You might not see yourself as a natural writer, but having your own blog is a great way to learn valuable lessons about building websites which will make you a more rounded UX Designer.
It will help you understand content
It is increasingly important for User Experience Designers to understand content and consider it when creating their deliverables.
Writing a UX Blog will help you understand what constitutes good and useful content for your audience. You will be able to identify trends through the use of analytics as to what content performs well and why – taking into account factors like:
- Content Length
- Time of publishing
When writing content you will need to understand at least the basics of SEO – at least if you want anybody to visit your site! You will have to optimise for keywords, create strong titles and subheadings and make sure that when users click on your result in Google that they get what they expect.
It will help you understand social media
One of the key channels for gaining any traction on your blog is going to be through social media, be that Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or Google+.
Now you may think social media is easy, after all you are more than likely an avid user. However getting people to actually engage with and share your content through social media channels is another matter entirely.
Given that social media strategy is often a part of any new website, app or campaign based project it is very useful as a UX Designer to understand how to drive traffic through various social channels. You should be able to understand roughly where your visitors are coming from and design your content and pages accordingly.
If the vast majority are coming from LinkedIn it is likely that they may be more willing to read lengthier pieces of content. After all, if a user is on LinkedIn they are probably in ‘job mode’ and looking for materials that can help them do their job better. If a high proportion of your audience is coming from Twitter than they may be after shorter, more ‘shareable’ pieces of content such as infographics.
It helps you understand how websites are built
It is easy for us as UX Designers living in our mostly conceptual world to forget that at some point somebody has to actually build what we design.
If you don’t have a good grasp on how a website actually gets made then setting up your own self hosted WordPress blog will give you a crash course! You will become familiarised with the workings of a content management system (CMS), probably have to deal with web hosting and other tasks such as backing up your database. You might even have to get your hands dirty with some basic image editing or code.
Depending how many people are accessing your blog from mobile devices you may want to think about issues such as responsive design and multi channel – issues that your clients are no doubt coming to you with already.
Whilst not all of these elements directly affect the user experience’s you may be designing, understanding at least the basics of the rest of the build and design process means you are in a better position to communicate with your project team, and your clients.
Of course you don’t have to write about UX, you can write about anything you like. I’m also not suggesting you need to become a social media or content strategist expert. But experiencing these other disciplines first hand will help give you a solid appreciation of how they fit into the wider UX design process.