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A Smallish Book about content design Articles Me and Chelsea Larsson have decided to write a book together. We are doing this by publishing excerpts from the book as a fortnightly newsletter, How to make Confluence less horrible Articles If you’re a knowledge worker shoveling coal for a software or web company in these Roaring Twenties, you might find yourself face to face with a I am a writer designer Articles “I’m never going to explain that. When you do an artistic flourish like that, to describe it, to explain it, would just… invalidate the whole stroke Are SLCs the new MVPs Articles I recently came across an article called “I hate MVPs. So do your customers. Make it SLC instead.” In it, Jason Cohen advocates for replacing the Work is like a hill Articles I’m sick of the The double diamond model. A better metaphor to describe the plight of the average, overworked, over-meetinged knowledge worker comes Beware the lure of consistency Articles You know what’s cooler than consistent error messages? Having a bottomless supply of fresh error messages. Imagine a stack of contextual messages Never, ever use the term microcopy Articles When you focus too much on words you belittle the craft of writing. You do this when you call yourself a “wordsmith” or describe your output as You need three things to design content Articles Those three things are people, standards, and patterns. Maybe you’re not convinced. People Standards Assembly instructions for a side table Articles I purchased a side table for my reading chair for a single purpose: keep beverages (coffee, mostly) within arm’s reach as I devour knowledge. It has The double diamond model Articles Has this ever happened to you? “Wait,” said the stalwart designer, “we’re converging when we should be diverging.” And with that he opened the top Product tours that don't suck Articles A product tour is a kind of onboarding. They introduce users to changes you’ve made to their experience. But unlike onboarding (in which you help a Quickly edit text on the web Articles This is a nifty trick for content designers. It lets you edit text on any website. I do this when I want to get quick visual assessment of a string How content designers can get the most out user interviews Articles As a content designer you’ll occasionally get a chance to interview users. Jump on these opportunities! It’s a way to find out what language your How to derisk trial experiences Articles Let’s say your software as a service product is the bee’s knees. Your company eats its own dogfood. Your software does what it promises. Your Content design vs visual design Articles The relationship between design and content is like a button and its label. A button’s shape shows you that you can take an action. A button’s label The recipe approach to writing labels Articles When writing labels for productivity software, labels should be clear, concise, and neutral. The goal is to help the user complete a task, not 6 truths for first-time public speakers Articles If you want to design product experiences in a corporate setting you will have to present your work out loud. The size of your audience will grow as What the %&@! is content design Articles The %&@! is known as a grawlix. You’ve probably seen it in comic strips and cartoons as a polite stand in for curse words. Beetle Bailey Content design has a nomenclature problem Articles Content design is answering a user need in the best way for the user to consume it.Sarah Winters As of this writing, the discipline of content Solve the real problem Principles & Articles You can’t have a baby without the birth pains. Something my old boss used to say I’m going to level with you. A lotta the time you won’t get to Respect the user Principles & Articles Every alert in software might as well be saying ‘Hey, idiot.’ John Hull Treat humans with dignity and respect. Behind the abstract label of “user” Look for patterns Principles & Articles If you are writing an error message from scratch every single time, you’re doing it wrong. Write less and design more. Be on the hunt for patterns. Start with the story Principles & Articles Do not truncate or wrap text. How strange to make a container that can’t contain the content. It’s not the content that needs to change. Content Principles of content design Principles & Articles Whenever I do anything involving a user experience, I think in terms of principles rather than rules. Principle Rule Reset spaces after you A definition of content design Articles Words in a product are like the holds on a rock climbing wall. Language that’s “easier to grasp” makes a product easier to use. Content design is