How to keep up with the changing content design field

Everything about the UX content field has exploded over the last few years. There’s a huge amount of interest in this fun, creative UX role. How do you keep up? And even more so, how do you excel? Our new Career Course from UXWC’s co-CEO, Patrick Stafford, will give you the boost you need to get ahead in your career.

A decade ago, you might have felt like an amazing content strategist, content designer, or UX writer if you…

  • Considered how your work related to product goals and objectives
  • Helped create content testing plans
  • Connected the work you did to return on investment (ROI)
  • Established company-wide styles and processes
  • Communicated with executives about the work you did how it made an impact on the business

How has the market changed?

More resources for self-teaching

There has never been a better time to find free resources online for UX writing and content design.

There are more tools — and you’re expected to know them

It isn’t just helpful, but increasingly a necessity to know how to whip up a basic frame in Figma or Sketch, create a prototype in Invision, change strings directly in code, or understand how your company’s APIs work.

There are more remote jobs

Remote work requires independence, personal organization, excellent communication, and trust. Businesses put a premium on UX writers and content strategists who are proactive, can make sure they track the work they are doing, and can show impact.

More freelancing and consulting

The number of short-term contracts for UX writers continues to increase. Short-term contracts may be anywhere from a few weeks to several months. (In the U.S., they can last up to 2 years, but in general contracts are much shorter.)

The market for content designers is growing fast

On the positive side, there are so many new jobs for UX writers and content designers created every day. As of August 2021, there were more than 8,000 open roles for content designers in the United States alone!

The market is changing, but so can you

Although expectations are rising, that also means there are plenty of opportunities in the market. More hiring managers are recognizing the value of UX writing and that not everyone has experience at major tech businesses. This means there are more ways to show your skills and land yourself a shiny new role.

Entry level

  • Has a very strong command of spelling, grammar, and styles
  • Knows UX writing best practices for common UI elements (headings, error messages, tooltips)
  • Follows design and style guidance and processes
  • Manages time well and meets deadlines
  • Collaborates with the designer and product manager well
  • Learns and works with guidance
  • Receives feedback with maturity and curiosity
  • Learns from others and attempts new skills
  • Focuses on delivery: gets the job done when asked to get it done

Mid to Senior

All of the previous, plus:

  • Critiques content and design work from others, asks insightful questions
  • Develops workable systems and processes
  • Use learned experience to guide processes and think systemically — for example,
  • How does this affect other teams? Who can we speak to?
  • Proactively seek out data and other touchpoints in order to define the work scope
  • Lead workshops, retros, critiques
  • Guide work and delegate to ensure the pipeline of work remains strong and on time
  • Bring a more strategic point of view, questioning whether design tactics and features are accomplishing the right goals
  • Think about how the business case for features, products, and roadmaps (part of strategy)

Lead

All of the previous, plus:

  • Elevate the team’s professionalism and work quality: help coach individuals and the team
  • Eliminate barriers for your team to get good things done (work with people, processes, and technical constraints to keep things moving)
  • Refine current processes and establish new systems and processes, making sure they remain effective
  • Work with other teams and collaborate on high-impact projects: think 3 dimensionally across teams and departments
  • Search proactively for high-impact ways to deliver on company objectives and goals (New feature, feature redesign, process improvement, team organization improvement, etc.)

Freelance and Consulting

  • Learn new systems and processes quickly and confidently
  • Press ahead through constraints (you may not have access to all of the people and resources that a full-time person would have)
  • Focus only on the job you were brought in to do
  • Find the information needed with an investigative spirit (it may not always be given to you packaged neatly)
  • Work proactively to identify the right people in the right positions; creates connections
  • Make good recommendations, even when that situation might require convincing executive-level managers

This blog post is just a very small taste of our Career Course. If you’re ready to take the next step in your career, check out the syllabus and sign up!