The benefits of atomic design and CDL's course

This guest blog post is written by Laura Williams. She attended our online Foundation in Content Design course in Australia, delivered by Weave.

Last May I finally took my first step towards the goal of learning the discipline of content design.

Why I signed up

I was introduced to the world of content design fairly recently, after working on a project with a content specialist. The content work he did was so useful. He could communicate even the most complicated technical situation in a simple way to users. His content work steered the IA, the designs and the page templates.

For me, as a UX Researcher, content was always something that the client provided. I realised this was a big missing piece for me. When I heard about the content design course, I immediately grabbed my teammate and got the approval from our boss to sign up.

The 2-day experience

I attended the Foundation in Content Design course during the pandemic, quite near the beginning of lockdown in Melbourne. While I was disappointed about missing out on the free lunch, I was excited to see how the day would be run in this new era!

The class was a mix of theory and application. We worked on our individual blog articles throughout the 2 days, moving through the content design stages as you would in real-life.

We would switch between group lectures, individual writing and small group breakouts. I’d definitely recommend turning up to the class with a real life subject as you’ll get multiple eyes over your work and end up with a great piece of writing.

I loved the interactivity of the class, it worked well through Zoom. Everyone in my group was from different backgrounds and brought totally different subjects. My topic was ‘the benefits of Atomic Design’ and my group members were quick to ask ‘What in the devil is that?’. I had the same blank expression when they started telling me about fungus gnats, neem oil and basin plans. It meant that we all helped each other to write for a wider audience.

What I got out of it

The course was perfect as an introduction to the content design process. You certainly don’t need to be a good writer to write for the web. It’s about the simplicity of getting the right message across in the right way more than anything. The first time I did a writing piece outside of the course, I felt comfortable knowing what to do next - from doing user stories through to group critiquing!

As much as it was disappointing not being in the classroom, there was always breaks and time at the end of the days for discussions and networking. We got lots of face time with our teachers and feedback and suggestions on our progress. Plus we got a copy of Sarah Winters’ book in the post, which is fab as a reference point for what we learned.

After the course, I was excited to get started. I’ve since advised clients and assisted intranet authors through the process. I create page templates that encourage good content priority and handbooks to get them going.

I also shared my learnings with colleagues through a lunch and learn session! I left the course with a passion for content design and a flipped way of thinking about content, ready to make my mark!

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