Advice for future content designers

Allison Wolfe
Published in
7 min readApr 14, 2022


Find out what content design is and get advice from professionals

A banner that says “Advice from content designers” with headshots of 2 designers

Chances are, you may not know exactly what content design is. And that’s okay- it’s still a new field and can go by many different titles, such as UX (user experience) writer or content strategist. Although the titles should be used to describe different roles, not everywhere is caught up quite yet. Plus, some people are doing content design and have no idea it has a name. To learn about the differences, check out “A UX writer by any other name…” by Yael Ben-David.

If you’re empathetic, a problem solver, detail oriented, collaborative, and have a love for words, content design might be for you.

So what is content design? I’ll leave that up to our wonderful interviewees from Red Hat to explain.

Meet the content designers

A banner graphic introduces Abi Donahue with her headshot

Name: Abi Donahue

Title: Associate Manager, UX Content and Visual Design

Time in UX: 2.5 years

Education: Bachelor of Arts in English

A banner graphic introduces Katie Edwards with her headshot

Name: Katie Edwards

Title: Associate UX Content Designer

Time in UX: 5 months

Education: Bachelor of Science in Communication Studies

Banner with the question, “How would you describe content design?”

In just a couple of sentences, how would you describe content design?


“Content design is designing an experience using words and focusing on surfacing the right information at the right time to make a product experience seamless and intuitive, but also enjoyable and fun.”


“Content design is providing users with content that’s helpful, simple, and predictable.”

Banner with the question, “How did you get into content design and what interested you about it?”

How did you get into content design and what interested you about it?


“I worked for a software company as a technical writer and I heard of this new department that was starting up. At the time they were calling themselves UX writers. I found it really interesting. I guess my first understanding of it was almost like copywriting, but for a UI. And then once I learned more about the industry, I realized that it’s not so much copywriting, it’s UX writing. So it’s using words in a way that sometimes needs to get people’s attention, sometimes you’re trying to get them to take a certain action, and other times you’re helping to inform them. So it is really fascinating. It’s like words that are filling a bunch of different purposes. As I moved further along into my career, I was working in a lot of different content areas — I did technical writing, e-learning, marketing…all different kinds of content. An opportunity presented itself in UX, and that’s what brought me to Red Hat and content design.”


“Content design found me. I was working as a marketing coordinator and had no idea what content design was until a friend sent me the listing for my current job. That sent me down the rabbit hole of ‘what is content design?’, but once I figured out what it was, I thought ‘this is perfect. I’m detail oriented and am quick to notice the little inconsistencies on product packaging, user interfaces, and documents’. When I found out that you could edit and rewrite microcopy in a product’s UI as a job, I was thrilled. It sounded like the perfect career for someone like me.”

What is something that surprised you about content design?

What is something that surprised you about content design?


“How much planning has to go into the words that you choose in a UI. Good content design extends much further than spelling and grammar, although those things are super important. But what I realized is just the syntax of a sentence, or the layout of the words, can really influence how the user perceives information and what kind of actions they take in the UI. I think that is the main thing that surprised me: how the words are designed and how they’re presented to the user greatly affects how well a user is able to use the product.”


“It’s not just writing the words on buttons and navigation menus. “Microcopy” was one of the words that I saw a ton when I was researching content design, so I went into it with the idea that I’d be replacing individual words and writing small text strings. Think of the words on buttons and navigation menus. But it’s more than that. It’s all the text you see that is user facing. Your input can completely change the information that’s presented to users. You can correct grammar, capitalization, totally scrap and rewrite a text string, or provide the user with information that wasn’t there to begin with.”

Banner with the question “What is a soft skill you would recommend for a future content designer to learn?”

What is a soft skill you would recommend for a future content designer to learn?


“People skills. That involves collaboration, empathy, the ability to compromise, and the ability to see things from other points of view. As a content designer, you might be approaching things from someone who is an expert with words, but a lot of times you really need to let other people weigh in on the words who aren’t expert writers because they bring their own experience and can share a lot of good feedback. So, even if something might sound perfect to you and you might think it’ll get the job done, you would really benefit from running it by other non-writers who could probably say ‘that sounds great and you would think it makes sense, but according to our past research, users won’t understand it.’”


“Attention to detail and communication skills. I’m not a software engineer, and I don’t understand a lot of technical aspects of the products I work with. Being able to ask an engineer to break something technical down into plain terms is extremely important if you’re writing stuff that’s supposed to help a user easily navigate these super-technical products. If you have a question about what the user is supposed to be accomplishing, the user probably does, too.”

Banner with the question “What is a hard skill you would recommend for a future content designer to learn?”

What is a hard skill you would recommend for a future content designer to learn?


The most fundamental skill is to be a good writer. I think if you have a strong writing skill and have a strong grasp of different types of writing, then you already have the potential to be a good content designer.”


Grammar and composition skills. Getting information across while also keeping things concise can be tricky, but when you have a strong grasp on composition and grammar, it’s easy to see all of the different ways that you could potentially convey the same information.”

Banner with the question “General advice?”

Any general advice?


“I think the best thing to do is to expose yourself to a lot of different types of writing. Oftentimes people who want to go into content design think that they have to immediately do some kind of content design, which isn’t necessarily true. I would argue that they should just focus on expanding and broadening their portfolios. So do blog writing, technical writing, copywriting, advertising…every kind of writing you can imagine. That will help you relate to different audiences, different users, and just make you a more multifaceted content person.”


“Write consistently, never stop reading books (which I know is often easier said than done), and pay close attention to microcopy on the websites you visit.”

Thank you so much to Abi and Katie for their time and advice! If you’re interested in content design and want to learn more, don’t hesitate to reach out or leave a comment. If content design isn’t the right fit for you, but you want to get into UX, check out our other articles in the advice to UX series:

Have a story of your own? Write with us! Our community thrives on diverse voices — let’s hear yours.