime and class visit or a quiet moment on the reference desk, which may never happen. Email gets skimmed. I’ve been there.
Getting creative with structure allows me to disperse information in ways that stick. Noting that many emails I sent contained instructions which would need to be referenced in the future, I undertook a project to develop our staff intranet into a knowledge base where information could be hosted and discovered. This allows busy children’s librarians to discover the instructions they need independently, or, if they ask me for instructions, I can simply direct them to the correct page by including a link in my reply. Read more about this project here, including the information architecture I employed.