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The latest from Rosenfeld Media

The latest from Rosenfeld Media

  • Natalie Dunbar, author of our newest title, on The Rosenfeld Review Podcast

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    Natalie Marie Dunbar joins Lou to discuss the lonely pursuit that is content strategy. She also digs into what it means to build a content strategy practice—whether you’re just starting out as a solo practitioner, scaling up in a large organization, or trying to make a case for your CS practice’s value. Her new Rosenfeld Media book, From Solo to Scaled: Building a Sustainable Content Strategy Practice, serves as a “companion” to address this loneliness as much as it is a guide to the resources needed to create a sustainable content practice. 

    This episode offers a preview of what Natalie calls the Content Strategy Practice Blueprint. There are five components to that blueprint, including making the business case, building strong relationships, creating frameworks and tools, and establishing meaningful measures of success.

    For more, check out Natalie’s new book, From Solo to Scaled,—now available from Rosenfeld Media.

    Natalie recommends: Jonathan McFadden, a content designer, copywriter + storyteller.

    Just Published: From Solo to Scaled: Building a Sustainable Content Strategy Practice

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    I’ve had to build and scale a content strategy practice from scratch, and I can tell you that it would have been 100% easier if I’d had Dunbar’s book in my hands”

    — David Dylan Thomas, author of Design for Cognitive Bias.

    With her new book, From Solo to Scaled: Building a Sustainable Content Strategy Practice, UX-focused content strategist Natalie Marie Dunbar delivers a comprehensive blueprint for building and scaling a content strategy practice.

    Businesses that are struggling to scale their content strategy and design practices missing out on critical opportunities to communicate effectively with customers. The book’s goal is to help content strategists, UX managers, creative leads and others create and grow scalable, sustainable UX content strategy practices that organizations require for communicating effectively and impactfully.

    Kristina Halvorson, author of Content Strategy for the Web, writes in the foreword, “There is no magical, fail-safe formula for scaling up a content strategy practice…However, this book presents a five-part ‘blueprint’ for change that doesn’t require months of banging your head against the wall trying to get people to get it.”

    “I’ve had to build and scale a content strategy practice from scratch, and I can tell you that it would have been 100% easier if I’d had Dunbar’s book in my hands,” said David Dylan Thomas, author of Design for Cognitive Bias.

    At present, From Solo to Scaled is available exclusively from Rosenfeld Media, and will be available through Amazon and other retailers globally beginning July 25.
    About the Author: Natalie Marie Dunbar is a UX-focused content strategist with a unique blend of skills as a journalist, content writer, and user experience researcher. Natalie has worked in various roles as a content writer and strategist for brands that include Anthem, Farmers Insurance, Kaiser Permanente, Walmart, and She’s also produced original content for federal agencies that include the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), Centers for Tobacco Prevention (CTP), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the Veterans Administration (VA). Natalie is also an active member of Women Talk Design and was a founding member of the Content Strategy Los Angeles meetup group.

    Shift Happens! How to Scale in the Face of Uncertainty

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    The following article is based on a recent interview conducted by Lou Rosenfeld, Publisher of Rosenfeld Media from his podcast, the Rosenfeld Review.  In this episode, Lou speaks with conference curators of the upcoming Design at Scale conference, responsible for development of the program.  Lada Gorlenko is Senior Director of Research and Kit Unger is VP of Product Design, both with MURAL.  The interview has been edited for clarity and length.

    I’m Lou Rosenfeld, and I am thrilled to have two old friends with me today, Lada Gorlenko and Kit Unger, who are the two main folks curating this year’s Design at Scale a virtual conference, coming up on June 8th through 10th.

    We began program development with an open call for presentation proposals (CFP). Lada and Kit then reviewed and selected from a wide range of proposals. We want to learn a bit about this conference and about the types of things Kit and Lada are preparing. I think you’re going to find this year’s themes quite interesting.

    So, what do you two have in mind for Design at Scale? Which, by the way, some may remember in the past having a different name, Enterprise Experience, and before that, Enterprise UX


    What’s going to be different as you put together the program this year?

