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Web Design Day 2015: Use Your Words


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Too often, we leave writing about our work to the "experts"—big, accomplished names with miles of publishing and speaking behind them. But being able to communicate verbally—even if you work visually—is important at every stage of your career, and can play a major role in moving that career forward. Lisa Maria Martin is a former designer and current strategist and editor at A List Apart, here to share why writing matters—to you, to your job, and to your industry.

Published in: Internet
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Web Design Day 2015: Use Your Words

  1. 1. Use Your Words: why you should write about your work Lisa Maria Martin | @redsesame Web Design Day | June 12, 2015 Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  2. 2. Hello, Pittsburgh. It’s nice to be back.
  3. 3. Writing makes you a better designer. It’s true! !
  4. 4. Design is thinking " made visual. Saul Bass
  5. 5. Writing is thinking on paper. William Zinsser
  6. 6. Writing leads to better thinking." Better thinking leads to " better design.
  7. 7. It helps you understand yourself. 1
  8. 8. I write because " I don’t know what I think " until I read what I say. Flannery O’Connor
  9. 9. Only by writing my thoughts and speaking publicly do I actually understand what I’m thinking; " only by sharing those verbalized thoughts with others can I begin to see their broader implications. Jeffrey Zeldman
  10. 10. It helps you in your career. 2
  11. 11. It examines all the “whys” of " the job, turning entrenched habits into intentional actions. It equips you with the communication skills to sell yourself and your work " to bosses and clients. Sally Kerrigan
  12. 12. By daring to…write, you will become better at selling your ideas to " tough clients, better at evangelizing methodologies or causes to your peers, better at thinking and therefore at doing, and better at those all-important " job interviews. Jeffrey Zeldman
  13. 13. It’s good for the rest of us, too. 3
  14. 14. When you write about your work, it makes all of us " smarter for the effort. Sally Kerrigan
  15. 15. It forces you to go beyond the " polite cocktail-party line you use " to describe what you do and " really think about the impact " your work has… Sally Kerrigan
  16. 16. …Done well, it means " you’re contributing signal, " instead of noise. Sally Kerrigan
  17. 17. So why aren’t you writing?
  18. 18. Writing comes from a place of not knowing—a place of exploration, seeking clarity, and wanting to communicate. Nicole Fenton
  19. 19. You don’t have to be perfect." You just have to start.
  20. 20. You can start small: •  Rationales for client work •  Post-mortems for colleagues •  Process descriptions for portfolios
  21. 21. Maybe go a little bigger: •  Case studies on your company blog •  Posts on your own blog •  Articles in (gasp!) publications
  22. 22. Some humble suggestions: •  The Pastry Box •  Boxes & Arrows •  Smashing Magazine •  UXmatters •  UX Magazine •  UX Movement •  A List Apart
  23. 23. This requires vulnerability. Sharing is terrifying, I know. Look at me. I’m on a stage. Please tell me you can’t see my hands shaking.
  24. 24. Put your words out there. I don’t know, I’m not the boss of words. But I think you should. I think you should do it.
  25. 25. “You have a role to play. " Please play it." Ben Callahan
  26. 26. Thank you. Now go write. Lisa Maria Martin @redsesame Web Design Day 2015