2023 Award Winner

Writers: Web experience is your responsibility too.

Writers, the web is yours to shape | Edgar Allan

Writer, you might not know it, but the web is yours to shape.

No matter what you think about how you’re not a designer or not a developer.

No matter what track you were on in school or what’s on your business card.

If you write words for digital properties like websites, your work is at least half the experience, and therefore, the responsibility of making it a good experience is at least half yours too.

Content is design on the web. On good websites, anyway. And seeing it any other way is blind to how humans consume information, and deaf to the power of verbal storytelling.

In the past, it’s been easy to just stay in your lane, hasn’t it, writer. You’re handed boxes to fill and you fill them with words. You’re asked for a headline, and you write a headline. A caption, and yep…there’s a caption, coming right up. You might draw a wireframe in your mind (or on a sheet of note paper, like I often did before the rise of no-code tools) and share your vision with a UX person or digital designer, but it was always up to them to see that it was made real.

But you aren’t hiding behind Word anymore, writer.

Today – or tomorrow, promise me – you will be stepping into that Figma file or WebFlow build with the confidence of a master storyteller. You will march straight into that CMS missy (or mister), and get out your virtual red pen.

You’ve got thoughts on why we would need that eyebrow headline…or not. Your gut feelings on the way the site is leading users from one point to the next come from a deep understanding of audience; because you did the research. You’ve got a three-dimensional narrative map of how the story of this website is meant to unfold use case by use case, and you aren’t afraid to use it.

You are no filler of boxes, writer. You are a designer of content.  A collaborator with a keen sense of tone and the keys to unlocking the very best of the total user experience.

Don’t let a lack of collaboration make choices for you. Don’t let the fact that you’re sometimes not invited to the table early stop you from crashing the kickoff party anyway.

But most of all, don’t let the idea that you came here to write keep you from doing what you’re really here to do: communicate. Because that involves so much more than just sitting in your world of black type on a white document and imagining how your hard work will be used once it whooshes across the aisle to the “real” designers.

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