Some tips to get overcome barriers and get things back on track

Broken Lego character
Broken Lego character
Photo by Jackson Simmer on Unsplash

Sometimes at work, the same issues can crop up so many times we start to think that things will never change, which makes us tired and resentful. Getting to that point is dangerous — we become negative about our work, or even demotivated. This can affect the quality of our work, and more importantly, our mental health.

I’ve spoken to many product team members over the years who come up against daily challenges. They’re tired. And they often struggle to change culture or behaviour, because that’s not an…


Rachel McConnell

If content strategy is the engine, then ops is the oil — making sure all the strategic elements work effectively and efficiently and can scale. But when processes and working methods are already well established, how do you approach ops?

I joined BT in the Spring, and it’s fair to say the content team of 66 was fairly well scaled up! The content lead Rebecca had done a wonderful job of growing a team quickly and making sure the ratio between content designers and product designers was almost equal! But though a team of that size sounds wonderful, it does…


Two people with a laptop
Two people with a laptop
Career discussions don’t have to be fruitless (Images by Elina on Blush)

Whether you identify as a content designer, strategist or UX writer, it’s likely you’ve thought about where you go from here.

You can think about career progression in many ways, but how you progress within your current role, and where do you want to go next, are often the key considerations. Sure, some people have a fully fleshed-out 5-year plan, but many of us struggle to think past the next few months to a year (sometimes it’s even hard to think beyond the next meeting to be honest).

Digital design roles weren’t on the career option list when I was…


Process flow
Process flow

I’m often asked how and when content designers should be involved in the product design process and my answer is always the same — at every stage. Without context and discovery work, content can’t be created effectively, and without measurement and testing, we can’t know if we’ve achieved success.

I also often asked what the content design process looks like. In all honesty it’s not much different from the design process, we just might focus more on the content than the visuals. But the two have to work hand in hand, and that’s why co-design is so important.

In visualising…


Phoebe from friends screaming ‘Stop the Madness’
Phoebe from friends screaming ‘Stop the Madness’
Phoebe knows

I’ve been meaning to get around to this post for a long time but cookie pop-ups kept getting in my way. They get in the way of everything, those pesky little blighters.

When the EU changed its GDPR rules back in 2016, I was working in a content team who had to scramble to come up with simple and non-intrusive ways to make sure customers knew they could be tracked through the site as soon as they arrived. They could either accept by continuing onto the site, or read more detail about how their information might be used. It was…


UX designers in front of a wireframe
UX designers in front of a wireframe
UX designers bring so many skills together (image by Pablo Stanley on Blush)

I recently remembered an article in which I’d been asked what skills I thought good UX practitioners need to have. Off the top of my head I came up with 3 Cs. But in hindsight I’d say there are 4 of them:

  • Curiosity
  • Creativity
  • Communication
  • Collaboration

We’re often told these skills are the ‘soft’ side of design. I disagree. Tools, methods and techniques can be learnt. It’s much harder to learn the Cs. Here’s why I think they’re important, and my tips for sharpening them up.

Curiosity

To solve a problem is to understand the problem. I’d say 90% of solving…


Neon light travelling up concrete steps
Neon light travelling up concrete steps
Neon steps (image credit: Steve Thompson on Flickr)

Content strategy, as I’ve written before, isn’t a magical document you can hand over to a team and expect results. Strategy is a combination of things which together will help you achieve an outcome. When it comes to content strategy, these things could include (but may not be limited to):

  • Process
  • Tools and systems
  • Resource and skills
  • Measurement
  • Content foundations (such as guidelines and voice and tone)
  • The drivers (business goals and user goals)

It’s a combination of the ‘what’, and the ‘how’ that makes a strategy successful. But how do we work out the ingredients that will go into…


I interviewed author of Strategic Writing for UX (and UX writer at Google), about her career so far, and who’s inspired her in the design world.

Can you briefly explain how your career led you to your current role at Google?

I was talked into my first UX writing role at Xbox in 2010, when “UX writer” hadn’t appeared as a title, yet. The writing manager explained that my background as a high-school science teacher was ideal: I already had experience helping teenagers understand abstract concepts in concrete ways, with simple language. He promised that he had a good team, and that I could learn what I needed to know while I was there. …


White books in a tidy pile
White books in a tidy pile
Tidy content by Beatriz Pérez Moya on Unsplash

While spring is traditionally time for a clear-out, we often shy away from the boring ‘tidy up’ tasks. In the current climate when we might have some down-time as projects get paused, it seems like a good opportunity to pick up some of those jobs we’ve been putting off.

Cleaning up your content essentially means starting with a content audit to establish what you have and what kind of state it’s in. …


I asked Content by Design speaker Elaine Short who inspires her, and what she thinks we should be talking about right now.

What do you see as the biggest opportunity for content designers/UX writers right now?

Definition. As a field, we have the opportunity to define what we are. Thanks to folks who started documenting their craft six or seven years ago on Medium, and folks now writing and publishing texts specific to UX writing, we’re starting to form shared vocabulary, standard practices, templated exercises, and systems to maintain, share, and educate about UX writing. Don’t even get me started on tools! …

Rachel McConnell

Content Ops at BT. Previously Clearleft and Deliveroo. Author of Why you need a content team http://amzn.eu/d/2j4OrHx

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