Content designers use their product content skills to design and build digital products.
Content design is a practice of using the right words to design the message in the customer journey. They work with designers and engineers to design the content architecture and the interactions in the digital products.
Content designers plan the user research to build the right evidence to understand what the users actually need, and what language they are most likely to understand. language. They believe in user-centered content and this content gives more confidence to the users to find the right information in the right words, in the context of their needs and goals.
Our Content Design course author, Vinish Garg, gives an overview of how content design helps product teams.
How content design helps
Content designers work on the front-end as well as the back-end of the content planning and production cycle. On the back-end, they plan the content structure that forms the foundation of the product architecture. For the front-end, they design the content experience for the interface.
The goal is to design content for its usefulness to the audience. A few common success criteria include:
- the right content hierarchy
- content in the users’ natural language
- compliance with the brand positioning
How content designers work
Content design invests in the discovery stage early in the process to have the right evidence for what content users need.
The scope of content designer’s role varies across the industry, the organisation size, and sometimes across the specific locations in the world.
For example in a SaaS, they design the content for the complete conversion-onboarding-retention cycle to help the users in their product journey.
In bigger corporations, their role can be confined to the product content lifecycle and they work with content strategists and product marketers to contribute to the holistic content experience for the brand.
Learning content design means learning many aspects of content planning and writing, and a few skills in digital design too, when you work with the designers. For example, at the architecture level, they design the taxonomy and metadata and content models. They work with designers to design the customer journey, the onboarding and the messaging within the journey, the brand voice and tone, the content in the interactions, and sometimes even the organisation’s content systems and standards.
Content design is sometimes used interchangeably with content strategy and UX writing, but this is not a correct representation. All these three are different practices. In mid-size or larger organisations, content designers need to work with the content strategists and they support UX writers at different stages in the content ecosystem within the organisation, but their role is distinct
For a closer look at how content design can co-exist with content strategy and UX writing, see Kristina Halvorson’s interview here on Spring.
For organisations who want to ship products that really scale and grow with time, content design plays a huge role at the foundational level.
If you’re interested in learning more about content design and how it works for your job, Firehead has a course that brings you up to speed on where to go to get started and how to apply content design to your work. You can start as a complete beginner, or it can help if you’ve been working in content for a while and need to advance your skills. Check it out here: https://firehead-training.net/course/content-design