BrainTraffic published thought-provoking insights on the future of Content Design which inspired this post :) Being a beacon of the current conversation is one of the things BrainTraffic does best! Here are my takeaways and additional thoughts.
Predictions about the evolution of the field
- As tech becomes more sophisticated, the content challenges will too
- We’ll start reaching ecosystems that haven’t yet adopted content design
- Going deeper as opposed to broader as specialization becomes a norm
- Investment in high-level, systems-wide work — not just living in the weeds
I’d add that to be ready for this evolution, we need to never stop learning. We have more senior content designers out there than ever before and while some move into management, we all need to be deliberate about our continuing education, knowledge sharing, and adapting best practices to a new reality. Those who have been in the field the longest will need work the hardest to find ways to recapture the fresh eyes/beginner’s mind perspective because the landscape is evolving and is always newer than it was before. We’ll need to work hard to identify gaps and fill them with research, frameworks, techniques, headcount, collaboration, and thought leadership.
Topics with increasing focus
- Content-led design
- Content ops, systems thinking, and strategy
- Safety, security, and trust
I’d note that the newest hottest topics are split into two categories: talk about our practice and talk about our outcomes.
Practice-wise, we’ll be thinking more about when it makes sense for content to lead a design project. An obvious first frontier is conversation design (chatbots and voice interfaces) where there is no VUI. After that, longer-form assets like transactional emails, are a place we could advocate for a content-led process. Not every product design should be content-led and it’s not that no orgs are leaning into content-led design already. But a bigger focus on when and how to use content-led processes is coming our way. The same goes for ops and strategy: these things exist but we’re crossing a threshold where their potential impact is getting due recognition, which will lead to greater investment, which will lead to impact like we’ve never seen before. Be ready for it.
Outcomes-wise, we are going to be putting a bigger emphasis on getting product copy right when communicating safety, security, and trust messages. With AI everywhere, these are not just hot topics for sensitive products like medical and financial products anymore. Users as a whole have privacy concerns that are more intense and more widespread than ever before so we need to have a good think on what that means for the success of our orgs, designs, and partnership with our users. AI is certainly not the enemy! It is a new fabulous tool we should be leveraging. At the same time as we reassure users we are leveraging it in an ethical, respectful way.
Skills to focus on as we look ahead
- Applying principles of ethics
- Content strategy in content design
- Assessing and growing the business value of content design (I might be able to help with this one :)
- Leveraging AI
I’d summarize that looking at the direction content design is evolving in and the emerging topics on everyone’s minds, begs the question of how do we prepare? How can we best equipt ourselves for this future that’s already arrived? For me, one of the most exciting insights of the original BrainTraffic article, is that the upskilling we need to do is for absolutely everyone. No matter how fresh or how senior, no matter the field you came from, no matter the industry or size of company you work for or if you’re a freelancer, these are new horizons for us all, growth we can all aim for.
The future’s looking awesome. See you there!