In this series, I’ve been talking about why it’s not enough for user experience designers (or likely any designer) to just show their work work visually. People really want to understand how you think. They want to hear the reasoning behind your design decisions and your unique perspective on the world around you. A great way represent this is through writing.
A key concern that people have about writing is around how people will actually find their writing. If you’re just starting out, it’s hard to be heard. The thought of writing and not knowing if anyone will actually read it can be deflating before you even start.
And yes, the thought of having yet another website to promote can seem like a lot of work. The good news is that there are plenty of places to write where an audience already exists — ensuring that you can focus more on writing and sharing your ideas beyond just tweet length updates.
So, here are some of my favorite places to write these days:
First, Medium has amazing Collections that you assign your post to. Collections are great because they help jumpstart ideas, so you can never, ever use the excuse of “I don’t know what to write about” again!
Second, Medium has a built in audience. When I write on Medium, I never wonder if people will read my post because there’s a really engaged audience. Also, Medium has a really awesome group of editors who are constantly on the lookout for interesting posts and also assigning posts to appropriate collections. You’ll also find that it’s quite social as people can recommend your posts and also add notes at the paragraph level rather than on the post as a whole.
If the thought of long-form writing seems daunting to you, then join a conversation on Branch. According to a statement on Branch’s website, their mission is to “turn monologues into dialogues”. On Branch, the focus isn’t on writing long posts, but instead, posting a question, statement, or opinion that initiates a conversation with like-minded people. One example is this conversation about UX Designer vs UX Architect. So if you’re not ready to write long posts or you still feel like you don’t know what to write about, then at a minimum, go join a discussion on branch because I’m sure you’ve got an opinion on something! (For the record, I’m not active on Branch right now, just haven’t made time to check it out in detail.)
Set up your own blog
If you want to set up your own place on the Internet to write, then I’d suggest setting up your own website or blog on a platform such as WordPress, Tumblr, or Squarespace. I personally use WordPress, but have heard many great, great things about the others from friends who use Tumblr and Squarespace. The best piece of advice I can give is to not fall into the temptation to perfect the design and make it pretty because you are your own worst client! You’ll be too hard on yourself and you’ll end up wasting valuable time trying to perfect your blog layout and design. Don’t make it complicated! Just start off having your site be a blog. You’ll thank yourself later.
That’s it! By now, you should be out of excuses for why you haven’t taken a few baby steps to becoming a writer and embracing the value that writing can have for you as a designer of any kind!
If you still have questions, please let me know in the comments below now!
Or, if you’ve finally taken steps to writing more, tell me about it or even leave me a link to your blog or post, I’d love to check it out!
* This is the first post in a 3 part series on why designers must also be writers, not just to supplement their portfolios, but to ultimately make them better designers.
Part 3 – Where to write if you don’t have an audience