The Republic of Quality. Your content designer can be one of your keenest observers and notetakers. Content designers who can work this way have a lot of leverage over employers in the market today, as well, they should. I was solving a problem for Facebook. And I know that sounds threatening, so take a deep breath before firing off that Twitter thread. And if you have any questions that we don't get to discuss later, please just ask them on Twitter, and I'll follow up with you. My failure also led to this petition signed by over 600,000 people. There's a press release on Facebook's newsroom from when this feature launched, and it has all the images I'm showing you here. But that's not really an advantage I want, because everyone in this field should be paid fairly and equally for their work. If you prefer audio only, you can listen here: You can download the MP3 file, subscribe in iTunes, Google Podcasts, or other podcast platforms. In this blog, I write about topics related to technical writing and communication such as software documentation, API documentation, visual communication, information architecture, writing techniques, plain language, tech comm careers, and more. Still have questions about what content designers do at HubSpot? Kelly has been working as a hybrid product and content designer at Intercom for two years. So less compensation for practitioners of this discipline also contributes to the gender pay gap in design and tech. Here's part of mine. And if you're not comfortable reaching out to them directly, get in touch with me, and I'd be happy to introduce you to your next great content designers. If you opted in, then whenever you made a post, Facebook would use the microphone and music apps on your phone to analyze the sounds playing around you. And even when you do have headcount to bring on more content designers, guess what? Now, they were expected to influence product strategy, direction, scope, roadmap, system, solution concepts, and more, not just the words. Heres a helpful rule of thumb: product and content designers both represent design. PMs and content designers approach strategy with some of the same big questions in mind: what, who, and how. Not being immersed in these things at the same levels as your colleagues makes it pretty hard for you to have an impact on them. Your ability to influence people, product roadmaps, strategy, it's all greatly curtailed and you're always begging for recognition, but you almost never get it. So here's how we solve those eight core problems at Intercom completely changing how content designers work, what they work on, and why. We made sure the product and content designers follow the same design process, product and content designers are held accountable for the same expectations. The truth is, product designers and UX designers do very similar jobs on paper. You could do the same. When we're at our best, it's hard to tell where content ends and design begins. But if you wait to bring in your content designer until youre ready for the words, you'll miss the chance to explore possible solutions together. It's pretty cool.

We determined that work like this provides minimal impact at best and maximal distraction from the most important things at worst. If these are the things that you want, and if the solution to these problems is essentially the same as product design, then are you not a product designer? I proposed to leadership that we move content designers from focusing on five or six products each to just one product at a time. When it's time to prototype, you'll be on the same page, each with a unique perspective to offer.

Give your content designers challenges to help them grow and opportunities to learn so that you don't loose them. These content/product designers engaged on a deeper level to help products succeed. And she's now the head of design for Facebook Assistant.

Whether you work with a content designer now or hope to in the future, here are some of the tips we share with our own teams. Our expectations, design process, principles, everything else you'll find here are all created through creative commons so you can remix and reuse them with your own teams. Keep current with the latest trends in technical communication by subscribing to the I'd Rather Be Writing newsletter. You're constantly context switching and optimizing for the quick bits of work in between your meetings, or you're doing it on your commute, or late at night, early in the morning, and not just during crunch periods like right before a launch. writing.

Now, do you remember how I told you at the beginning, that you won't like how the story ends? And when faced with a challenge or a hard question, they can't push the work off to another designer or to a PM or anyone else. And on the products that do get content design support, that work is held to a much higher standard.

So at Intercom, we wanted to solve those deeper issues. And there you have it, the four key changes we made. Inspired by Jesse James Garrett, we defined the practice of what we called full stack content design. Develop clearer research objectives and interview guides with their input. I'm sure if you went through Intercom the product at a deep level today, you'd find a number of inconsistencies inelegant experiences and quite possibly even some bad ones. And this helped their teams understand them, their work, how they did it best and why it mattered, how it drove impact. And even then, they'll doubt your decisions, they question your judgment, because they don't know how you work. And there was barely any what there. What if we were different, and worked in a different way? Sometimes we refer to this as breaking down the silos.

Also, please know that on the site, we intentionally refer to our combined team as being Intercom's product design team. This comprehensive guide will lay out all the key differences and similarities of job titles, meaning youll never get confused between these two roles again. And these often take the form of strategy, scope and structure that are hard to solve with just words.

And in addition to content designers, I now manage the product design team for our platform group of products. In short, a product designer designs solutions to the problems that might arise during the initial process.

The fear is that if they don't craft every piece of content and make sure it's consistent, clear, and up to standards, then things can fall through the cracks between all of those individual product teams. Amy Thibodeau, who's now a UX director of Shopify was at Facebook during this period. are alike.

As I mentioned before, some products don't get any content design support at all. And that's not a bug, it's a feature. So the tools and scaffolding of content design often don't get much of a look-in. So we often start new lines of work with documents that we call intermissions. Also the overall value proposition was weak.

