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All! The! Things! Clare Scott’s Button 2022 recap

What books, articles, and podcasts help content designers improve their craft? Get ready to bookmark these resources from Button 2022.

Hoo boy, we need a new word for “conference.” It just doesn’t capture the awesomeness that was Button: The content design conference. Seattle was the city this year. And hybrid was the format: in-person for the first time post-pandemic, with a live stream and Slack as the hangouts for virtual folks like me. 

The virtual side of things made the FOMO real. I so wanted to be there in person. Though, as the days rolled on I definitely felt a close likeness to being in the thick of it in Seattle. Massive kudos to the team behind Button and the virtual attendees as we well and truly felt part of every minute. 

I am still truly inspired. I’m taking all I learned back to the office. That is, now that I’ve conquered the conference comedown. “I don’t want to go back to reality.” No, Candi Williams, neither do I. 

The talks. The talks! 

The talks were incredible. Every. Single. One. I’ll try to be succinct here with a summary and takeaways from just three of the talks.

Developing immunity to imposter syndrome – Linh Tran

Linh Tran, Senior Manager of UX Content Strategy, NerdWallet, spoke about something we’ve all felt at one time or another – imposter syndrome. Specifically, about how to develop immunity to it. 

Four principles form the foundations of Linh’s fix. First, stay open to new experiences, especially if they scare you. Two, do what you’d want for the most important person in your life. Three, make room for others. Four, be brave and know you’re not alone. 

A big takeaway for me was if Linh Tran, a first-generation immigrant and refugee from Saigon, can overcome imposter syndrome, we all can. Linh suffered a stroke in June 2022 and has re-learned how to walk, talk, and keep her memory going. She didn’t know if she’d make Button, but she did and delivered a touching account of her story and strategy. It brought many to tears.

Feedback: how to get what you need and love what you get – Milly Shaw

Milly Shaw, Content Design Practice Lead at OpenCast software, spoke about feedback. From bracing yourself for feedback to receiving it from peers, experts, and stakeholders. Milly was so on-point; “Feedback is about work, it’s not about you. You are not your work.” “Feedback will make you better at your job.” The moral of Milly’s words? Use feedback as a learning opportunity. We are humans and sometimes make mistakes. And if you find you get the same feedback often, it can highlight a blindspot you have and others can help you spot that. 

The ROI of content design: Proving value in your org – Sarah Etter

Sarah Etter won Button for me. (Of course, it’s not a competition, but this was my fave talk). Sarah’s talk centered on measuring content, with heaps of practical things we can all copy and action (she’s okay with this) right away. 

When Sarah started as Senior Manager of Content Design at Procore, she rolled up her sleeves and dug deep. She found every opportunity for improvement. We can all #BeMoreSarah and get ferociously curious. Sarah shared questions to ask like… what’s causing support calls in your org? Find this out, fix it, and partner with support to document the dollars saved. Then apply the same approach to all the things you found under the hood while in curious mode.

Top takeaways? Stay curious, fix easy wins, and share figures from your work. This helps you speak the language of your leadership. It’s also a great way to secure a seat at the table so you can start making really cool stuff. 

Easily a year’s worth of reading to keep you busy

I shared the list I created on the Button Slack channels at the end of day 1, promising to re-share it after day 3 wrapped up. So I did. And here it is for you, too. There are even a few new additions on this version, which I grabbed from the Button Slack channels. I’m still there, loitering, to check out. Soon, I had a solid list, and books hitting my doormat every day of the festival. (I’m still working on the right fitting word to replace “conference”). 

We can’t not talk about tables… 

And swords (Scott Kubie’s prop, which brought Nordstrom to its knees). And Excel dresses. An actual, database dress. Worn by spreadsheet lover Relly Annet-Baker, UX Content Strategy Manager at Google.

Props aside, Relly nailed it in her talk with, “We do not need to ask permission to do our job. We do not need to ask permission to sit at the table because we ARE the f*ckin’ table.” As content designers, “None of this product stuff works without us.” Word. 

Tables. They’re ours for the taking. You can even buy the t-shirt, though, it’s something else I’m coveting. Relly’s on-the-money quote, “Your job is Content Designer, not ‘Bad Decision Paramedic.’’ I’d buy that reminder any day. 

Button, you were a hoot. See you in Portland next year for round #2. Peace out.

*I’m British. I may have unwittingly peppered this post with vernacular less acquainted with my mother tongue. While not intentional, this is a testament to how pumped I still feel from Button 2022. 

Clare Scott is an experienced content designer, strategist, and writer. Her work spans many industries, from tech to travel. She lives with her dog by the sea in the UK and tweets, sporadically, under her ex-blogging alias @soldiersailor.

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