User-Centered Content: Journeys, Stories, Maps, and More

Simple, practical, and memorable frameworks to ensure that the heart of marketing and content strategy – our users – isn't forgotten.

Available as: keynote presentation, breakout presentation, interactive workshop.


Customer journey maps. Ecosystem maps. Storymapping. User stories. Personas. There are so many great tools available to user-focused content strategists that it can be hard to know which to use when! And some of them never seem to fit quite right when you try to apply them in your own organization. Why not create your own?

In this session, we’ll bust apart popular tools for describing users and understanding their journeys into their common patterns and components. You’ll begin to see the method behind the magic and leave equipped to choose, adapt, remix, and/or invent just the right tool for focusing your content on the people who really matter—your users!

"Scott's a great speaker, engaging, fun. Well organized presentation broken down into digestible, usable chunks."

– Confab 2018 Workshop Attendee

"Loved this workshop. It's not easy to lead a 9:00 a.m. session. The energy and information were spot on."

– Confab 2018 workshop attendee

Presentation details

I've delivered 40-minute presentation and half-day interactive workshop versions of User-Centered Content.

Ideal audiences:

  • Marketing writers
  • Content producers and content managers
  • Content strategists and content marketers
  • Teams that manage websites/channels with lots of content needs

This is an intermediate-level presentation that provides a solid-grounding in user-centered design concepts for content people without a significant background in UX design. (Your writers and marketers and researchers and junior designers will love it; your senior-level UX designers might be a little bored.)

I use a hand-illustrated deck of colorful and memorable slides to keep the audience engaged. I've included a few examples on this page.

Questions are welcome throughout the presentation, and there's usually a healthy interest in Q&A.

Add User-Centered Content to your marketing, web, or design conference program and invite Scott to speak.

Explore Scott’s other talks on the speaking page.

User-Centered Content reading list

Here I've collected books, articles, and resources referenced in the presentation and/or that extend ideas from the presentation. (I provide workshop participants with an extended edition of this guide as a handy one-sheeter.)

Articles by me

Further reading

  • The User's Journey by Donna Lichaw (about driving design with stories)
  • Mapping Experiences by Jim Kalbach (well-structured breakdown of various mapping and alignment tools)
  • User Story Mapping by Jeff Patton (a deep-dive on one specific methodology with lots of great quotes and anecdotes about planning and alignment in general)
  • Just Enough Research by Erika Hall (you can't focus on users if you don't know anything about them!)
  • Content Design by Sarah Richards (especially for the breakdown of user stories and job stories)
  • Don't Make Me Think by Steve Krug (introduces the Goodwill Meter and a many other useful concepts for seeing the world the way your users do)
  • Mental Models by Indi Young (a robust methodology for understanding the needs and motivations of your users)
  • The Content Strategy Toolkit by Meghan Casey (ready-made tools and templates to help align business and user needs in your content strategy work)
  • Content Strategy for the Web by Kristina Halvorson and Melissa Rach (foundational content strategy text that helps you understand how being user-centered can fix your website woes)
  • Writing for Designers (my book about how to get the writing done on digital projects and keep users in mind along the way)