Careers in UX
Explaining content design to non-UXers
I recently talked to my friend and former coworker Erin Kelly about how we explain what we do as content designers. We went through many different options and laughed at how much detail we give some people and how ambiguous we leave it for others.
Our answer depends on who we are speaking to. Just like in UX, your audience and their knowledge matter. We have to make some assumptions about what the person we’re speaking to knows and go from there.
Conversations often go something like this:
“So what do you do?”
“I’m a content designer!”
Let’s take a look at some examples of different answers I’d give depending on who I’m talking to:
Although we can assume that a developer is very technical, they might not know much about UX or content design. Here we can use more advanced terms.
“I work with UX designers, researchers, PMs, and developers to understand what the users need to know and when. I use data and research to create the words that are shown on the UI and help guide users.”
I’ve recently realized most of my friends have no idea what I mean when I say content design or UX writer.
“I work with a visual designer to help create the screens you see on apps or websites. There’s a lot of psychology and research behind the decisions of where and what to show the people using our product. I mainly work on the words shown on the screen, choosing which words should appear when and where.”
Let’s make the assumption that granny isn’t the most technologically advanced user. She may have an iPhone that someone else set up for her. The text is probably extra large and she may not know how to download an app.
“My job is to make it easy to use your phone or computer. If you want to comment on someone’s Facebook photo, a content designer helps make it easy to log into Facebook, find the photo, and comment directly on it. My job is to make sure you don’t have to spend a lot of time trying to do what you want on your phone.”
I’ve always believed that if you can’t explain something to a child, you don’t understand it well enough. Although there is a lot more to content design, I’ve broken it down very simply for a child.
“Have you ever played on an adult’s phone or computer? I write the words you see on the screen. So if you are trying to watch a video, like Bluey or Cocomelon, I help make it easy to find the right video so you don’t get upset or frustrated.”
My short and sweet answer
“I write the words you see on screens that help you accomplish your goals easily.”
If you’re a content designer, how do you answer the question “What exactly do you do?”
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