Where I was, and where I am now

I’ve always seen myself as a word person. From ordering dictionaries from Scholastic during my school days to taking courses in book publishing to writing about editing , working with words has always been at the core of my identity.

So it’s with a mix of pride and surprise that I’m announcing my a new job as…. a designer? Really?

Yes, really. A content designer. In October 2021, I became a senior content designer with Scotiabank!

Before this I worked for Rogers. I’d learned a lot during my time there, where I was a contractor for a year before moving in-house. I deepened my understanding of SEO. I taught myself how to make FAQs more effective. I got a crash course in Agile methodology. I was involved in so many projects for Black Friday, Apple, and other major telecom players that I’ve lost count.

However, after 6 years I needed a change. The pandemic and working from home since March 2020 were part of this. All that buzz around The Great Resignation was definitely a part of this. But mainly, I realized that I was itching for a chance to grow my skills and get more responsibility.

What is “content design”?

Content design is a recognition within UX and tech that words should not be considered separate from the rest of any digital interface. More importantly, it forces other people to move away from the idea that content is the final step before anything goes live.

In other words, you don’t just design a spiffy new interface, then expect someone like me to walk on and do my thing. My job is not to pour a whole bunch of words onto the page like filling a pitcher with water. Instead, it’s to be there at the beginning stages of the ideation process, ask probing questions about how a website or app is supposed to work, and suggest ways to make the user journey easier.

That is, I am designing. I’m a designer! I’m just using words to make the final design more efficient! It’s been really interesting seeing the industry embrace content design as a discipline.

How I’m feeling

My new role with Scotiabank in content design takes my previous skills and places them in a new context. Now, I’m really getting into the nitty-gritty of mobile app development and taking part in user experience research on a regular basis. I’m also learning how to use Figma, a tool that’s new to me, but one that I can see is quickly becoming the industry standard because of the way it allows UX designers, POs and content designers collaborate in real time.

Bonus: Scotia Digital has openly embraced permanent remote work. When things are safer, I will probably travel to the office a few times a month. But right now, not having to deal with a regular commute is amazing.

I’m really happy so far, and my new supervisor and I are already discussing long-term projects like implementing new workflows and sharing resources with other teams. I’ve even started pitching presentations to industry conferences, which is something I haven’t done in a few years.

Overall, despite the ways in which the world has become steadily more awful since 2020, I have been extremely privileged to keep on doing what I do, and doing it safely. I couldn’t be more grateful.