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Content ecosystem map: Breaking down silos through collaborative mapping 

COMPANY

Captial One

MY ROLE

Content Designer

CONTRIBUTIONS

Discovery and Planning

Workshop Facilitation

Content Ecosystem Mapping

Challenge

Across the organization, many people create content and collateral to support our product, from marketers and site managers to content designers and support agents.

 

These teams often work independently, without much cross-pollination. The lack of visibility into content production across teams and divisions makes it challenging to spot potential gaps, overlaps, and opportunities to partner.

 

As lead content designer for a new investing product, I led a three-month project to deliver a content ecosystem map. This visual aid, created collaboratively with cross-functional partners, ultimately helped us break down content silos and lead more thoughtful planning sessions. 

Draft a plan and get feedback
Project plan outlining goals and nongoals

Before hosting a collaborative mapping workshop, I needed to articulate to product and business partners what a content ecosystem map is, why it's important, and how it will help the wider team. 

The planning phase had two parts:

  • Workshop preparation: First, I partnered with our brand strategist to list and define all known content types, publishing channels, audiences, tools, teams, workflows, standards, and policies. This list would serve as a solid starting point for the workshop.  

  • Stakeholder alignment: Next, I captured goals, non-goals, and acceptance criteria for the project. During a weekly design review meeting, I presented the plan to product and business stakeholders. I used this venue to set expectations, answer questions, gather input, and recruit workshop participants. 

Lead a collaborative mapping workshop
Messy draft of an ecosystem map

During the workshop, I led representatives from our brand, marketing, product, design, support, and web publishing teams in an exercise to connect the dots between interconnected teams, tools, processes, content types, and delivery channels. 

 

Many attendees were in the room, including our design and research partners. But other stakeholders at the bank would attend via Zoom. 

 

Hybrid workshops can be challenging. Though I tried to head off issues in advance, our remote attendees didn't talk much during the workshop. Yet I knew these partners had valuable insights. I also knew that they weren't used to design thinking exercises.

 

In the end, I worked with these partners individually or in small groups, which was more successful. Ultimately, you have to meet people where they are. 

Create the final ecosystem map

After the workshop, I consolidated all the sticky notes, sketches, whiteboard notes, and other inputs into a rough content ecosystem map. 

 

Next step was to present the map again at another design review meeting, iterate as necessary, and then start using it as a conduit for conversation and planning.

Outcomes

Our content design team used the map to spark more informed, effective cross-functional planning conversations and identify key partnerships and projects.

 

Specifically, we used the map to:

  • Align with Product and Support partners on current and future support experiences.

  • Identify the need for a two-day workshop to train support agents to write and publish troubleshooting and help articles, as a way to scale limited UX writing resources. 

  • Expand style and voice guidelines and our glossary of terms across teams, to ensure consistency across channels.

  • Deliver a visual library of content types, to codify and and share reusable design patterns and templates. 

  • Partner with Brand Strategy on a market-event triggered messaging plan for launch, designed to reassure nervous investors during periods of market volatility.

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