Most articles explaining the content design and its “value” bug me. They focus on how important it is to have someone around to fix your poorly written error messages and your uninspiring empty states. Table stakes, I say. Articles like these underestimate not only content designers, but also their readers. Okay. Yes. We write error messages and empty states.
But, these examples (appear to) isolate copy from the design and engineering of an experience. They can be tucked into a comfortable corner of understanding. You do this thing and it doesn’t touch my thing and we all live in harmony. Namaste. I’ve even seen these examples used in job descriptions under the “What you’ll be responsible for” section.
The reality is far less convenient — and says a lot more about what we do. No tenured writer can improve an error message if the logic that determines when that message is displayed is broken. No great rhetorician can create an empty state that directs someone to a successful first use if they can’t get engineering to build in purposeful action.
What Is Content Design?
Content Design is about more than just writing words in text format, video, or even illustrations. It’s designing experiences with them. Words alone are meaningless without form and function. Words are part of the design when form and function do consider them — not just an after-thought. You can’t write around ill-formed product ideas or design either.
In particular, with elements that don’t do most of the job explaining themselves. One thing is for sure, most if not all web readers are very smart — they’ll easily notice content that is shoddily done! Evidently, a good working and successful content design strategy are all about making strategic, evidence-based decisions that circles around a given audience.
The practical outputs of content design can range from making microcopy changes, to blog content design, and even huge overhauls of website information architecture. And, on that note, in a lay mans’ language, it’s a way of creative thinking. It’s all about the usability, accessibility, and readability of a webpage.
Content design is a framework that considers the behavior of users interacting with your content. It encompasses research, prototyping, and content creation. To figure out where to place those words and give them meaning we first do some thorough research before we even start designing.
We often do research to:
- Work out who we’re talking to
- Understand what words they use
- Define exactly what they need from us
- Learn more about what they are looking for
- Understand what they find unique about our content
- Know if their content is resourceful and relevant to them
- Learn how they find our content from the web results
- Find the best ways to reach out our content to them,
- Define ways to communicate, engage, interact, etc.
Definitely, making your site easy to understand and interact with is the fastest way to a happy audience. If you publish push content and care more about your organization’s internal workings, you are going to be left behind.
On that note, unless you’ve been living under a rock for all of 2016 (and maybe the decade before that, as well), you’ve probably interacted with some form of online content. Whether it was a blog, a webpage, a social media post, or even a product description, online content has touched your life in one way or another.
This industry is nowhere near dying. In fact, it’s the opposite. Today, online content is one of the primary sources that humans use to communicate with one another.
Why Content Design Is So Important
Content Design is answering a user’s need in the best way for the user to consume it — it’s a creative way of thinking. It’s about using data and evidence to give the audience what they need, at the time they need it and in a way they expect. Forget picking a keyword that has the best search volume and drafting a blog on it “just because.”
Does it add value to the user? Is it what they want or need? Words are pretty much useless on their own, but when you team them with data and insight, consideration of the user’s experience, and a sprinkling of logic, you’ll be on the right track. Your content doesn’t have to be just words either. Content design is all about strategy.
If the research tells you the user would engage better with video content or an infographic, then do that instead. If you want to improve engagement and stop your users from going elsewhere, you need to make your content work smarter, and that’s where content design comes in.
Content is all too often shoehorned into website design, or it’s written with little research or the user intent thought. We need to change that. Content that fulfills user needs, reduces the number of steps they need to take, keeps things succinct, and pushes them down the funnel (and ultimately) into the end goal – be it a transaction or a service sign-up.
The Main Defining Phases In A Designing Strategy
Because words are no good when form and function don’t consider them. You can’t write around an ill-formed product idea or design — that doesn’t do most of the job explaining itself. Because most people are smart, they’ll notice that quite right away. Figuring out the information people need to solve a problem and complete a task is a worthy cause.
Make sure that you concentrate on the most essential information. Not what we (in this case, jmexclusives) want them to know, but what they need to know. For instance, doing some desk research, coming up with new research questions, writing mock press releases, scripting interactions as conversations, benchmarking other products, etc.
