You're here because you're curious about what content designers do.

Whether you're a student exploring career paths, a seasoned professional considering a switch, or a product manager interested in how content designers can help your team accomplish a more collaborative UX design practice, this guide is for you.

We'll begin with what content design is and how content designers differ from other UX and product roles. Then, we'll touch on content designer responsibilities, salary, and career outlook. Finally, you'll learn about the top content designer skills you should work on to get started on this career path. 

What is a content designer and how is it different from other design roles?

A content designer is responsible for effectively communicating information by researching and understanding user needs.

The UK government's digital service team, which played a key role in shaping the discipline of content design back in 2012, describes the role of a content designer more concisely:

“Content designers make things easier for people to understand and use.”

Think of content designers as the ones responsible for delivering the right information at the right time and in the correct format, whether online, offline, or in print. They typically collaborate with UX researchers, service designers, and interaction designers from the beginning of the project to make sure that all elements work together seamlessly and create a smooth and user-friendly experience.

It's worth noting that a content designer's role involves more than just creating individual pieces of content. They also play an essential role in designing the entire user journey, making sure every step is clear, straightforward, and efficient.

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Is a content designer a UX designer?

While there is some overlap in the skills and responsibilities of the two roles, there are also some key differences.

Content designers focus on the what, why, where, when, and how of information you present to users. For example, they might recommend creating a monthly bill calculator for a power and utilities website. Or they might advise that the forms on a website should be formatted as Google Forms instead of presenting them as downloadables.

On the other hand, UX designers focus on the overall user experience of a website or app, including the design, layout, and functionality. They make sure the interface is easy to use and navigate, and meets the users' needs.

The crossover between a UX designer and a content designer is often noticeable in smaller teams or agile environments. For these teams, it's not uncommon for a content designer to perform a UX designer's responsibilities or vice versa.

The table below highlights the overlap in responsibilities between UX designers and content designers. 


UX designer

Content designer


User research

• Utilizes research findings to understand user needs and behavior • May or may not conduct user research (it depends if the team has a dedicated UX researcher)

• Uses research findings to inform content strategy and how information is presented • May or may not conduct user research (it depends if the team has a dedicated UX researcher)

• Both may participate in and utilize user research

Information architecture

• Designs the overall structure and organization of information

• Structures content for optimal user experience

• Both contribute to information architecture, although from different perspectives

Prototyping and wireframing

• Creates prototypes and wireframes to test user flows

• May contribute to wireframes and prototypes to define content placement and interaction

• Some content designers participate in these activities, especially when dedicated UX design roles are absent

Usability testing and iteration

• Conducts usability testing to identify and fix usability issues

• Analyzes user feedback and iterates on content based on testing results

• Both participate in usability testing and use their findings as a basis for their work

Content strategy and governance

• Not directly involved, but may collaborate with the content designer

• Develops the overall content strategy and governance

• Some UX designers may take on content strategy responsibilities if a dedicated role in content design is absent

Other areas where content designers are more likely to work with the rest of the UX team are:

  • Journey mapping: Content designers may map content journeys with the rest of the UX team.

  • Product discovery process and/or analysis: Content designers may analyze needs from a content perspective. 

  • Design sketching: Content designers may sketch content layouts.

  • Card sorting: Content designers may contribute to content labeling and naming.

  • UI design: Content designers may also collaborate with the rest of the product team on UI elements related to content.

Content designers vs UX writers: Are they essentially the same?

The lines between content designers and UX writers can get blurry, and there's a lot of overlap in their responsibilities. But they're not the same.

Let's take a look at the similarities between a content designer and a UX writer first. 

  • Both aim to create user-focused content for digital products.

  • Both emphasize user research and data to inform content strategy.

  • Both involve collaboration with designers, researchers, and other stakeholders.

And here’s a quick look at their differences.

A UX writer:

  • Focuses on microcopy within user interfaces (buttons, error messages, etc.).

  • Often works in design sprints alongside designers.

A content designer:

  • Considers all content across the user journey, not just microcopy.

  • May be more involved in information architecture and content strategy than the UX writer.

It's also worth noting that content design is a more popular term in the UK while UX writing is also commonly used in the US and North America. 

Kristina Halvorson, a thought leader in the industry, explains the distinctions well, including how content strategy differs from the two disciplines too:

“Content design is the set of activities that's very closely partnered with product strategy and design, thinking through requirements and features with a variety of stakeholders and users. UX writing as a function is the actual ‘pen to paper’. Where we are actually choosing the words. And this happens on the ground with active design, typically in sprints.”

