Meet Grace: From Narrative Designer to UX Content Writer

Learn how Grace took her creative writing experience and made a full career switch into the field of UX writing and Content Design.

Team Designlab
Team Designlab
May 25, 2022
Min Read

Grace has always been data-driven and user-focused in her work, whether working as a content strategist and creative content writer in the publishing industry, or as a Narrative Designer at a video game studio. 

In these roles, she often worked closely with UX researchers and designers to ensure that her work was communicating most effectively with target demographics. Grace naturally then became interested in learning more about formal UX tools and processes, knowing that it would help make her a stronger writer and teammate, at the very least. 

But it wasn’t until she learned that Content Design and UX Writing were growing fields that she began to embrace the full potential of a career switch.

“I knew that Content Design and UX Writing were the perfect blend of my creative writing background and user-centered design interests,” Grace shares. 

A Layoff Leads to UX Academy

The big push behind a career switch came when the game studio that employed Grace cut several projects and laid off about a third of the staff—which included Grace’s entire team.

She pivoted to freelance narrative design work and chose to jump into UX Design with Designlab.

“I chose Designlab’s UX Academy primarily because of the one-to-one mentorship,” Grace notes. “It was so helpful to have that care and attention from a professional, plus all the supplementary guidance from Group Crit leaders.”

Grace soon discovered that she had an enormous wealth of knowledge at her fingertips, in the form of the Designlab community—from the mentors and facilitators to alums and career services.

“I was able to find resources to help me through any question I had, or any bump in the road I encountered.”

Support and Motivation Change the Trajectory of a Career

UX Academy is a robust and intense course of study that requires focus, motivation, and self-discipline. 

With a handful of unexpected COVID-related changes to her personal life during the summer of 2021, Grace was forced to take an extended pause from the program. Her progress slowed to a standstill, and she was marked as an inactive student. 

Disappointed, and assuming that she wouldn’t be able to finish the course, Grace reached out to the Designlab team. She was pleasantly surprised with the results.

“The team showed such support in my journey to join the course again and finish on a schedule that would work for my lifestyle after that unexpected hurdle. I’m so, so grateful for the support I received — it truly changed the trajectory of my career (and life)!”

A Unique Focus on UX Writing

“When I started researching Content Design and UX Writing more, I found that it’s a sub-specialty of UX Design, with talented designers from all sorts of career backgrounds — many of which looked a lot like mine,” Grace notes.

Realizing that she could build her elevator pitch around this, she dug into her resume and tweaked it to reflect the user-focused and data-driven work she had been doing for years. 

“My mentor noticed the same opportunities, and she encouraged me to apply for not just junior-level positions, but associate and higher because of my background and career growth,” Grace says. 

As Grace worked on her capstone projects, her mentor continued to encourage her to focus on the content and microcopy aspects, pulling resources from her own network to help guide the process. 

“My mentor also helped me create case studies from past jobs I held, which allowed me to flesh out my portfolio before even completing Phase 2 of UX Academy,” Grace shares.

The results were almost immediate.

“As soon as I added some buzzwords on my LinkedIn, companies — even big, daunting ones, like Amazon and Meta — started reaching out to me.”


The Interview Process for UX Writing

While she continued working on Phase 2 of UX Academy, Grace began applying to any Content Design or UX Writing position she could find.

“It really is an employee market right now,” Grace observes. “I got bite after bite.”

She started interview loops with about 9 different companies, and quickly learned from earlier interviews how to best perform in interviews with the companies she was most interested in.

“I don’t want to say that I used any interviews as practice, really, because I would have been honored to get any job,” Grace clarifies. “But it really proved how much practice does make perfect. Had I had more interview experience, I think I would’ve gotten an offer even sooner.”

Typically, the interview loops followed a similar cadence:

  1. A recruiter phone call, where we spoke about my experience, the role, and the interview process.
  2. Manager interview, which tended to be more behavioral/informal, but a few involved a deep-dive on one portfolio project.
  3. Take-home design exercise, to show how I’d approach a project.
  4. Final-round interviews, which began with an hour-long portfolio presentation to a panel and then consisted of anywhere between 4-7 one-on-one interviews.

In the end, Grace received three fabulous offers.

“One from a FAANG company, which was such an honor,” Grace shares.

In the end, she ended up choosing a startup called Coda, a rapidly growing company that offered a position where Grace would spearhead not only the UX copy, but also some of the longer-form writing, as well. 

In fact, throughout the interview process, the Coda team tailored the role to my talents, goals, and experience, and offered a salary that reflected it. 

“While the FAANG company would surely have been an amazing opportunity to learn from some of the industry’s best,” Grace says, “I’m excited to have a little more ownership. That choice totally comes down to every person’s preference! I accepted the offer primarily because of the visibility, growth, and responsibility I would have in the role.”

Girl rock climbing
Rock climbing in Zion National Park

Overcoming Challenges

Throughout her career shift, the biggest challenge for Grace came in the form of balancing work, life, and coursework. 

“Designlab does a great job of providing resources from the get-go of how to manage time, but sometimes life gets in the way for even the most prepared student! I was making great progress and excelling at the course, but when COVID hit my family, it threw a wrench in all my plans,” Grace shares.

“I thought I’d have to drop the course for good when things in my personal life shifted drastically. Designlab provided so much support and helped me to create a custom schedule to complete the course after I took my extended pause.”

In addition to the external support, Grace realized that she also had to find some internal motivation to jump back in. 

“That came from seeing all the great UX-related jobs and sub-specialties—those really excited me!”

Hiking near Mount Rainier in Washington

Advice for Aspiring UX Writers

1. Make connections.

“I was hesitant to reach out to other students or to speak openly with Group Crit facilitators at first. But when I started attending the same group crit every week, I began to feel more and more a part of a community: friendly faces, people who remembered details about my journey, a support system, etc. That helped me to stay motivated and keep my head above water when I felt like I was drowning in work!”

2. Find your narrative.

“Really spend time working on your elevator pitch and overall journey into UX. It’s a field with folks from all sorts of backgrounds, so figuring out what strengths you’re bringing to the table is invaluable! It might even lead you to a specialty or specific role, like me.”

3. Join other networks

“Once I knew I was interested in Content Design, I found Slack channels, support networks, and panelssummits specifically for Content DesignUX Writing. Just hearing about other people’s journeys can be really helpful!”

4. Advocate For Yourself

“Don’t be afraid to advocate for yourself, wait on the perfect role, or negotiate job details. The perfect job is out there, and it will pay you what you deserve! Be transparent about what you’re looking for.”

Connect with Grace on LinkedIn

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Launch a career in ux design with our top-rated program

Top Designers Use Data.

Gain confidence using product data to design better, justify design decisions, and win stakeholders. 6-week course for experienced UX designers.