As well as mapping user objectives, drawing on past experience, considering adjacent real-world interactions, and more. Determine what order they need to see the information. So that it is eventually an all-around contextual, relevant, meaningful, and useful content — on several levels.
Align your basis on a:
- product level (systems thinking),
- flow level (journey mapping),
- page level (information architecture).
Take those key messages and map user journeys. Whilst, wireframing (sometimes with words, or wires), scripting sub-conversations for the interaction, card sorting, investigating the existing product surface, etc.
And then, start iterating by iterating and iterating over and over again. It isn’t just a fancy buzzword or technique that’s going to transform your content on its own; it’s a whole new way to think about content. In general, we can split the process into a few main phases that build a good strategy as follows:
Phase #1: Research
The main difference between many other forms of writing and content design is that content designers generally don’t move without research. It can be desk research, usability research, expert research, or any kind of research really but there has to be data and evidence of what the audience wants and needs.
Next, we define what our audience wants from us in user or job stories. This is a formalized way to express what comes out of our research. We work from what the user wants from us to solve a problem and then look at what we as an organization can do to help them in that task. We don’t just chase traffic.
Traffic alone is a vanity metric. Otherwise, we chase quality. So does Google as it happens. It is your unique, great content that ranks. Understanding users and their needs involve various key features.
Such features as:
- user research
- stakeholder interviews
- keyword research
- competitor research
- analytics analysis
- social listening
- user journey mapping
Another outcome of our research is that we begin to understand the user’s journey. This means all the offline and online steps the user has to take to complete a task. Something physical they get at the end of it like a piece of information.
User journeys help us figure out 3 important things:
- the user’s motivation is when they come to our content,
- how much work it is for the user to get to a result and how much information they can take in on the way,
- what information they need exactly at what point.
While they are on this journey, people take in a lot of information unconsciously. Having consistent messaging across all our channels makes it much easier for our audience to understand the information and act on it. They can follow a clear thread that runs through all parts of our communications, for example from a Tweet to a content page and into a service.
Phase #2: Discovery
As you get along the research phase, you’ll also realize that there’s the discovery phase too. This’s where you dig into all the data points and join them together to build a proper picture of your user needs. Whilst, answering all questions such as who your audience is, what channels they use, what their needs and wants are, the language they use, etc.
User or search intent is key here. That’s why integration with your SEO team is so important. You begin with keyword research and competitor analysis, and then you go on to utilize other useful tools and great data sets.
Such as (but not limited to):
- Internal Data: super useful to build your user persona picture
- Google Analytics: great for gauging your best performing content
- Social Media Insights: understand your demographic data, and content that was most engaged with
- Google Search Console: best for determining the search language used to find your webpages
- Google Trends: understand increases/decreases in search behavior for particular keywords at a given time
- Desk Research: check out competitor websites and social media with a focus on the language they use
- Ahrefs: look at competitor content performance – the most popular pages, and the most targeting keywords
Look at search data and interpret the way people use to search. So that the needs of those users can be addressed in content and UX. Analyze what kinds of words they use in passive intent to modify their search terms. For example, “woodland walks good for kids” infers they want information on the level of difficulty of the trail.
As well as how accessible it is, and if they are open during school holidays, etc. Rather than just a list of ‘woodland walks.’ By using the search volume data on those key phrases it can help you to prioritize and plan content that is better targeted. Content that has the most opportunity for ranking — while improving your return on investment as well.
Phase #3: Collaborate
Creating user-based and target audience messages work best in a mixed team where content works with marketing, comms, PR, and any other part of your organization. More so, that’s involved in communicating with your audience.
Ultimately, we want fewer but more valuable, more successful interactions with our audience. No organization can be all things to all people. Much better to do what we do well and stop there instead of being mediocre at everything. When we write content based on well-researched user needs it’s automatically answering specific tasks.
