A content designer is someone who, with his experience, helps content reach the right user at the right time and in the right form. Content design, just like UX writing, is one of the most important and decisive specialties in the digital product design process.
Content design is an unfamiliar term, especially in a startup ecosystem. Many businesses have no idea about this and many confuse content design with UX writing. For this reason, in this, we intend to review and introduce the expertise of content design or content design in simple language.
Table of Contents
What is content design?
This is how uxpin.com defines content design:
A set of tasks such as drawing a digital product content strategy, determining the tone of the brand, choosing the production method and type of content, determining microcopies, etc. is content design or content design.
Any content that is produced to communicate with the user should be under the supervision of an expert in this field. The goal of a content designer is to provide useful and functional content when the user needs it. This content can be explicit and functional error messages.
Content design expertise falls within the user experience category and team, but a content designer is not only hired as a teammate of product designers. As a product consultant and content designer, the content designer can collaborate on the projects of several different product teams at the same time. Like helping the sales team in designing and presenting practical emails to the customer or writing a conversation strategy with the user.
Where does content design come from?
Sarah Richards (winter) coined the term and specialty of content design while working on the website of the UK Public Service. With the passage of time and measuring the need for such a person in the process of content production and distribution, he created content design.
Businesses usually asked UX writers or copywriters to write product user interface texts. Over time, UX writers found a more prominent role in product design. For example, UX Writer helped to improve the product by applying comments in the design of the site or the design of the purchase process and communication with the user. In this situation, content design expertise is formed. A specialist whose job is to design and compile the content path for useful communication with the user.
The main focus of UX writers is on text, but content designers should also know how to properly use video and images to communicate with the user. In this situation, in Sara Richards’ opinion, the name content designer was more logical instead of UX writer.
If you think that the task of content designer ends here, you are very wrong. Beyond writing microcopy, the content designer must identify what the purpose of the content is and how it should reach the user. Choose the type of content (text, image, or video) and make sure that it is sufficient and useful.
The content designer is in contact with the UX writer, content marketing manager, user interface designers, and user experience to perform his duties. And always uses statistics and information from digital product analysis platforms and quantitative and qualitative research results in user experience design.
What is the difference between a UX writer and a content designer?
Maybe this question has arisen for you, what is the difference between UX writing and content design with these interpretations? Many businesses combine these two specialties. Before answering this question, it is better to point out that content design and UX writing are two specialties that have many similarities to each other, especially in small businesses. In fact, in small businesses, a UX writer or magazine editor may perform all the tasks mentioned. But in general, the difference between these two specialties is in their approach to the content.
UX Writer: The experienced writer is responsible for reviewing microcopies and user interface texts of a digital product. The experienced writer follows the principles of UX Writing in writing guide texts.
Content designer: with a general view of a brand’s products, he is responsible for developing a strategy, choosing the tone and voice of the brand, the path of content publication, developing a UX rating strategy, etc. The work process of the content designer in the marketing team extends to the creation of user-centered content for landing pages, all stages of the sales funnel, and email marketing. The content designer plans for all parts of the product where content is created so that the user can communicate with it well.
What are the stages of content design?
Step 1 – Content design research
As with any user experience team member, research is at the core of a content designer’s decision-making. The content designer must understand the desires, motivations, and needs of the users to increase their connection with the product. In addition, content designers focus more on solving problems, providing solutions, and eliminating weaknesses to prepare product usage descriptions. In general, there are 6 methods to collect information or research for the content designer.
The first method – interview with the user
Perhaps the most important method of achieving results in content design is interviewing users. Because it is the users who must define their content needs for the business. They can specify information such as the applicability of the content, the reason for not connecting with the content, their problems in working with the product, etc. for the content designer. Therefore, a detailed interview with the user should not be underestimated.
The second phase – secondary research
This method is also called desk research. In secondary research, information and data published from different sources (websites, analysis of competitors’ products, various reports, etc.) are examined.
The third method – checking competitors
Another thing that helps the content designer in gathering information is understanding how the competitors use the content. Naturally, in this case, it is helpful to check competitors who have a better product than yours.
The fourth method – examining the criteria for evaluating the user experience of the product
To measure the success or failure of user experience design, criteria should be considered based on competing products and market standards.
The fifth method – product analysis
One of the most important methods of content design research is the use of digital product analysis tools to find the problem of users’ communication with the product and the defects of the current content strategy.
The sixth method – checking user feedback
One of the most important clues for solving product content problems is checking user feedback. Usually, when the explanations or steps of a process are not clear to users, they ask questions or complain about the problem they have by giving negative feedback. This complaint is the starting point of research and changes in content authoring and distribution methods.
The second stage – ideation
Ideation is a general concept that is used in content design to provide a new solution in the way of creating useful content for the user. Content designers work with the UX writing and content marketing team in meetings with different topics to provide solutions to solve user problems.
For each idea, one should consider where the user will see the content (mobile application, website, advertisements, social networks, etc.), and secondly, what type of content (image, text, video, etc.) will have a greater effect on them.
For practical ideation, the content designer must communicate with the legal, marketing, financial, customer service, product experts, etc. teams, so that while knowing the problems of each department, he should participate with those who have experience in that department to solve them.
The third stage – prototyping and testing it
Naturally, after passing the first and second stages, i.e. research and idea generation, it is time to implement and test. The operational part of a content designer’s work is in this stage. Where he should implement practical ideas to create useful content for the user.
At this stage, according to the work field of the content designer, it is very necessary to cooperate with the designers of the user interface and user experience, especially to solve the content problems of the product, such as microcopies or descriptions, and to use practical tools for this work.