A presentation at Design & Content Conference 2020 in in Vancouver, BC, Canada by Jonathon Colman
Most content design leaders stretch their teams to cover many products at once, or sometimes 5-10 or more. This unintentionally causes the team to constantly switch context, drive less product impact, lag in their career development, earn less pay, and ultimately burn out and leave, only to repeat the cycle elsewhere.
This is normal… but it shouldn’t be.
I’ll show you how we redesigned content design to increase people’s focus and depth of work, multiply their product and business impact, and even accelerate their growth and compensation… all by working on just one product at a time.
The following resources were mentioned during the presentation or are useful additional information.
Full video of this talk on Vimeo.
Video and transcript of this presentation at the 2021 Design & Content Conference.
In this interview, Steve Fisher of the Design & Content Conference chats with Jonathon Colman about the struggles and opportunities in setting up an effective content design team and how he’s looking to change things with his work at Intercom.
“Today, we’re making those conversations quicker and easier by introducing a new way to share and discover music, TV and movies.”
In 2008, Zeldman made the case for a content-first approach to design.
Amy is the Chief Design Officer at Gusto, a former UX director at Shopify, and we used to work as content strategists at Facebook. In this talk, I reference her metaphor of how content strategists sometime “dust” the content rather than actually solve the problem.
This profile of Mark Zuckerberg includes a quote that’s often cited as part of the foundation for Facebook’s “Move fast and break things” motto: “Unless you are breaking stuff, you are not moving fast enough.”
This book introduces one of the best-known conceptual models in all of experience design: the five planes of UX. I reference this when talking about “full-stack content design.”
By day, Ella works in technology, leading a product design team working on augmented and virtual reality. Ella also writes her family allegory, exploring how memory creates meaning beyond generation and culture.
Emmet’s the senior director of product design at Intercom. He hired me and asked that fateful question: “How would you build a world-class content design team?”
Originally published in 2002, this book contains one of the most famous conceptual models of UX work in the industry and it’s still relevant today.
“The Double Diamond is a visual representation of the design and innovation process. It’s a simple way to describe the steps taken in any design and innovation project, irrespective of methods and tools used.”
Alex Schleifer, VP of Design at Airbnb, talks about the “three-legged stool” model of product team leadership, made up of engineering, product management, and design. At Intercom, we’ve added content design as the fourth leg of the stool.
The complete list of competencies, expectations, and career paths for designers at Intercom, including both product and content designers. Note that the expectations and career paths are almost exactly the same for both disciplines. Funny thing, that, considering what a strong distinction most organizations make between the two roles.
The home of Intercom’s product design team. Includes our design process, principles, levels & career paths, how designers have product impact, and more resources that are all licensed for re-use through Creative Commons.
In her 2012 book “Writing for Animation, Comics, and Games,” Christy Marx states: “It’s [game design and writing] so intertwined that it can be hard at times to sort out where writing ends and design begins.”
In August of 2019, the UX Writing Collective surveyed the industry to learn about compensation. Among other insights, they found that “74% respondents as identified as female, or ‘mostly female’” (n=208).
Kristina Halvorson’s 2008 article in A List Apart codified and popularized the practice of content strategy for the web.
I paraphrase quotes from Jesse’s closing plenary at the 2009 IA Summit in Memphis, Tennessee. Specifically this one: “There are no information architects. There are no interaction designers. There are only, and only ever have been, user experience designers.” You can watch a video of Jesse’s plenary talk at https://vimeo.com/4304573
“The $1.28 billion customer messaging platform Intercom announced to employees Wednesday that it’s letting go of 39 people globally and relocating some roles to Ireland. The layoffs impacted about 6% of its 649 total employees amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.”
You should hire Kelly O’Brien, a hybrid product/content designer specializing in chatbot design and automation based in London, UK.
You should hire Meredith Castile, a hybrid product/content senior designer specializing in conversation design based in San Francisco, USA.
I paraphrase this quote at the very end of this talk.
This was the alpha-version prototype for the talk you’re looking at right now. It was given at the Sydney Content Strategy Meetup in August of 2019.
Here’s what was said about this presentation on Twitter.