At the time they need it, the next thing is now to consider the specific channel and journey mapping. By looking at the channels that are the right ones to get the messages across at a particular point in the journey. But, don’t just think digital here. Instead, include things like the brand website, social media, any kind of advertising, newsletters, events, etc.
There are also tasks that the user has at that point in their journey. This kind of content helps them move on to the next stage and, ultimately, reach their goal. We work together with a uniform objective of serving user needs.
Phase #4: Create
Before you start creating, you should consider collaborating with other content design entities as well. Including but not limited to SEOs, SMEs, designers, UX, UI, developers, product managers, analytics teams, user researchers, brand managers, and marketers. Of course, content designers may not have the access to these facts, yes.
Or even responsibility for all of these points. But, we do need to know in the back of our minds what is really going on. This gives us priorities, language, and a flow to work with.
We can decide if we are creating:
- a reflection journey (a journey that reflects existing mental models)
- or a disruption journey (where we interrupt a model because it is incorrect).
Decide what words will convey that information most succinctly (i.e. writing). Both for the user and for the product surface you’re working with. Users only want to know what they need to know (the what) and sometimes know why they need to know it (the why). Even if we’re not filling in the blanks of a pre-designed page (thank heavens).
Furthermore, mobile screens are mobile screens that users don’t have all day. Usually, it all comes to writing, rewriting, benchmarking, considering the existing lexicon, researching the most commonly used terms, running Flesch-Kincaid Readability Tests, and doing whatever research we can. Rewriting is even more needful here!
Basically, we all know that giving people information too early or in the wrong place can make people leave service in frustration and not trust us. Meaning, that understanding what our audience needs — at the time that they need it — can be the difference between success and failure.
Consider these tactics:
- write user-centered content copy.
- create a webpage, an interactive tool, an infographic, etc.
- a PDF, marketing collateral, a product description, a blog, and a buying guide.
- whatever format meets the user’s demanding needs.
- use various techniques such as pair writing and content critiques.
- write something that will minimize sign-off and publishing time.
Forthwith, start testing and iterating as you continue to gain feedback on the content in the ever-evolving marketplace. Iterate content design based on user research and data. Learn the value of content design and its process in detail.
Phase #5: Deliver
In this case, once you are done with your content design and writing phase, it’s now time to deliver it in a way that they expect. Perse, while putting factors such as language and emotion into the account. Our Web Tech Experts use the language that our site users are using. For the simple fact that they won’t find us, connect with us, or trust us if we don’t.
This means, that we don’t use language for the topmost search engines — to please them — we use it for the humans behind those engines. Thus, we don’t pull people into useless pages or manipulate them – we help web users! In other words, language use through a product must reflect our audience’s vocabulary as well.
If not, they may find the interaction too difficult to swallow and they definitely will abandon it. Emotion is a layer that sits below it all. We use this type of research for various reasons.
We consider aspects like:
- informing by our tone (not style)
- our CDL style guide as our Readability Guidelines
- wanting to actually connect with our target audience
- helping our target audience along their journey, etc.
We follow a simple empathy mapping that showcases how far we go to care for our audience as we embark on design.
We embrace elements such as:
- see – what will the audience see and where are they seeing it?
- hear – what are they hearing and who from? Which specific channels?
- feel – overall, how are they feeling? How does this affect them?
- do – what will our audience be doing? What decisions do they feel they have to make?
At the end of all this, we’ll now have a complete picture. And, we’ll even know what kind of content our audience needs at each step of their journey. Particularly, to help them make a decision.
For one thing, we know the language they use and the emotions they’re dealing with at each point. All this means we can curate a content design plan that helps create a good experience for the user when coming to our service solutions or product landing page(s). This means, that content design experts don’t work in isolation.
Or they shouldn’t but sometimes reality bites. The basic principle here is that user needs come first, then comes the format. We could also say we figure out what the problem is before we create a solution.
Phase #6: Solve
What information is required for a user to solve their query or issue? What do they need to know, and what do you as a brand need them to know? For example, when writing a practical article for a plumbing brand, the content needs to not only answer the question or keyphrase but guide the user.
