Click on infographic to enlarge.

Cancer, Community, Content & Web Design Evolution Infographic

Great meeting with talented UNC Lineberger Cancer Center Communication Director Katy Jones today helped me realize an important reality – websites must evolve.


Web Design & Marketing Evolution Infographic

If a website tries to jump the online design and marketing shark more than 2 steps trust is blown. UNC’s Cancer Center (or any website) can’t move from HIGH information disparity to information parity overnight. Moving too fast rocks all boats (internal stake holders & external consumers).

Website Design & Marketing Evolution

Evolution of Web Design & Marketing


Brochures online or high information disparity (website knows more than visitors and isn’t willing to share yet). Brochure based sites are easy to create. Printed marketing communication has “passed through the snake” and so is approved and trusted by stakeholders.

IT Control

This stage begins the “can opening” of a website’s content marketing to the outside world. Centralized control by some remote “priesthood” in a social / mobile web era can’t scale. Feedback loops are too slow.

Playing gatekeeper doesn’t work for IT either. Playing gatekeeper tethers technical management to the NOW. IT’s time needs to be about tomorrow due to the nature of technology investment timelines. Best and hardest solution is to create cross-functional teams. Easy to write hard to actually create :).

Unidirectional Social

The first place control begins to move to decentralized content creators (line managers) is social media marketing. Social is the first big test of moving response closer to visitors and closer to near real time.

Nascent social media marketing is always “unidirectional”. More PUSH than collaboration social marketing often begins as a series of awareness tweets. So “talking to self about self” information disparity remains, but disparity is beginning to lessen. Marketing teams can help accelerate by using and building on their ability to communicate directly with customers, contributors and advocates.

Social Design Phase I

Once internal stakeholders develop trust in social media and their team social design  can begin to open up with:

  • Clear (Call To Actions).
  • Easy to locate communication channels (email, phone, social).
  • Use of analytics to design a site’s  personas, content and navigation.
  • Creation of a “testing culture”.
  • Move to metrics and ROI  based decisions instead of HIPA (Highest Paid Authority in the room on or the team).

Social design begins a site’s evolution to and creation of community. Social design also sends important overt and covert messages to visitors. As a site becomes easier to use its ability to ASK for things such as User Generated Content (UGC) goes up.

Social Design Phase II

As a site becomes easier to use it can and should begin to ramp  content creation. Content creation is TRICKY. Sites need to create content intensely right up to the MINUTE trust is established.

Once authority is recognized  sites should hand the keys over to the kids. Not all visitors are equal. In fact 10% of visitors are beyond critical to successful creation of online community:

  • 1% Contributors.
  • 9% Supporters.
  • 90% Readers

The 1:9:90 Rule shows how important 10%, the most engaged 10% of a website’s visitors are to reating community. Social Design Phase II is about creating and learning what content matters to who and why – Curagami’s exact mission.


As a website begins to “hand the keys to the kids” the site’s sponsors need to move further and further into the background. Anarchy reigns UNLESS the company or brand managing the site invests a group of volunteer / Wikipedia-like advocates. Important to find a tribe of supporters willing to contribute in INCREASING amounts and LOVE not MONEY.

The Ambassadors stage requires thinking about  social tools needed by advocates to advocate. At this stage the rule should be, “When in doubt ASK THEM (your growing “buzz team” or “ambassadors”).


Nirvana is creation of sustainable and increasingly profitable online community. Content creation shifts in this phase to UGC (User Generated Content) and content curation. The web marketing team’s job becomes finding and share awesome user created content and sharing it across a growing ecosystem.

Advocates can’t advocate unless:

  • Content is clean (as spam free as possible).
  • There is a “content engine” beating “blood” into the site’s “body” like a heart.
  • Engine needs to become increasingly self tuning via business rules or delegation of work to an army of Sherpa / Advocates (Ambassadors or “Buss Team”).

Readers of other posts and articles here or on Curatti recognize our Curagami call to community.  Scoopit, and Haiku Deck are great examples of the evolution of a cause from passionate early adopters into the business / roi stage and finally reaching a point of diminishing return due to entropy.

At some point we need to write extensively about how to keep a scaled community growing. Come to think of it we will follow our own advice (laughter here) and interview two great community managers from and and Maybe we can find someone at Haiku Deck willing to spend an hour with us on a HangOut too.

Sustaining community is tomorrow’s challenge :).

Appreciate today’s great meeting with Katy Jones (who we wish we could steal away :). Katy will help guide and   toward community and creating value for , their friends and families .

If you recognize where your web design efforts fit on the evolutionary scale remember NOT to jump 3 steps ahead. Jump too fast too far and trust is destroyed. Jumping 2 stages is enough to level the Karma of most web teams :). M

PS. Want to pin one of those LONG pins? Evolution Pin for Pinterest Link