What’s in a name? Introducing Content Design at Uber

Why we’ve changed the job title of our UX Writing team

Mike Stumpo
Uber Design
Published in
4 min readApr 27, 2021


Co-authored with Jaime Walke

In 2010, my job title was Content Strategist. At the time, I worked with information architects, interaction designers, graphic designers, web designers, illustrators, animators, and a slew of other talented folks to create digital experiences.

At Uber, we called ourselves Product Writers. Until now, UX Writers.

Now, it’s my pleasure to introduce our team as Content Designers. Let me tell you why.

A recent history of Product Design

The rise of companies like Facebook and Google signaled a new tech boom based on lightning-fast data speeds and handheld devices. In the lean startup culture that arose, designers in tech learned to combine traditionally separate skills into one role in pursuit of rapid iteration.

Enter the latest era of Product Design based on a set of T-shaped skills (thanks, IDEO). The “T” is in reference to a designer’s depth of expertise coupled with their versatility to drive design work, collaborate with others, and get 👏 it 👏 done 👏.

2 examples of T-shaped designers. First example: Deep skills in motion design with ancillary skills in illustration, photography, HTML/CSS, and prototyping. Second example: Deep skills in graphic design with ancillary skills in usability testing, interaction design, UI design, and design systems.
Teeing up a couple examples 😅

In time, the industry developed an alphabet soup to describe combinations of design skills. And in understanding these skills — and the gaps within them — writers found their way into the design process.

At first, a writer’s skills helped make sense of large websites, untangle complex navigation, and optimize web content to be found and comprehended. These websites gave way to niche apps that fueled increasingly complex use cases often extending beyond the screen for larger, more global audiences.

In turn, that required faster, more efficient development. It required localization and internationalization. Accessibility. Regulatory compliance. And, of course, a high quality bar not only regarding the clarity of such experiences but also how they feel.

Today, writers at companies like Uber work as design owners. They make decisions about experiences using their strengths, but are also invested in collaborating with others that have complementary skills. In other words, a T-shaped designer. A content designer.

What unites designers of all flavors?

UX Writers don’t just write, but that title leads people to think so.

For product designers, visual design is just one facet of their “T.” Similarly, UX writing is just one aspect of content design. Instead, core to “design” is a nuanced understanding of a problem followed by solutions rooted in deep empathy of your user.

In journalism, that’s what editors do — they are the ultimate advocate of an audience, whether to help them understand a sentence or find specific topics. But wait! That’s similar to what architects do — designing spaces suitable to the needs of its users. That’s why editorial and architectural skills are an essential part of the UX toolkit.

A list of example design skills in several categories: investigative, editorial, architectural, strategic, and visual

So, what does this mean? A Content Designer is parallel to a Product Designer but with complementary skills rooted in things like storytelling, writing/editing, and information architecture. And what unites designers of all types is advocacy of your users and a desire to solve customer needs, together.

Shaping the future of design at Uber

Once you view design as a matrix of related skills, you’re able to grow and adapt your skills to the needs at hand. That’s why there is no one-size-fits-all career path for product design.

A common starting point for junior content designers is to focus on their UX writing and copyediting skills. We diversify as we grow, picking up other design skills like usability research or wireframing. Along the way, we always work in lockstep with product managers, engineers, and data scientists to create clear, simple experiences that feel just right.

In fact, the most senior content designers on our team have the opportunity to work as design leads and design managers — Uber has several content designers in these roles at the time of this writing. And for me? My title is now Content Design Manager. I’m humbled to be serving as an advocate and mentor not only to other content designers, but also to product designers on our team that seek to improve their own content design skills.

Content Designer is a name that helps our co-workers understand our role, but who knows when an even better term will come along? If it does, we’ll welcome it. A core principle in tech is evolving with the needs of your users. This principle already drives how we design, and now it’s driving how we define ourselves.

What drives you? Share your story in the responses and let’s chat! 🤘

Interested in Content Design at Uber? Don’t be shy — apply online!