There is a big difference in search or user intent between broader terms such as “plumbing problems” versus long-tail terms such as “how to unblock a toilet”. Long-tail “how-to” searches can help to provide more tailored information to a user, whilst building the authority of the brand.
Whereas broader terms such as “plumbing problems” encompass a range of intent and unknowns, from those looking to hire a professional plumber, to those with numerous plumbing problems they want a detailed DIY fix for. For the “how-to” guide, continue to drill down to a user’s wants and needs.
The user may want the answer to the search query “how to unblock a toilet”, theoretically that could be answered simply “with a plunger”. However, what the user needs is a step-by-step guide to practically unblock the toilet, that covers all scenarios they might not type in that initial search. Make sure that you answer their needs clearly!
Such as in:
- the topic titles,
- meta descriptions,
- opening paragraphs,
- the contextual anchor texts,
- summary references, etc.
In the context of this example, this might include instructions for using a plunger and creating a vacuum. Or rather, unblocking a toilet without a plunger, how to stop the toilet from overflowing, and adding visual aids such as diagrams, or a video. As a brand, you can help push them down the funnel.
As such, by including a Call to Action (CTA) for plumbing services. So that if they need that extra assistance after trying it themselves, they know you’re there. For this reason, our content design professionals usually work with other field experts too – to be even more successful. Such as research, design, UX, engineers, service design, product owners, etc.
Phase #7: Share
Before you share, to fit into your target user journey, think about the order they need to view information to add the most value. How can you make that information hold the most meaning, be the most relevant, and be the most useful?
That means thinking about the user journey, the order, and the structure of the web content on a site page. As well as where that page sits on the website (information architecture). Hiding information in the wrong place can be so frustrating, especially from an accessibility point of view.
Why would you ever put the milk next to the frozen chips in a supermarket? Understand your audience’s motivation — inform them at the right point in their user journey. As yourself: Where are they in the purchase funnel? What is their intent? You don’t want to stop someone on their way to the post office before they enter the supermarket, right?
Specifically, just to tell them exactly where to find that milk. It’s too early; they’re not thinking about milk. They want to post a letter. In short, content design is not just writing and sharing aimlessly in our case. Rather, it’s a collaboration with other lead professional teams to find the best solutions for our audience to cover their needs.
Generally, allow your team to figure out if something should be a content page, tool, calculator, poster – whatever the best solution might be. Then, thereafter, they can share it for quick and easy feedback. Bearing in mind, by just having fresh eyes on a piece of work is generally a good thing.
Phase #7: Iterate
At all costs, there’s no point doing any research, testing, or looking at data if we don’t learn, apply and move on. So we iterate. In our content design strategies, we always have to review and delete or even make some changes to the dates. Content never just goes on and on — it needs both our love and care too. Test it, try it, change it, rewrite it, critique it.
A piece of content that is regularly scrutinized and thought about from all angles is a good piece of content. Users are constantly changing, and your content should adapt to them. On one side, incorporating all the key business aspects into your content design strategic plan is another important key point for you to consider.
May it be products, services, solutions, websites, social media networks, marketing, and advertising toolkits:— it’s all forms of communication and you can use many techniques on all of them. On the other side, you need to make your content design strategy look and feel welcoming — it doesn’t make everything grey and boring.
In fact, it focuses on your content and gives it a clear structure. It means you know how to connect with your audience. That’s being creative and can be used in any online digital marketing and web adverting. Suffice to say, you’ll need to continue to gain feedback on the content in the ever-evolving marketplace.
And then, iterate content design based on user research and data. Specifically, we use paper and Google Docs so we don’t put a stack of work into something we will improve and change quickly. Whilst, using techniques like research, peer review, or a crit too.
What Content Design Is All About!
All content — text, visual, imagery artwork, infographics, or even video — is important, in pretty much every context. For example, when speaking to my two-year-old, the simplest change in a phrase can make all the difference. “Don’t jump on the sofa”… she only hears “jump on the sofa”, but if I tell her to “put your feet on the ground” she (sometimes) listens.
