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The Dash: Why Facebook switched to “content design”

This week we’ve got an in-depth look at the past, present, and future of our industry from Kristina Halvorson, how to survive being the sole UX writer with Mario Ferrier, and of course, some quality content from emerging UX writers too! 

This is the published edition of our weekly UX writer, UX writing, and content design newsletter, The Dash. Sign up to The Dash to have these updates sent straight to your inbox!

Who even are we? Every week we seem to cross another article about the changing nature of UX writing titles and responsibilities. And we s’pose it’s no wonder, with the many and varied work we do on a daily basis. That’s why this week’s Dash is a little bit of a mixed bag: with pieces from Facebook and Roy West (Apple), and with topics ranging from information architecture, designing without cognitive biases, and user experience best practices. Dig in!

  • Another one bites the dust. Facebook has joined the ranks of companies like Shopify, which are switching their content strategist titles over to content design. This is a nice little trip down memory lane of the content strategy practice at Facebook by their Head of Content Design (Elisabeth Carr), an insight into how they made the decision to switch (hint: audits and analysis), and where to from here.

  • Roy West is a good human (and UX writer at Apple). We love this short and thoughtful interview with Roy – he’s a pal of UXWC and has worked for Uber, Google and is currently at Apple. In this chat with author Nick Harris on the Design x Us site, he speaks of his foray into UX writing, what drives his passion for the work, and what he does in his spare time (lots of outdoorsy things it would seem).

  • Organization is our happy place. We definitely latched on to this article by Saeid Azizi about applying the LATCH framework (location, alphabet, time, category, hierarchy) to information architecture. Sorry for the bad puns, but not sorry for this great article explaining why using this formula for information organization is key for smoother, frictionless user experiences.

  • The login wall. Dun dun duuuunnnnnn. NNg have done it again with a fun little video about login walls for gated content. You know the kind: the annoying information grabbing popups that won’t let you watch a video, download an app, or read an article without handing over your details and probably your first-born. Find out why they’re bad here.

  • You’re invited: How content drives conversion. The next San Francisco UX Writers Meetup is happening on October 21, and will feature Caroline Pieracci, a university lecturer and UX Writing Lead at one of Switzerland’s biggest web agencies. Find out how to add business strategy to your UX writing, and go after that sweet, sweet, ROI.

  • Design without cognitive biases. Koos Looijesteijn has outlined 7 cognitive biases we should avoid when designing for users…and how to overcome them. Because, well, we are mere humans too and aren’t immune to the same brain shortcuts our customers have. 

  • Spotify answers our burning questions. The design team at Spotify are answering all of our design-related questions in a new series on their blog. From processes through to writing good copy for landing pages, this piece is also full of beautiful illustrations to go with each design dilemma. 

  • #Takecarebeforeyoushare. Hooo boy, we think this article by Stefano Bellucci Sessa of FutureGov is a timely read, especially in today’s political (not to mention public health) climate. It’s all about the ethical side of creating content – and having the forethought for how it might be shared after you hit publish.

  • Ditto! The latest transcript of Writers of Silicon Valley is live on the blog. Remember Patrick’s chat with Jessica Ouyang and Jolena Ma who founded Ditto? Well, it was excellent – these two Stanford grads who are creating the ultimate collaborative UX writing software. And you can read the full conversation here right now.

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