    [Lada] Last year we renamed the conference Design at Scale. I think this year’s theme is very apt and very fitting the new name, “At Scale”. What we’d like to share and what we’d like to learn about from our audience is the experience around unprecedented change at scale over the last couple of years where so many things went so differently. The overarching theme of this year’s conference is change at scale. All about the things that will not to go back to normal but go forward to normal.


    Would it be accurate to say that you’re looking at this point in time as a pivot point, to take stock of this last two years, where there’s been some interesting things happening? 

    [Kit] Yes, we’ll be talking about acceleration of work. In 2020, the pandemic accelerated the future of work and collaboration, and it certainly accelerated my company’s growth. When I joined MURAL just a little over a year ago, the design team was around 10 people. We’re now over 70 people. That’s hyper growth to the extreme.

    Prior to the pandemic, I was one of those people that felt like everyone on the team had to be co-located for the most part. Once the pandemic happened, we were all forced to work remotely. I saw many benefits. The pandemic sucks. No doubt about it. But there’ve been positive outcomes in how we work because of being forced to work remotely. So that’s one of the things we’re covering – the positive outcomes, what we’ve learned, and ways that people can work better.


    So, we’ll hear people’s lessons, stories, even case studies on how remote work has changed, how we work. Does that pertain as well to things like how we design teams, how we hire for hybrid teams, what the care and feeding is of our people, and things along those lines?

    [Lada] Absolutely. I think the pandemic has affected things like hiring and onboarding. The research team I’ve hired in the last year, they’re all new people and I’ve never met them in-person. So how do we do that? And how else are teams impacted. Different team dynamics and different team structures, that ultimately lead to different processes. In the last couple of years many people are feeling depressed and anxious. What can we do to change the way we work to address that? Not just work from home, but also what can we do to change the team dynamic, team composition, and how people work? This goes for research too. How do we talk to our customers? How do we observe our customers, when we are no longer able to meet them in the field? 


    Why now for all these questions?  

    [Lada] Because I think the two-year mark is a really good time for reflection, where we’re no longer in the middle of this new thing, this new pandemic, this new way of working.  We can reflect on what’s happened. Yet, we’re still on the tail end of it. So, we’re not too far removed from things happening. That’s why this year is a perfect time to talk about it.

    We won’t be presenting success stories only. We’ll hear from people who have tried things that didn’t work. We want to present honest, authentic conversations about things that didn’t work as much as things that work. Failed attempts are some of the most successful talks we had last year. 

    [Lou] Failures that lead to lessons. I think it would be hard for anyone to claim they haven’t been learning from failure these last 2 years. 


    Our conversation so far is from the perspective of people who run a substantial organization. One that’s growing quickly. What about independent contributors, people who are doing design and research in the trenches, are they also coming up with some of these hard-fought lessons? Are those lessons part of this program?

    [Kit] Definitely. We’ll be looking at both sides of the problem. There are so many issues, like working remotely, and time zone issues. And we’re all finding ways to try to make that work better. For example, we adjust our schedules, we use Loom, we’re getting better at asynchronous ways of working when we can. Hearing other success stories like that will be awesome!

    Lada mentioned the loneliness issue, and it’s a real problem for many people. We can’t bond over lunch the way we used to before the pandemic. This is sad, but I’m just thinking about this. My sister passed away right before the pandemic started. The hugs from people at work really helped. So when I see people suffering on my team, it’s rough. Part of the story is how do we create that ever-so-important human connection? 


    As someone who’s specifically working with researchers and is a researcher, Lada, are you finding that the act of doing research has been radically affected? Are there a lot of lessons that are coming out of there that will continue once we do go back to working and meeting in-person?

    [Lada] Not the act of doing research, because I’ve been working, testing remote and using remote participants for a long, long time. But I do feel we’re moving away from the traditional research practice where researchers do research, to having a research coaching practice. And the research coaches and advisors who are professional researchers, but don’t necessarily do research, are supporting designers and PMs and engineers by teaching, training, coaching, and supporting them to do research. By flipping the research practice to a research coaching practice, we are bringing people together in one place and supporting them.