Phrasing and the way we design content can even save lives. An Australian study from a St John Ambulance call center found that a tiny change in phrasing to the script their staff used for emergency callers by staff gave them relevant answers, faster. When responding to emergency cardiac arrest calls, ambulance dispatchers found out one thing.
That saying “Tell me exactly what’s happened” instead of “Tell me exactly what happened” saved an average of 9 seconds per call. Those extra seconds could save a life. The first phrase hyper-focused calls on relevant detail instantly, rather than narrating longer, more time-consuming stories with irrelevant information.
This relates to microcopy changes, but content design spans through to many other areas of content. Below are some of the key elements that build a good content design workforce.
1. Serving Users Relevant Content
Nowadays, a majority of content designers — such as ourselves are already stepping on UX/UI designers’ toes. Whilst, keeping in mind, that both content design and user experience work towards the same goal:— creating a great user experience for the audience. Even though it’s quite true that, sometimes, these two key areas can overlap each other.
But, the best products are created where people are open to working together to find the best solutions. Culturally, content is often seen as a skill everyone has so it isn’t valid. Not to mention, most people who work with content designers generally change their minds pretty quickly. Perse, I’ve numerous two-sided stories in affiliation with content designers.
For example, how they can make or break service with their wily ways. To support this, you can see an example of how a single word stopped a multi-million-pound service. And, as such, you can have a look at this example case in Signals, A Free Book By Public Digital which covers all that in detail.
2. Understanding The User Journey
The most important thing in Content Design is understanding the user and their needs. It’s not all about sparkling them with jazzy design or funny, entertaining content. Sometimes it’s the simple things that count. Like wanting to find out when the next bank holiday is. Important to realize, that there are billions & billions of new web pages on the internet.
Therefore, this means that in order to do better than your competitors, you need smarter content. That’s why content design is for every style of communication. From a single product, service, website, social media, marketing, etc. It’s all communication forms and you can use content design techniques on all of them.
And then again, just like I mentioned earlier, content design is a way of thinking. It’s about using data and evidence to give the audience what they need. More so, at the time they need it and in a way they expect. Whilst, answering a user need in the best way for the user to consume it. Accessible content opens up to anyone interested in consuming it.
That’s accessible content. According to Ayima, a great content design uses data and evidence to give the audience the content they need, at the time they need it, in a way they expect.
3. Simplicity In Delivering Thoughts
In this age of cloud computing technology, it’s good to note that most users don’t read content, rather they scan data information. Part of content design is understanding how users consume content and creating content to best suit their needs. On one hand, it’s all about the copy you use — if at all, just use plain English.
However, this doesn’t mean dumbed-down, or boring. It means writing copy that matches the target audience’s readability level. Use the active voice and don’t overcomplicate things. On the other hand, you should try and keep your headings clear and scannable to avoid drop-off. And also, ensure that your content fits with what they’re looking for.
To support this, a Nielsen Norman Group Eye-Tracking Study showed that “on the average Web page, users have time to read at most 28% of the words during an average visit; 20% is more likely.” There are many factors that influence how a user scans that page depending on their intent.
Such factors include:
- Are they doing research, or are they ready to purchase?
- What are their situation, time, and level of interest and focus?
- How about their personality traits? Is it something worth considering?
Equally important, your sentences should also be as short as possible too — more so, meaning that they should be jargon-free. The Oxford Guide to Plain English recommends 15-20 words per sentence. It also says ‘If you regularly excess 40 words, you’ll certainly weary and deter your readers.’ Below are two examples — which are much easier to read:
First sentence: “Should you have any concerns or questions regarding this information, please do not hesitate to contact the author.” (Readability grade 11). Second sentence: “If you have any questions, please call (+254) 724 944456.” (Readability grade 4).
Don’t exclude your audience. Include captions and transcripts. Use alt text, follow a clear structure, and incorporate other elements that make a webpage accessible. In this case, you consider using the Flesch Reading Ease Score to do some tests and measure how difficult a passage in English is for users to understand.
