Some content design principles

Yes, I studied art.

“What’s the point?”

Always start with this.

Clarity

Use simple, common language. Don’t let technical accuracy get in the way of language that users can actually understand.

Simplicity

Make it efficient. Use the least amount of words you can. Edit, then edit again. But don’t compromise on clarity.

Consistent

Consistency is your users’ friend. It’s less work for them. Don’t expect users to make connections that aren’t clear.

Responsible

Avoid ‘dark patterns’ like confirm-shaming. Be better.

First draft is bad draft — experiment

You’re never right the first time. Approach all work as an experiment.

If in doubt, say “I don’t know”

Be open. Use your lack of understanding to dig into what needs to be said.

These principles are fluid. I’ve developed and chosen them over a few years and I’m sure they’ll change in the future.

My original idea was ‘What should a content designer do?’ But this expanded into a broader exploration:

  • what principles can guide a content designer to be effective and, essentially, “do the job well”?
  • how are those principles continually referred to throughout a space of time?
  • do they help at all?

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