    Research has changed. We’re helping, we’re preparing everything for our UX designers and PMs. That changes the dynamic and that changes how they perceive ownership, and how we perceive the team dynamic. How it all changes and how support in isolation become team work, because we are breaking boundaries of our own discipline.

    [Kit] This is going remarkably well, too. That’s a huge success story of something we wouldn’t want to see go back to the way it used to be. There are things that have to be done when scaling a UX design team, regardless of whether you’re working remotely or not. Empowering teams, and operationalizing quality and usability, and scaling research is an example of how we’re optimizing how we work.

    [Lou] It’s great to hear that. It makes me very hopeful that this new normal or whatever we want to call it is really going to be better in some new ways. We’re going to have, someday, hopefully not too far off, we’ll have a mix of both in-person and remote practices that really are more powerful together than anything we’ve had in the past.

    You mentioned earlier, how you are all using tools like Loom. In fact, you’ve radically improved the way the Rosenfeld Media conference program curation is going in terms of preparation of speakers. Most people don’t realize that when people speak at one of our conferences, they do two or three months of preparation. They participate in speaker cohorts, with people like Lada and Kit, as well as spend time with a speaker coach who helps them. One of the difficult things is doing that across time zones, sometimes with five, six, or seven speakers at once.

    Lada and Kit have been using Loom as a way for us to manage this in a more asynchronous way. For rehearsals and for commenting on rehearsals. Loom is a video tool that among other things helps people annotate directly to video. The tools are also changing very quickly. You work at a company that’s a tooling company, obviously, so you’re certainly in tune with this. 


    I’m wondering if there will be any focus on tooling at Design at Scale. Is it also about using tools in inventive new ways?

    [Kit] Certainly. Being forced to work remotely, we’ve had to think about all those things and how to optimize efficiency. Take MURAL, for example. It’s a visual collaboration tool, which visual collaboration is essential for remote teams, but knowing how to use any tool isn’t enough. In our case, we need everyone in the product design order to be expert at facilitating the right methods at the right time for the right outcomes. So, we want to hear concrete examples on how people are using the tools and what new tools they’re using.

    [Lou] Excellent. Lots to think about in terms of what we’ve learned in the last two years. Lots to think about in terms of not only the painful lessons, but the good things as well. They’re all lessons that we’re going to use in the years forward, and how they’re going to be squared with some of the practices that we had pre-COVID when we could meet in-person. I’m looking forward to Design at Scale to learn with you and the people who present that you’ve selected. To see what is design going to look like, basically, in the coming years and how it’s going to change. I think Design at Scale is going to be a great place, a great pivot point among many, I would imagine, where people are going to be coming together and figuring that out.

    Design at Scale is taking place June 8-10. This is a virtual conference. Check out the full roster of speakers and the three-day program here.

    The Rosenfeld Review podcast is brought to you by Rosenfeld Media. Please subscribe and listen to it on iTunes, Stitcher, or your favorite podcast platform. Tell a friend to have a listen and check out our website for over 100 podcasts with other interesting people. You’ll find them all at

    Podcast: Preview the Design at Scale 2022 Conference

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    Covid has fragmented our teams, workplaces, work rituals, and in some circumstances, our self-confidence. It has also forced us to learn, adapt, and improve our work at a stunningly rapid pace.

    It’s a great time to take stock of what we learned these past two years, and get ready to apply those lessons in the years to come. In this episode of the Rosenfeld Review, Lou speaks with long-time Design at Scale conference curators Kit Unger and Lada Gorlenko to discuss how the conference presents the perfect opportunity to make that pivot—and make the case for you to be a part of the conference program.

