Nobody is excited by content. The word itself implies a sterility and blandness that is antithetical to our clients' work. And when you build systems to create and manage content, the resultant experience feels like, well, content. So we don't.
Each of our clients has a unique and compelling story to tell. Battles to save vanishing species. Initiatives to preserve our history. Products to change people's lives. Our job isn't merely to build apps that hold these organizations' content. It's to help them tell their stories in the digital medium. We build systems to create and manage stories.
But what's the difference?
Content is a flat and singular notion, so content management experiences almost always fall into one of two categories:
Contrived (aka Too Rigid)
In systems designed to manage content, stories are treated as a series of data points. A title. A picture. Body text. That's it (deal with it).
Editors are forced to break down their stories into contrived pieces to fit them into a predefined set of fields. The editor loses control of the stories, and the stories lose their character.
Oftentimes, to make up for the constraints, the system will introduce an endless list of options to provide the illusion of flexibility. These efforts typically serve only to render the system bafflingly complex and unintuitive.
Unguided (aka Too Free)
In response to the shackles of contrived content management experiences, many instead favor what-you-see-is-what-you-get (WYSIWYG) tools for managing content. These tools give the editor more control, but they are complex, and difficult to use. Every possible decision is left to the editor. Layout. Colors. Font. Sizing. Everything.
So to a certain extent, the tool gets in the way of telling the story. And it's quite often difficult to achieve the consistency necessary to communicate a story in the context of a larger brand or initiative.