March 2020

Content and Design: How Are They Related?

with Curator Ginny Redish

Join us as Ginny Redish, our March curator, explores the relationship between content and design.

As technical communicators, we tend to feel very comfortable talking about content. Content is everything we create that provides information to our audiences: words, images, videos, audio files, etc. – in all the channels we use.

But then what about design? We’ll start with definitions because “design” has many meanings. You’ve probably heard the new buzzwords, design thinking. What does that mean? Does it differ from user-centered design? What about information design, interaction design, graphic design?

I like to think of it as Big D and Little d. Big D = design as the overall process of creating the product that works for the organization and the audience. Little d = the principles and guidelines for each aspect of design (for example, the Gestalt principles for information design; the cognitive psychology guidelines for interaction design).

Over the four weeks of this Roundtable, we’ll discuss how both Big D and several types of Little d relate to content.

Listen to Ginny introduce the topic in this short podcast.

Curator Bio

Janice (Ginny) Redish

Ginny Redish has been a passionate evangelist for plain language and usability for her entire career.

Ginny began her work in technical communication as Project Director of a government-funded initiative called the Document Design Project. “Design” in that name was “Big D”: Creating the product that works for the people who need the information. But Ginny’s interdisciplinary team also dealt in all the aspects of “Little d”: how information design, interaction design, and graphic design have to work with content to make Big D succeed. That connection – how content and design are related – has been part of every project Ginny has done over the decades of her career.

Ginny’s most recent book, Letting Go of the Words – Writing Web Content that Works, includes information on content and design, how they have to work together – and how content specialists and design specialists also have to work together.

Ginny is an STC Fellow and recipient of both an STC President’s Award and the Ken Rainey Award for Excellence in Research. With Janice James, Ginny co-founded the STC SIG on Usability (now Usability and User Experience). Ginny has spoken at many STC conferences, chaired STC committees, and continues to serve on the Editorial Board of Technical Communication.

Twitter: @GinnyRedish
LinkedIn: Ginny Redish