With this tool, there are two tests: the Flesch Reading-Ease, and the Flesch–Kincaid Grade Level. Although they use the same core measures (word length and sentence length), they have different weighting factors.
4. Not Just For Search Engine Result Pages
By all means, good content designers will understand the whole journey and give the correct content at the right time. It may not be digital. For example, what if a healthy lifestyle and service solutions firm was going to spend millions on an app? What they actually needed was a poster in doctors’ offices. Content is content — it doesn’t have to be digital.
It just needs to serve a user’s need. Content design is also not just for marketing or creative work alone. Rather, it’s a user-centered approach to solving some of their most common problems. Personally, as a copywriter, I wish I had known all I know now today before. It would have been much easier to penetrate the digital online marketing industry.
It’s so much wrong when we say content design is for digital. When we take a problem, we look at it holistically. And then we ask ourselves a few questions that should guide us.
Some of these questions include:
- Where is the user when they are making this decision?
- What information do they bring with them? Which languages are they using?
- What channels have they been on?
In the end, we can simply say that it’s all about serving the right audience, with the right content, at the right time. But, we should not forget about the role of the topmost search engines in terms of your web content altogether. This is where you need to be as consistent as possible in order to stay afloat in their ranking algorithms.
Consistent messaging in the user journey helps the user ride along in a happy little bubble. Connect with marketing, CRM, PR, social and any other part of your brand talking to your audience so the journey from a tweet, through to a blog post, through to a product page is as seamless as possible.
5. Hand In Hand With Content Designers
Technically, all content designers must understand that when it comes to content design, language, vocabulary, and keywords are very important. Think about your audience, how they speak, and what they type into Google. People sometimes even search for the opposite: something like eco-friendly cleaning products for example.
But, when researching this, they might want to understand what cleaning products are bad for the environment. As Shopify said when they changed the job titles in their content team from content strategists to content designers: “We don’t just think or write. We design with content!” On that note, there are a few things to always remember.
Content designers have to understand:
- what the essential information is to complete a task or solve a problem
- it’s not all about what a brand wants to project at them, but what they need to know
- the vocabulary that will get information across to the user quickly, without confusion
- how to give users information in the right order
All in all, most content designers are natural problem solvers and advocate for the user. Therefore, you should always ensure that your content does what it’s supposed to do. Anyone building experiences have to be good at a lot of things and we all need to be really good at a few things.
I hope this sheds some light on what those things are for content designers at large. First, a caveat. Like any other discipline, content designers have the same foundational skills but excel in some areas more than others.
What Content Design Is Not All About!
So, why can’t we just be professional writers or just be good in content design from an individual level? Why do we have to be good at all this sh*t? Well, wouldn’t we and our collaborative partners be a lot happier if we could just pick a lane and stick with it? It’s like I said. Words are no good when form and function aren’t in play.
The discipline of content design is relatively new to some — and it’s not done the same everywhere. Sometimes the name indicates a different way of doing it, sometimes it’s just a different name. Content Design at jmexclusives isn’t the same as it is somewhere else. Content Strategy at Facebook seems a bit closer. UX Writing at Google or Dropbox?
From what I’ve read, bears a striking resemblance. I stopped caring a long time ago what we were called. In fact, we’re finding it easier to recruit with a job title of UX Writer at the moment. And I’m not seeing a bunch of different skill sets depending on a candidate’s current title. So that’s where that is.
Related Topic: Content Copywriting | Technical Skills For Creative Writing
Most people I interview can at least talk about these things, but when I dig in and say — what are you uniquely contributing to the design process? What artifacts do you create along the way? Some people get stuck. Sometimes I worry we talk so much about how we’re the same as designers, that we forget to talk about why we’re different.
It’s not all about an individual — it calls for teamwork. As an example, you should work with your SEO team, or SEO agency, at the right time. SEO expertise that’s brought in at the end to “add some keywords” to a page is a waste of time and talent. Instead, use an integrated user-centered search strategy within your workflow.
Below are some tips to consider:
- Write to help your target users with some solutions.
- Speak to your users, and don’t just write for SERPs sake.
