What Does a Content Designer Do?
A content designer is responsible for infusing digital products with meaningful content so that users have an easier time using the products and an overall satisfactory experience.
Content designers collaborate with UX writers, product developers, graphic designers, and managers to ensure that the digital product has the necessary content at the right places and creates more value for the user.
Content designers can work on websites, mobile and desktop applications, enterprise software, and other kinds of digital services and products.
Even though the term has recently become widely used, major global corporations are looking for talented content designers. Since digital products are ever-present in our modern lives, companies want these products to connect with users successfully. Therefore, they are on a constant lookout for content designers who can infuse digital products with intelligent design choices to deliver the perfect user experience. All this forms a neat summary of what content designers do.
There are several lucrative content designer opportunities out there. Once you understand the role and responsibilities, you can plan better and achieve a content designing prospect.
You are at the right place if you want to pursue content design as a serious career. In this article, I will explain an average content designer's job, what skills it would require, and how to become a successful content designer.
Content Designer Role
Have a quick look at a content designer's duties given below:
- Research the target user demographic, needs, and expectations with different digital products and content types.
- Research the digital product, its functionalities, the segment it belongs to, and other competitors within that segment.
- Gather data, analyze it, and extract insights that they can use to make content strategies and other business needs.
- Make content strategies focusing on the digital product, its functionalities, and providing an optimal user experience.
- Gather feedback from implemented content strategies and use them to make improved strategies.
Besides these responsibilities, a content designer may also have to produce content or handle other user experience aspects. Therefore, it is a multi-faceted job and involves working in multiple niches.
For example, content designers focusing on mobile applications have to focus on the UI design and handle visual and written content design choices.
While they can have different duties to handle, there are some aspects that all kinds of content designers have to manage.
Some key responsibilities of content designers are described below.
User and Product Research
Content designers need to be well-versed with the concerned digital product and its targeted users since their entire job is to optimize the interaction between these two entities.
Adequate research will inform the content design approach since designers have to use the appropriate content design strategies and enhance the digital product's value for the user.
During their user and product research, content designers have to:
- look into the digital product's nature and what content is appropriate based on it
- ask appropriate questions in user surveys to examine how they interact with the digital product and at what point they may need assistance
- formulating user behavior assumptions and researching how much they differ from reality
- investigate if the content design strategy for the digital product can be more inclusive
Research enables content designers to bring the user perspective at crucial points during product development and advocate for user needs.
Since content in different forms is their main output, content designers need to have significant practice creating effective and worthwhile content based on the requirements.
By following content ideation workflows and factoring in research insights, designers iteratively create material that breathes new life into the digital product's utility and satisfies user expectations.
While coming up with content, content designers have to:
- ensure that it uses persuasive, practical, and accessible language
- not involve too much technical jargon that users may or may not comprehend
- use a mix of graphics and written material to accommodate all kinds of users
- map content design elements to business needs to show that the content adds value and fulfills user requirements
Content designers plan their content creation before ideation and implementation for better productivity.
Communicating Content Plans
Since content designers conduct research, analyze it to gather insights, and create content strategies and content itself, they need to have solid communication skills to collaborate and share their work efficiently.
Creating a digital product and its user experience involves several professionals and content designers. Therefore, there needs to be smooth communication between them to ensure the highest productivity.
While communicating their strategies and sharing their material, content designers need to:
- Employ visual learning techniques for better comprehension within teams
- Use precise language when educating more technical colleagues about the user journey and perspective
- Use their research and data analysis to support their content strategies
- Share project updates and guidelines with non-technical personnel in plain language
By establishing a clear ground for the content design approach and communicating it with all professionals involved, content designers are vital in determining the development roadmap of a digital product's user experience.
Our UX writing certification course teaches fundamental content design and UX writing skills. Check out the details here:
Content Designer Qualification
Content designers wear several hats depending on the job description. However, some crucial qualification every content designer needs to possess are described below:
- Detailed Understanding Of Business Goals: While content design focuses on perfecting a digital product's user experience, it has to incorporate the business goals within its strategy. A successful content design strategy successfully addresses the business needs and user requirements equally.
- Solid Research and Analytical Ability: The user and product research inform much of a content designer's responsibilities. Therefore, they need to possess practical research ability to use the analyses for better content design.
