Are you a new grad designer or UX enthusiast?
Well good news for you, despite all the recent economic downturns, Expedia is hiring a UX content designer! (Connect with us @ UXGO if you would like a referral)
However, If you are new to the world of UX? Maybe you haven’t really ever heard of Content Design. You might ask is it similar to UW writing? What are my responsibilities, and how do I get hired?
That is why today, I have partnered with an ex-coworker of mine Xinye, to help you understand what a UX Content Designer really is, and how you get hired as one at Expedia or other big tech companies.
Meet Xinye, who is one of the founding content designers on the Expedia maps team and a UX writing coach on our UXGO platform. Xinye, why don’t you quickly introduce yourself!
“Hey Leon’s readers! I’m Xinye, really happy to be featured here! I’m a content designer at Expedia Group. I’m also currently a graduate student studying UX and content strategy at the University of Washington in Seattle. When I’m not designing content, I’m also a passionate traveler and love exploring different cultures, languages, and food.”
In this article, Xinye will help us break down what content design is, how it shares its roots with other UX disciplines, and what qualifications does someone like you need to get hired as a Content Designer at Big Tech.
So Xinye, students often have this misconception that content design is very much like UX writing or copywriting, is that true?
Haha yes, I have heard this quite a few times. However, that would be an incorrect oversimplification, such as assuming UX designers are just folks who push pixels on Figma.
“Content design is heavily UX-focused, the only difference is you are approaching it from a Content first perspective.”
“Take a look at this example, below, how would you find your orders on Amazon?”
“You cant, because without content, aka text, UX design does not really work. Content is a huge part of UX design.”
Thanks for that quick intro into CX, so how did you get into the world of CD, what sort of preparations do students need?
In February 2020, I first learned about content design from a career workshop hosted by a UW alumna who then was a content designer at Expedia.
“At the time, I was finishing my undergraduate studies in Communications and International Studies at UW Seattle with a minor in Informatics (HCI), and was constantly anxious about my career path forward. “
“That workshop piqued my interest. I was fascinated by how human-centered the field of UX and content design is. I’m always passionate about improving humans’ lives in any shape or form.”
“So, out of curiosity, I started self-studying UX and content design through books, online resources, and virtual meetups during COVID, in addition to what I had learned through my minor.”
I see, so content design requires strong roots in UX, what happened next?
After learning the foundation of UX, I started to apply knowledge to hands-on projects.
“At the beginning of COVID outbreak, I attended a UX hackathon and my team designed an end-to-end experience for a digital COVID testing appointment system. “
“Due to the time constraint, we weren’t able to flesh out the voice and tone framework, different use cases, and edge cases for the experience. So, after the hackathon wrapped up, I spent more time upgrading the project in my spare time, sharpening the storytelling, and putting it together as my first portfolio project.”
“Later in my internship hunting process, this project helped me land my product content design internship at Bill.com, where I learned about content design in an organizational context and understood what the day-to-day collaboration and challenges are like as a content designer.”
So Xinye any recommendations on what degrees someone should have if they plan to pursue this route? What are companies like Expedia looking for?
Since content design is still a new, evolving discipline, there hasn’t been a content design or content strategy undergraduate major in the universities.
“Meaning companies like Expedia keep an open mind. Content designers, including me, come from a variety of academic backgrounds, such as English Literature, Marketing, and Journalism, to name a few. It doesn’t matter what you learn as a student. As long as you’re a problem solver, a storyteller, and a collaborative team player who can keep users in mind while designing content, I’m sure you can be an excellent content designer.”
What about skills, what are some qualities you need to have to be a CD?
Every content designer has their strong suits. There isn’t a comprehensive list of qualities that you need to have to be a content designer. However, from my experience as an entry-level content designer, I’d like to empathize 3 things that are important for UX, but are perhaps more crucial for CD:
“Empathy has been a buzzword in the UX industry, but I do think it’s essential. Being empathetic means you are a user advocate and are willing to understand users’ pain points and needs in depth. With the problem in mind, you then follow the design thinking process and keep iterating on the best solution for users.”
2. Research and data-driven
“Being research and data-driven also ties to being a user advocate. As a content designer, you learn about users’ needs and pain points from both qualitative and quantitative insights. Through these insights, you can figure out users’ mental models and the root cause of the problem, so you can design better content that makes the experience better. Also, research and data can back up your content recommendations, which means you can be more persuasive when communicating your design decisions with stakeholders.”
“Content design is all about connecting the dots across the experience. Designing a seamless narrative allows users to interact with your product the way you expect them to. If you’re designing an end-to-end experience, always think about what content or message a user needs at each touch point of the user journey and map out a blueprint to help you shape the story for your product or experience.”
Awesome, so let’s say if I am someone who feels like Content Design could be a great fit for me, what is the interview structure I should expect for a company like Expedia?
Similar to most UX design interviews, content design interviews start from a recruiter call to learning about your background, interests, and expectations.
“Be prepared to ask questions regarding the position. Then, if the recruiter thinks you are a fit for the role, they will pass your information to the hiring manager and schedule an interview. During the hiring manager interview, you’ll have the opportunity to share your past content design experience and impact. You’ll also be asked some typical behavioral questions, so make sure you have some examples ready.
“After the hiring manager interview, there will be a final panel presentation where you will share your 2–3 content design projects with 3–4 panelists.”
“ The panelists could be UX designers, content designers, or UX researchers. During the presentation, you’ll introduce yourself and drive the conversation.”
“You’ll have 20–30 minutes to present each project and make sure to leave some time at the end of each project for Q&A. The panelists are always curious to learn more about your approach, rationale, and thought process. Interviews are always a two-way process.”
“If you have questions about the company culture, how content design works at Expedia or anything, don’t hesitate to show your curiosity and ask questions. Our team is easygoing and amazing!”
Any other Interview advice for folks, and how would you recommend folks get help to maximize their chances?
“Other than just focusing on Storytelling & using the STAR frameworks when practicing, something that might not be intuitive for many job seekers is the networking and outreach you should do when applying for jobs and preparing for interviews.”
“For example, If you are not clear about a specific step of the interview process and the details of each round, always reach out to your recruiter and ask questions.
Your recruiter is rooting for you and wants you to succeed! If you land the position, it makes their job easier at the same time.”
Thank you so much for Sharing Xinye!
We hope to hear more industry insights about the unique world of content design from you soon.
If you need more mentorship, coaching, customized 1:1 support on how to break into the Content Design industry or would like a referral from me, you can consider reaching out to me directly on LinkedIn or becoming a member on our UXGO platform below to get all the tailored industry learnings you may need.
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