- Most SEO Tools can help you understand the user, and the insight is literally gold dust
- Involve your designers, developers, marketing, and product managers from the start
- Start bringing your teams together. It will get you to the end goal a whole lot quicker.
For your information, it’s not about running around after traffic, it’s about quality, which coincidentally is at the top of SERP like Google’s list too. Tap into their emotion by using the right tone of voice and connect through relatable wording. Ask yourself what words will convey the message in the most comprehensive and succinct way.
Always remember, that most web users don’t have all day. They just want the answer. What makes us special. I should say, designers, researchers, product managers and people you meet on the train can be amazing at this stuff, too. The difference is, that we all have to be unique in one way or another.
Our Professional Webmasters In Design Attributes
We’re neither all amazing at all of these things, nor should we have to be. I am generalizing. We’re really good at design thinking — so should you if you want me to add you to the list. We know how to turn user research and business goals into problem statements for our users and for our businesses to guide the work we’re doing.
Equally important, we know how to design and run ideation workshops and workshops to facilitate cross-team collaboration. As well as how to think about problems beyond the product surface we’re looking at. More so, in order to make sure our approach will scale (and that it’s the most impactful one).
Related Topic: SEO Specialists | What A Web Content Auditing Job Entails
We’re better at communicating ideas, processes, and project updates with words than designs or illustrations. But, that’s why we work on a multi-disciplinary team, right? If you want to know what other general skills we have, you can also learn about our user experience professionals.
Of course, I wouldn’t want to go into a dizzying level of details about what we do and I don’t think I have to for now. But, this is my craft after all! So, there’s a full list of some of the notable stuff we are/can/will do for you.
Our work includes:
- briefing new illustrations,
- feeding back on design system components,
- naming brands, businesses, and products (okay, yes, names),
- telling the rest of the business (comms, product marketing, brand) how to be creative,
- offering them ways to talk about the product on both a micro and macro level,
- writing the materials that explain the product outside the product,
- helping engineers come up with naming conventions for the designing codes
- illustrating codecs that are consistent with the frontend experience,
- patiently explaining why the hell we can’t wordsmith that for you,
- managing project timelines and keeping vocabulary lists,
- running crits or even retros and attending standups
- giving each other constant feedback….
- you get the idea, right?
As a rule of the thumb, content and the design of content on a webpage or even an application platform are very important. If you get that content wrong, it could easily break the overall digital user experience. Get it right, and it could do an infinite number of things — such as getting new customers, making more money, and even saving a life.
Content design is about more than writing words — it’s designing experiences with them. Keep in mind, that words alone are meaningless without form and function — words are part of the design — not just an after-thought. While figuring out where to place those words and give them meaning, we need to first do some defining thorough research.
Living and breathing the tone of voice is very significant. As a matter of fact, there are about ten professionals amongst us writing this stuff every day. So, as much as I’d like to write in my own voice all the time, we also have to speak like the Web Tech Experts we are! That means making sure the product is in line with our brand tone of voice.
And that it complies with our set blogging style standards and content posting guidelines from all corners. Whilst, getting a lot of feedback from other writers. As well as talking to marketing and communication teams, and other key legal. You guessed it right, rewriting again. Last but not least, it’s also good to work alongside brilliant localization coordinators.
Related Topic: Transition Words & Phrases | Their Web Content Copywriting Role
Honestly, they’ll do most of this for you — to make sure that it all localizes. In the same way, make sure that you include screenshots in your briefs. Whilst, giving context, sharing word counts, explaining legal constraints, and identifying places where creative liberties can be taken. That’s It! An elaborate guide to doing content design the right way.
So, with that in mind, what have I missed? What do you do that we don’t? I would like to know! More importantly, we want those skills at our agency. We’re almost always hiring senior content designers, so don’t hesitate! But, for more help, you can Consult Us and let us know how to sort you.
Finally, you are free to share your additional thoughts, opinions, suggestions, contributions, recommendations, or even more related questions to this and other topics (for FAQs & Answers) in our comments section.