Larry Swanson is a UX and content professional, podcast host, and community event organizer, currently based in Phoenix, Arizona.
Full-stack content designer
Larry is a full-stack content designer, with extensive experience in content strategy, content modeling, information architecture, content design, and UX writing.
Larry sees these five practice areas tracking to Jesse James Garrett’s UX “layers” model.
- UX writing tracks to the “surface” layer, where content is rendered as attractive, helpful communication artifacts (web pages, app screens, voice utterances, etc.)
- content design track to the “skeleton” layer, where content components are gathered into useful, usable assemblies
- information architecture tracks to the “structure” layer, where content is categorized and organized independently from its ultimate rendering and presentation
- content modeling tracks to the “scope” layer, where the breadth of the content domain, the objects that occupy it, and the relationships between them are set
- content strategy tracks to the “strategy” layer, of course, where user needs and business objectives are discovered and content plans are made
Larry has worked up and down this stack throughout his content career.
Another possible label for someone with this skill set is content architect, but that term is more commonly associated with content engineering technicians.
Content Strategy Insights podcast
Larry hosts the Content Strategy Insights podcast, which premiered in 2017. The program features interviews with accomplished content strategists and other digital experts:
- design and content leaders like David Dylan Thomas and Sara Wachter-Boettcher
- web content strategy experts like Malaika Carpenter and Rachel McConnell
- product content strategy experts like Laurah Mwirichia and Kylie Hansen
- technical content strategy experts like Andrea Ames and Patrick Bosek
- marketing content strategy experts like Russell Sparkman and Chris Savage
- content modeling experts like Jeff Eaton and Marcelo Lewin
- information architecture experts like Carrie Hane and Andy Fitzgerald
- content design experts like Sarah Winters (Richards) and Beth Dunn
- conversation design experts like Rebecca Evanhoe and Diana Deibel
- UX writing experts experts like Mario Ferrer and Torrey Podmajersky
- UX design experts like Jared Spool and Cheryl Platz
- SEO experts like Duane Forrester and Heather Lloyd-Martin
- ontology and semantic tech experts like Andrea Volpini and Nicole Buckenwolf
Larry’s intention in publishing the podcast is to democratize content strategy, to make its principles and practices accessible to all.
Community event organizing
Larry enjoys organizing conferences, meetups, and other gatherings that bring people together around professional and personal interests.
In 2020, Larry consulted with the Utterly Content conference, recruiting sponsors for the event and assembling panelists for conversations around the content profession, content careers, and making an impact with content work.
Larry has participated in several open-source software communities. From 2016 until 2019, he took a deep dive into the WordPress community, organizing two WordCamps in Seattle, serving as a community deputy for the global community, and collaborating with the team developing the Diversity Outreach speaker-recruitment and -training program.
For many years Larry organized the Fremont Noodle House Group, a regular lunchtime meeting of independent business professionals in Seattle. He founded the group in 1998 and quit organizing it in 2013. He enjoys watching and sometimes re-joining the group’s gatherings as its members continue to self-organize meetings.
Educational and arts communities
Larry has organized educational events like TEDxRainier (now TEDxSeattle) and Ignite Seattle, where he held for several years the nerve-wracking position of Slide Wrangler for the slide-centric, always-sold-out event.
He served as a sponsor concierge and event MacGyver at the Seeds of Compassion, a five-day, 100,000-attendee conference on early childhood development.
Larry served on a large volunteer team for three years in the early 2000s organizing the annual World Rhythm Festival, a three-day, 10,000-attendee music and dance gathering.
In 2001, a few days after 9/11, Larry co-founded with Sarah Lee Parker One World Dance, an African-inspired drum and dance group. The community has since grown from a small weekly dance class to a full-fledged performance group and international tour operation.
In addition to his organizing work, Larry has volunteered at many community arts events, mostly in the Seattle area, including Bumbershoot, Northwest Folklife, The Moisture Festival, the Fremont Solstice Parade, African Music Nites, Empty Bowls Seattle, and many others.