    Topics discussed include:

    • How closely-aligned teams can forge ahead despite the challenges Covid has presented
    • The importance of reconsidering how teams currently support objectives
    • Learning to work together in new ways that help shift the existing work dynamic into a positive and more powerful frame
    • Uncovering drivers that allow teams to surpass pre-established boundaries around collaboration
    • Shifting how we perceive ownership—across all levels—in organizations

    Podcast: Learnings from Applying Trauma-Informed Principles to the Research Process

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    If the past two years haven’t made it clear, researchers and designers absolutely must be prepared to understand and address trauma as a factor in our work and our lives. Social worker, designer, and Advancing Research 2022 speaker Rachael Dietkus joins Lou on the Rosenfeld Review to plumb the intersection of social work, UX, and how these play out in trauma-informed research and design. She shares her approach to applying trauma-informed principles to the research process, and highlights important key factors including:

    • Defining Rachael’s three main intersections between design and social work: social work values, design research methodologies, and trauma-informed (also known as trauma-responsive) principles
    • The importance of asking how the above three principles meld together in design to foster a humanistically-informed lens
    • The ways social work as a care field translates into user experience design, and why this is a necessary step to include in design methodology
    • How the concept of “care,” which includes building relationships, establishing rapport, hearing other people’s stories, and more is central to ensuring human-centered design principles
    • Addressing the preexisting disconnect between designers (from a process-based perspective) and social workers (from a humanistic perspective), and how collaboration between the two can positively impact end users
    • Ensuring the preconditions that need to exist are shared and maintained at the highest level of integrity, and how a safety plan can help bring this to reality
    • The importance of assessing risk when building new programs and policies, as well as addressing adjacent process methodology-related contexts
    • How engaging with people from a design perspective means engaging with trauma, and why that positively challenges designers to show up in wholesome capacity
    • What it means to weave compassion and understanding into design
    • How the trauma-informed approach can serve as a set of preventive measures that can help mitigate potential negative impacts for users

    Learn more from Rachael’s talk, “Learnings from Applying Trauma-Informed Principles to the Research Process” at our upcoming virtual conference, Advancing Research 2022 (virtual, March 9-11). Register today!

    Podcast: Women Talk Design with Danielle Barnes

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    Creating and maintaining an inclusive environment that makes anyone feel welcome requires conscious and consistent effort. Whether it’s presentation, operation, or curation—incorporating your team’s voices in a healthy and organic manner as a business practice requires thinking outside the box.

    In this episode of the Rosenfeld Review, you’ll hear from Danielle Barnes, CEO of Women Talk Design, as she and Lou discuss the fundamentals of designing meetings and conference presentations that are more inclusive.

    Key points Danielle and Lou address include:

    • Remolding non-inclusive systems to which women and non-binary folks are forced to adapt;
    • Assigning rotating facilitator roles, and how those roles can promote inclusivity;
    • How truly “listening” to those who are speaking can give facilitators the insights they need to curate a fantastic meeting;
    • Raising awareness for the consequences of being talked over, and how to drive safety and accessibility in meetings for team members; and
    • Tips to improve your natural stage presence when giving a talk.

    You’ll also hear insights in how to create more inclusive environments by empowering those whose voices are not heard—and how safe spaces, when done right, help make this happen.

    Podcast: Product Management for UX People with Author Christian Crumlish

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    What connects product designers and UXers? And does that connection help in the transition from UX to product management?

    In this episode of the Rosenfeld Review, you’ll meet Christian Crumlish, Founder of Design in Product and author of the soon-to-be released Product Management for UX People. Christian and Lou deep dive into the world of product management and its relationship with UX, as well as the advantages design practitioners share when moving into product management roles.

    Highlights from this discussion include:

    • Understanding the current state of product management relative to UX;
    • The superpower designers can tap into when communicating effectively, and how that skill is inherently utilized by product management folks (the “language of the bosses”);
    • How designers/strategists/researchers share an advantage by shifting to product management through intuitively asking questions such as “how will we grow?” and “how can we keep this going?” with consideration to cost-effective solutions;
    • The need to be decisive in the face of fairly complex issues across the time-horizon; and
    • Why honing in on the value of listening closely to those who work adjacent to product managers will help define the cross-functional roadmap.