- Crafting Content From Abstract Concepts: Content designers have to manage notes from upper-level professionals along with their own research insights. These notes are often vague ideas, and the final outcome has to incorporate them. Therefore, content designers will have to make tangible content from these vague notes.
- Dependable Communication Abilities: Content designers share their insights and strategies with fellow professionals working on the same digital product. Sometimes, the professionals would have a technical background, and at times, some would require non-technical explanations. A content designer needs sufficient communication ability to accommodate both. Additionally, they have to bring the user perspective to the table during planning sessions.
- Proficient Language Ability: A content designer needs to be skilled at using language at varying difficulty levels. The content ideation will require emphasizing plain and readable language. However, research and analyses may require using more technical terms. Therefore, successful content design will need strong language abilities.
- Knowledgeable In User Experience Development: A content designer must craft strategies and content that cater to a user-centric perspective. Endorsing user needs and focusing on the user experience is a vital part of their job. Hence, every content designer must be familiar with user experience development and best practices.
- Managerial Capabilities: Content designers create strategies and are often tasked with the responsibility of their implementation. They need to possess the ability to manage a team and bring concepts to life. Additionally, they need to be aware of methodologies like Agile that focus on improved productivity and better quality of the outcome.
- Fluency In Incorporating Feedback: Successful content design is all about iterating until you achieve a satisfactory user experience. Feedback plays a crucial role in the process. Therefore, content designers must know how to use the feedback and improve their strategies.
While content designers need to constantly ensure that the user's needs are also part of the development process, they also have to manage communication with colleagues and a team to make the execution possible.
Apart from the above capabilities, content designers are also expected to successfully train new entrants and pass on crucial knowledge to help them have a smoother career.
Content Designer Education
The requirements for content designer opportunities differ based on the nature of digital products and the scale of the employing organization. Since there are various digital products on the market, from websites to mobile and desktop applications, each requires content designers to construct strategies accordingly.
However, every content design job requires some basic credentials and qualifications.
They are given below:
- Bachelor's degree in English or Human-Computer Interaction, with 2+ years of professional experience for an intermediate content designer position and 4+ years of experience for more senior roles
- Technical certifications in content design or content strategy
- An undergraduate degree and some experience through content design internships
Additionally, more established workplaces require a portfolio of previous content design and UX writing work to establish your expertise and technical skills.
You can get into an entry-level junior content designer role if you have significant UX design and development knowledge. You also need solid writing prowess to increase your chances of achieving a junior content designing opportunity.
Pursuing content design as a career would open the doors for you to exercise your creative and analytical abilities while benefiting from lucrative opportunities. Additionally, you will also become proficient at research and leadership.
Major industries like healthcare, education technology, and media corporations need content designers to build successful digital products. The information above gives you sufficient knowledge of what the role will require and what areas to focus on.
In closing, you should read through the job description and requirements in detail to better gauge whether the content design opportunity is suited to your experience and aspirations.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some common questions about content designers answered:
How Much Do Content Designers Earn on Average?
According to Glassdoor, the average salary for content designers within the United States falls between $55k - $80k per year, and can go up to $90k per year. The average hourly wage for content designers is $50, and the overall salary depends on the role's seniority. Senior content designer roles in organizations based in urban areas have much higher earnings.
Are There Enough Content Designing Opportunities?
Companies are investing in content design to give their products a unique identity and ensure their success with customers. The number and variety of digital products have increased and competition has also risen. Therefore, this has led to massive growth in content designing jobs across different industries. These opportunities require excellent content designers, and as competition further rises, such prospects will only expand.
Can I Become a Content Designer Without Formal Qualifications?
Becoming a content designer has more to do with possessing a suitable skill set and attention to detail. While formal qualifications mean you have undergone proper training and built the necessary skills, they aren't the only way to do so. Even if you don't have the relevant formal qualifications, you can enter the content designing field through previous related experience. Additionally, some self-paced certifications can also help you gain experience and build your portfolio.
If you are new to UX writing and are looking to break-in, we recommend taking our UX Writing Certification Course, where you will learn the fundamentals of being a UX writer, how to dominate UX writer interviews, and how to stand out as a UX writing candidate.
Josh is the founder of Technical Writer HQ and Squibler, a writing software. He is considered one of the top product influencers in the world by Product School and one of the top technical writers. He has been writing software tutorials, manuals, handbooks, and white papers for over eight years. You can connect with him on LinkedIn here.