Kristina also points out that understanding the functional roles involved in creating a great user experience is more important than job titles.

"So what's important to know, in my opinion, is that content strategy, content design, and UX writing are sets of activities and areas of accountability. They are not necessarily job titles that should be treated as precious, immoveable monikers. And so at any given time, someone who is doing content design can also be doing UX writing, and can also be practicing content strategy."

What are the tasks and responsibilities of a content designer? 

Before we dive into the day-to-day tasks of content designers, here’s how Alice Bracchi, former content designer at Cloudflare, describes the core responsibility of content designers:

“People who work in content design can take many names (content designers, UX writers, product writers, just to name a few) but in a nutshell, our job is to help users accomplish goals on an interface by providing them with the right guidance at the right time.

Unlike visual designers, content designers are not responsible for the graphic layout or the look and feel of a given interface — instead, we own what we call the conversation between product and user along each journey to ensure that the user has all the information they need to reach their goal”.

With that said, here are the most common tasks and responsibilities of a content designer.

content designer responsibilities

User research

  • Identify user needs: Conduct or assist in research to identify user needs, goals, and pain points through surveys, interviews, and various usability testing methods.

  • Analyze data and feedback: Make use of user data and feedback to inform content decisions, ensuring content truly addresses user needs.

  • Develop user personas and journey maps: Create user personas to represent different user types and map their journey through the product, identifying key touchpoints for content.

Content creation and strategy

  • Brand consistency: Ensure all content aligns with brand voice, tone, and style guidelines for a seamless user experience.

  • Content across formats: Craft various content formats, including microcopy, articles, instructions, landing pages, and social media posts.

  • Clarity and conciseness: Write clear, concise, and informative content that guides users effectively and removes any confusion.

Information architecture and design

  • Structure and organization: Design the structure and organization of content for optimal usability and flow.

  • UI and IA contribution: Participate in user interface (UI) design and information architecture (IA) decisions.

Content maintenance and optimization

  • Regular updates: Update and revise content based on user feedback, data insights, and changing needs.

  • Performance testing: Conduct user testing to identify and implement performance improvements, optimizing content for better engagement.

  • Trend awareness: Stay updated on UX trends and best practices in content design to make sure your work remains relevant and effective.

Additional responsibilities

  • Collaboration: Partner with designers and developers to make sure content integrates seamlessly into the overall product design and development.

  • Style guides and systems: Develop and maintain content style guides and design systems to create consistency and efficiency.

  • Content performance: Track content performance metrics and measure its impact on user behavior to demonstrate its value.

These examples of content designer job listings will also help you understand what it's like to work as a content designer.

First, here's one from Origin, an Australian-listed public energy company.

Content designer job listing example from Origin, an Australian-listed public energy company

Here's another example from the NHS Business Services Authority describing how the content designer will mainly work on websites and digital platforms. 

Content designer job listing example from the NHS Business Services Authority

Content designer salary

When it comes to content designer salaries, let's look at the results of UX Content Collective's 2023 Content Design Salary & Industry Survey. The survey received 550+ responses from content designers around the world, over half of whom are outside the US.

  • The median content designer salary range is US$81,000 – $100,000. The United States leads with US$121,000 – $140,000; the highest reported salary is US$401,000+.

  • Content designers who have been in the field for ten or more years earn a median salary range of US$121,000 – $140,000 worldwide. However, this range may vary depending on the location. In the United States, with the same level of experience, a content designer can expect to earn a base salary of US$141,000 – $160,000.

  • Freelance content designers worldwide earn US$61–$70 per hour on average, which amounts to an annual salary of at least $126,880 based on a 40-hour work week and 52 weeks per year. This salary range is comparable to that of full-time content designers.

Content design career outlook

With discussions around the decline of the Golden Age of UX, the increasing prominence of generative AI, and the surge in tech layoffs, what's the career outlook like for content designers?

In 2023, content design experienced notable shifts, influenced by trends and industry dynamics. Nicole Alexandra Michaelis, in a Medium post, Why I no longer believe in Content Design, writes:

"Earlier this year, I turned down a dream offer to teach Content Design to eager students. I, someone who loves teaching, coaching, and is obsessed with observing the moment when someone truly gets it. I turned it down because I felt like I couldn't honestly – authentically – tell anyone to be excited about Content Design right now."

Nicole shares her frustrations about content design as an undervalued discipline and the need to recognize content's impact on user experience. However, at the end of her article, she remains optimistic and provides suggestions on how the industry can make it better, such as the following:

  • Content designers should have equal input alongside other team members rather than being sidelined as merely "wordsmiths”.

