A Story of Designer - Content Creator Collaboration
there was a village of magically gifted designers and content creators. One day, the designers and content creators angered the Evil Stakeholder who ruled the land. In his displeasure, he cursed the village, causing them to speak two different languages. Hundreds of years passed. Then one day, a wise old Crone rode into town in a wagon filled with strange and wondrous items. With spells and teachings, she lifted the curse and helped reconcile the designers and content creators once and for all.
Speak the same creative language. Often, designers don’t take the time to understand the way content people think and solve problems. Conversely, content creators need to understand the design process and how designers think about enhancing a story through experience.
Every successful collaboration started with a process in place. In order to streamline communication, make sure you’re on the same page from the start.
After speaking with the designers and content creators, the Crone learned about the long-standing communication barrier between the two groups. In the days that followed, she helped them remember how to speak in each other's language.
Could you be a wicked witch in disguise? Without trust, it’s unlikely that people will ask for feedback, give honest feedback, or take your feedback seriously. Build up trust by getting to know each other, both at work and outside of work.
Designers and content creators must know they’re working together to tell a story. Designers should never feel afraid to comment on copy and content creators shouldn’t be scared to comment on the design.
Designers and content creators need to work together to define the goals of the project at the start of the journey.
Proactive communication is key. Request feedback, ask to be included in meetings, and share your work often. You won’t be invited on a quest unless people know you’re willing to go.
The right tools make it easy for designers and content creators to communicate quickly, even if they’re far from the village. It should never be a struggle to find assets, get feedback, or access your user journeys.
Content creators should go to designers with ideas instead of orders so that the designer can do what they do best: tell a story visually.
Over many moons, the designers and content creators began to follow a new process and improve their communication. Sir Simon, a designer, and Lady Kristin, a content creator, decided to take their new-found skills and journey to the Kingdom of Coveted Content.
Lady Kristin leading the way with a powerful message. As they went, Sir Simon helped to shape the story, guiding the path that would lead to understanding. Soon, they realized what a hundred years of separation had hidden: They needed one another to succeed on their quest.
The shoe has to fit. The right copy needs the right design. Each should enrich the other until they’re parts of a greater whole instead of two separate elements.
The story always comes first. Before you start a design, you have to know what you’re saying. Design is communication.
Spend time together working through the content and design. It takes more than one meeting to arrive at the best concept and approach.
Don’t guess your way through the woods—that’s a sure way to get lost. Ask questions and seek answers until you fully understand not just what you’re working on, but why you’re working on it.
The people you work with may have secret hidden powers. You’ll never know what those are until you invite them to collaborate. Designers may have a knack for wordplay that can take the copy to a new level, while content creators may have design ideas that could improve the overall experience.
But after a while, the path became harder to see. They entered a dark forest, where the footing was treacherous. And then, just when they had almost made their way to the safety of a clear narrative, the evil Beast of Writersblock came out and attacked Lady Kristin!
Don’t be afraid to ask for help. And don’t wait until you’re already in trouble! Anticipating issues and looking for solutions before they turn into serious problems will wind up saving you time and embarrassment.
Surprises can pop up at any time, and they can cause you to veer way off path. You can help keep surprises at bay by creating a style guide, creative brief, and project goals and referencing them often.
“Back, you foul beast!” he yelled. “I order you to retreat in the name of collaboration!” In the bright light of his ideas, the beast let out an angry roar and ran off with its tail between its legs.
They could now see the Kingdom on the horizon! “Let’s keep collaborating until we arrive,” she said to Simon as they walked through the hills. “Together, we’ll be stronger than we are apart.”
Let collaboration light your way. When you feel like you’ve hit a wall, stop to regroup. Then move forward.
There may be a few times where you come to a fork in the road and it’s impossible to tell which way to go. Be open to disagreements and be willing to compromise, but if you truly cannot find your way, seek input from an outsider who has a different vantage point.
Stop and check the map often. It’s much more efficient than having to double back because you wound up at the wrong destination. Designers and content creators should check in with each other daily to see what’s done, what needs work, and if there’s anything blocking the way.
Once you’ve set the project goals and discussed specifics, work your magic alone so you can achieve your best results.
Designers and content creators need to know their roles, what’s expected of them, and when things should be delivered. Share calendars, utilize project management tools, and speak up if it’s taking longer than you thought to let down your hair.
“Never fear, Lady Kristin—I know just what to do!” said Sir Simon. He began to work his magic, using spells to turn lifeless pixels into a beautiful, sound bridge over the waters below. Hand in hand, they put the finishing touches on it, then walked across to the castle on the other side.
On the throne sat the Crone, smiling from ear to ear. “Congratulations,” she said. “The Kingdom of Coveted Content is now yours.” Soon after, the rest of Sir Simon and Lady Kristin’s village came to join them, and they all lived happily ever after.
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