IA Summit 2017 - Interview
As principal strategist at Tanzen, Carrie Hane helps organizations increase income and decrease costs by rethinking how they create, manage, and connect their content. Through coaching and consulting, she helps them get the right information to the right people at the right time while improving processes. For more than 15 years, as both as a consultant and in-house employee, Carrie has been untangling information to make it ready for whatever the future holds.
What’s on your IA/UX/Content Strategy “nightstand” reading pile?
Gerry McGovern’s Transform: A Rebel’s Guide for Digital Transformation
Donna Lichaw’s The User’s Journey
What/ who is your creative muse?
Driving. I do my best thinking while in the car. Of course, I lose a lot of ideas there too because I can’t write them down and I forget by the time I can get to pen and paper – and I haven’t mastered voice notes on my phone. The shower is close second. I solved the idea-capture problem there with waterproof notes.
How did you find IA/UX/Content Strategy? What drew you to it?
From the time I had to create and manage my first website, I focused on the strategy because that made the most sense to me. It was the late 1990s, so we were all learning together. From Jakob Nielsen to Steve Krug to an IA class and the Polar Bear book to Content Strategy for the Web and beyond, I just kept moving along a path of learning about and advocating for better usability through content and IA. Organizing and finding patterns in things has always been natural for me. So I’m glad to have found a profession that allows me to do that and a community that gets me.
Who are 5 practitioners that you follow on Twitter?
I follow so many, but I think these are the 5 that I share or click on most often, in no particular order:
Paul Boag @boagworld
Paul Rissen @r4isstatic
Michael Andrews @storyneedle
Deane Barker @gadgetopia
Gerry McGovern @gerrymcgovern
What are your favorite tools of the trade? Why?
Pencil and paper. It gives me all the space and flexibility I need to start one place and develop an idea wherever it goes. Also I remember notes I write by hand better than notes I type.
If you could become instantly smarter one one subject, what would that subject be and why?
Psychology. I just don’t get most people. But when I learn what makes them tick, I can approach them differently. I suppose it’s the desire to always know why things are the way they are.
How/where do you “start” a project?
Figuring out what needs to be done. That might sound silly, but most of the time the kick-off meeting leads to a change in plans from what was originally scoped or planned. People always bring up something you didn’t know before. I’ve learned to not make a project plan until after the kick-off meeting.
If you could choose a capstone project for your career, what would it be? Why that one?
I have not done it yet. What i dream of is leading content strategy efforts for the Council on Foreign Relations or any of the big international think tanks or humanitarian organizations. I have degrees in international affairs, and I originally wanted to work in foreign policy. Being able to influence how they create, manage, and connect their content to help people use their research to make decisions that make the world a better place would be the best way to combine my passions.
Name an educational resource (book, website, publication, etc) that you turn to regularly?
I don’t have one, but a few. When I was in charge of an organization’s website, I kept Managing Enterprise Content (2nd Edition) by Ann Rockley on my desk. Over the years, I turn regularly to Don’t Make Me Think by Steve Krug and Letting Go of the Words by Ginny Redish (I even wrote a blog post about those books!). So often I have to explain the basics to client or colleagues, and these books never fail to provide words and examples I need. I also turn to Gerry McGovern’s New Thinking articles as reference as well as Gather Content’s blog for a variety of content strategy ideas.
What is one of your guilty pleasures?
I rarely feel guilt for doing something I like. But I suppose taking time out to just sit and read a novel. If it’s in an independent bookstore while I’m traveling, even better!