  • Promoting cross-functional understanding and equal partnerships between content designers, designers, engineers, marketers, and product leadership.

  • Investing in junior talent through better onboarding and learning structures.

As for the impact of AI on the content design industry, here's what Yvonne Xiao, content designer at Uber, thinks:

“Leveraging AI to solve the mundane part of our jobs can elevate us to dive deeper than just the surface level of UX.”

Finally, Catherine Carr, Principal Content Designer at HubSpot, shares her thoughts on where she sees content design in the next 5 or 10 years:

"I think there are two angles. There's the actual 'content crafting' aspect, and then I think there's the 'content design community/industry' side.

On the content crafting side, we're going to start to see content itself be redefined. I think right now it gets put into a little box of just 'being words that you read on a page'. But the way technology is expanding, with cross-platform experiences, things like that, we're going to start to see content emerging as more than just words on a page. And we as content designers or content strategists are going to need to be really aware of how that's all going to come together, and how different types of content will apply to different types of people, at different times, and in different places.

So, I think I would start to think a little bigger when you think 'content'. When you think of how AI is progressing, even in the respect of the amount of companies now using chatbots, I think that's going to be a really interesting area over the next five to 10 years.

If we're looking at industry sectors now starting to grow … I think we're really going to be looking more and more at the user experience for healthcare professionals, but also the patients and even health insurance companies. It's touted by some as the new Fintech." 

For more on the challenges, trends, and best practices of healthcare UX design, read our healthcare UX design article.

What skills do you need to be a content designer? 

What does a content designer do

A successful content designer requires a diverse skillset beyond just writing well. Here's a breakdown of the key areas:

  • Writing and editing: Strong writing skills are essential, with an emphasis on clarity, conciseness, user-centricity, and adaptability to different audiences and formats.

  • Information architecture: Ability to organize information logically and intuitively, structuring content for optimal user experience.

  • User research: Understanding user needs, behaviors, and pain points through qualitative and quantitative research.

  • Design thinking: Approaching content strategically, iteratively, and using design principles to enhance user interactions.

  • Collaboration: Working effectively with designers, developers, marketers, and other stakeholders to achieve shared goals.

  • Content design systems: Understanding and applying design systems principles to create consistent and scalable content.

  • Data analysis: Interpreting data to understand user behavior and inform content decisions.

  • Change management: Navigating organizational structures and advocating for effective content practices.

  • Negotiation and project management: Securing resources, getting stakeholder buy-in, managing projects, and ensuring content aligns with business objectives.

The UX Content Collective team also listed down the following top content design skills needed in 2024:

  • Content-specific research

  • Localization

  • AI operations

  • Figma

  • Product management

  • Presentation skills

  • AR/VR

  • Conversation design

  • Accessibility

When asked about the most important qualities they're looking for in a content design colleague, Catherine shares that people with a combination of writing skills, knowledge of iteration, and experience in data analysis or experimentation will stand out to her. She explains:

"If I see somebody that's like 'We had X impact, we increased whatever by X%, based on this user problem that we found in research, and I helped push that', I'm in love with that person before I've even heard any more(!). I really, really want to see that kind of thing – especially if you want to work in a product or tech world.

I would also add in some kind of sign that you understand iteration, because sometimes we do things, we put them out there, and then we forget about them and walk away. But I want to see somebody who can show that they did this, then kept an eye on it before then figuring out how to improve it, etc … I think that's really important because it's very easy to work on a project once, but showing resilience and that commitment to actually improving that experience also says a lot about what kind of content designer you might be, too."

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Resources on how to become a content designer

That’s a lot of information to unpack, right? 

Now, if you're interested in pursuing a career in content design, here's a roundup of the best resources to help get started with (or switch to) content design:

Ready to level up your content design skills with Lyssna? 

Content designers help bridge the gap between the technical aspects of a product and the user experience, making sure that users feel valued, engaged, and empowered while using your product or service.

If you’re looking to polish your content design skills, Lyssna is your key to unlocking valuable insights through user research and analytics. Use it to create content that's user-centric, data-driven, and perfectly aligned with your audience's needs and expectations. 


Kai has been creating content for healthcare, design, and SaaS brands for over a decade. She also manages content (like a digital librarian of sorts). Hiking in nature, lap swimming, books, tea, and cats are some of her favorite things. Check out her digital nook or connect with her on LinkedIn.

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