That means we want to be part of the teams Slack channels and rituals. We started by writing up a very detailed list of all the competence and skills and outcomes that were highly specific to content design that we thought we should be held accountable for. It's our job. But of course, your colleagues on product teams, they all just work on the one product at a time. You could tap on that and then the second screen would come up. Product designers would focus slightly more on interaction and UI design, while content designers would focus slightly more on information architecture and UX writing, but both roles would be expected to be proficient and capable across all of these areas. And this approach decreases trust, because it teaches customers to skip over our messages. And ultimately, we decided that this was a much better and a far more effective approach than expecting content designers to somehow magically fill in all those gaps. We've also found it to be a key differentiator for recruiting new content designers to join us. All of these are great changes that solve the eight core problems I mentioned earlier. Design & Content 2014-2022. Our content designers were present and active in all of their teams meetings and other rituals. Its one of the reasons the two roles are so interchangeable product designers often become UX designers and vice versa. A UXer might ask: Is this product easy to use? But a product designer would ask, Does this product make sense in the current economy?, In UX, youd ask, How do I make my design user-friendly? In product design, youd ask, How do I make my design cost-effective?. Clearer, more user-centered documentation for the whole team. You're also not paid as much as your colleagues in design and product and we all know it. Now, this means that you don't have the same opportunities for impact as your colleagues. It's not just individual products that don't get our support, it's the all the handoffs between them. It's the kind of opportunity I want every one on my team to have, it's the kind of opportunity I want you to have too. These darker tales make us reconsider our own decisions, biases and prejudices. And finally, you are burned the fuck out. And those product teams aren't incentivized to be receptive to their feedback. These disciplines are engineering, product management, and product design. Now, there was a year when I was at Facebook, where Ella gave me the opportunity to work with just one product team.

The words participants repeat will be the ones they want to work into the design, so it's easier to grasp. Unexpected events, like a once in a century global pandemic can disrupt even the best laid plans. What if the key had always been there on the ground in front of me all along, and I was just afraid to pick it up, unlock the door and swing it wide open? You can solve for some of this with a strong design system, but only if you have a dedicated team for it. Include your content designer along with other stakeholders as you define study goals. The only real difference we found is in design execution, what work we do and how we do it. But they do know you don't have the same context they do. Back in 2014, I didn't just work on that one product I showed you.

And I broke myself a little along the way too. technical-writing So content teams often focus on the language and information architecture and product surfaces, making it clear, consistent, useful, accessible, and on brand. Wireframing tools like Balsamiq and Sketch are commonly used by both designers, as well as user mapping software like Lucid Chart and Overflow. Writing the words is great, but only during the detailed design phase of the product lifecycle. All those extra words make the experience more complex, more intimidating, and more confusing. But it's the kind of opportunity I don't want to be special. Talk to a program advisor to discuss career change and find out how you could become a qualified UX designer in 5-10 monthscomplete with a job guarantee. Work more efficiently by clarifying the process for design handoff. At HubSpot, we collaborate across many disciplines especially product, engineering, design, and research. The general consensus is that compared to UX or UI designers, product designers have a wider range of skills, and therefore a wider range of responsibilities within the project. And you may not even realize that until you see a product that's launched out in the wild, and you likely won't even know that it's launched because your early warning system, a content designer who talked to someone on that team for 15 minutes one week, that early warning system no longer exists.

Now as you can see, in the screen tells you more about how the feature works, how to turn it on and off. But here's the thing. So like I said at the beginning, I'm sorry, but the story doesn't end well. When we made this transition, we found that some of our teams hadn't worked with a content designer before. I'm not attacking you, or anyone who identifies as a content designer, content strategist or UX writer, I'm not invalidating your work, your practice, your accomplishments or your careers. Overall, when you blur the lines between content and product design, your content design team ends up looking and feeling a lot more like a product design team. You may be tempted to send mocks back and forth to avoid more meetings. It's your last chance to step away for here, there're be dragons and you're not going to like how this ends. Everything's all together in one place. Now, this matched the allocation of almost everyone else working on product, including product designers, product managers, engineers, analysts, all of whom worked on just one product at a time. It's the same standard as product design. Now we did this because it's just so clearly the right thing to do. I also worked on Facebook login, anonymous login, Facebook's entire developer platform, Nearby Friends, and Facebook's entire search platform. Thats not to say that a product designer does more work than a UX designer! One of the best ways to distinguish between these two roles is to look at the questions they ask. This helps him break down those silos and ensure the holistic customer journey is coherent. The product was dead on arrival, and later they quietly pulled it from the app. Hopefully, this piece will have provided you with a clear distinction between the two job specs. We've embedded ourselves within them. Great collaboration powers great content, so bring your content designer in at the start. But it's rare to hear about the losses, the mistakes, the failures, or even the trade offs. Now that voice sounded a lot like this woman, Ella Mei Yon Harris. For me, I eventually decided that I was. I put this together by talking with my team, colleagues and leaders to identify and better understand what turned out to be those eight core problems I shared with you earlier. Create space to collaborate successfully. This means that they have very little influence over this product teams. Create space for each other to contribute, so teams see all the goodness youve got to offer. We hold all designers accountable for impact in exactly the same ways, so that everyone knows what to expect of both content and product designers. It's also not theirs. A UX designer will identify the problems, and a product designer will propose solutions. Everyone working in the field today knows all about them. It's hard to grow your skills when you're scrambling to switch contexts between teams, and your work isn't recognized, and when your hands are tied for doing anything more than just writing.



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