Recent role: content design at Meta

* The internal nature of this role requires a high level of discretion. Work here has been presented in a way to maintain the company’s privacy.

Shopify logo and word mark.

Reclaiming lost ad revenue and employee time

Troubleshooting content is important at Meta because it identifies and solves problems that block advertising spend—which is 97% of the company’s revenue.

That content was in rough shape, and so was the software that delivered it.

That’s why it needed a content redesign so badly. The existing content was:

  • Incomplete
  • Obscured by jargon
  • Inconsistent
  • Filled with code references

And almost all company documentation was long out of date, if it existed at all.

I had my work cut out for me.

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First, I made sense of the terminology, piecing together things like the ad account hierarchy and the most common problems occurring at each level within it. With that framework in place, I dove into each individual technical issue, connecting engineering terms and concepts as I learned the back-end process of Meta’s ad platform.

I chased down every Wiki page, product specialist, and engineer I could find to stitch that knowledge together. I vetted it all rigorously through 1:1 working sessions and panel reviews.

These pieces of content looked unassuming at a glance, but these were seen tens of thousands of times per month. Even just one improvement could lead to hundreds of hours saved and hundreds of thousands in unlocked revenue in a given month.

That made every step worth the effort.

Andrew – I really appreciate how you’ve driven the workstream with excellent attention to detail, taking proactive initiative on all fronts such as being diligent about independently finding and leveraging existing answers by scouring various resources, and identifying and building relationships with cross-functional subject matter experts to obtain their ad hoc feedback, review, and/or answers. Looking forward to seeing how much unblocked revenue this initiative will yield.

Robert Yeh

Product Manager, Diagnostics Products, Meta

Excavating 250 lost content strings

“I think the knowledge has left the building.”
– An engineer on this project

This internal tool served up critical account and permission status messages, but stewardship had changed many hands over 10 years, resulting in no definition or source for most of those messages. Even the engineers didn’t know what they meant.

They tapped me on the shoulder to make sense of 250 of these content strings.

As it turned out, they needed a bit more than that.

What they also needed was a model to classify, rank, and understand the connections between concepts, not just one-off definitions in plain language.

Additionally, nobody knew how many content strings their tool could actually produce. I used an internal logging tool to list as many of them as I could, ordered by frequency and recency (it maxed out at 250).

I sorted those 250 content strings into categories based on their corresponding business-related entities in Meta’s tech stack, highlighting the relationship between those entities for a suitable content format.

I turned this into a living document that anyone on the product team could maintain, even if I moved on to another project.

Most internal documentation was either missing or outdated by many years, so I had to find people who still held that institutional knowledge.

Although many of them had left over the years, I tracked down a large number of them to create a centralized hub that tied each content string into to a subject matter expert, an emergency response team, a a collection of contextual notes, and, of course, a new definition in plain language that at all 10,000+ monthly users of this tool could understand.

Content governance that saved a product launch

Metric accuracy has been a priority for Meta since 2018. That’s why content designers review new or altered metrics for consistency, accuracy, and even basic legal liability (alongside a legal team).

Engineers and data scientists have a tendency to rename everything under the sun, which makes it difficult to unify an a tech enterprise through common language.

That’s why I was tapped on the shoulder to conduct a quick, routine metric review. It became one of recurring responsibilities at Meta.

The data science team already wrote its metric names and definitions, so it just wanted a quick sign-off before the legal review 48 hours later.

There was just one problem: 28 metrics had no grounding in past language, and they weren’t clear for non-technical users.. That created confusion and potential legal liability.

Yet I still had them prepped in time for the formal metric review. Here’s what I did:

1) I contacted a regular metric reviewer, who pointed me toward an underknown metric glossary.

2) I found the “closest living relatives” of the new metrics being proposed.

3) I synthesized the meaning of the proposed metrics with the language and style of the pre-existing “closest living relatives” from the glossary, creating a set of 28 new metric names and definitions.

Upon finishing, I tapped that regular metric reviewer on the shoulder for a second opinion. It was right on the money.

You’ve done pretty much a perfect job here.

Sara Falleroni

Content Designer, Meta

This saved the data science team from a review rejection that could have delayed their launch date by 5 weeks. It also protected the company from legal liability rooted in inaccurate metric definitions.

Enabling a department-wide redesign effort

Meta wanted to increase advertiser product adoption by updating its Ads product with smart suggestions as well as by streamlining the sales pillar’s internal tools.

The snag? Almost no one knew how sales operated.

In this redesign effort, three or four content designers worked on adding sales-oriented features to Meta’s advertising platform, but there was no content designer covering redesign efforts for the sales department’s internal software.

Cue yours truly.

I scoured every piece of documentation I could find, then interviewed salespeople to record their key concepts, frameworks, and terminology. This let me uncover a missing layer in in multiple design teams’ mental models.

That let us course-correct early designs to accommodate sales teams who managed the largest single portion of ad spend across the billion-dollar company. Whew.

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Those findings also showed me that early-stage concepts to streamline sales activity lacked something crucial: visible data points that would show salespeople how to prioritize and execute high-value actions.

Without them, salespeople wouldn’t have enough context to act decisively, let alone understand the nature of whatever urgent problem or opportunity the new products put in front of them. 

That’s why I built out a list of meta data according to what salespeople needed to know in their own workflows, not just engineers and executives thought was best.

Researching sales, establishing a clear record of terminology, and imbuing those findings into a lean content system for sales all helped to empower multiple teams to build something that salespeople needed to hit their goals… not just another “get it out quick” effort.

Other contributions

U

100-item content audit

In my first week I created a content audit template out of the 9 standardized principles of Meta’s content design practice, then audited an internal tool that produced 100+ improvement items.

DIY content design resources

My teams hadn’t worked with a content designer for more than 3 months before I arrived, and I couldn’t be everywhere at once. That’s why I made a set of DIY content resources to help people unlock my thought process and my emphasis on language.

Ongoing UX writing support

As the only content designer for 500 people, I leaned in on a lot of smaller projects to provide ad hoc UX writing support. This spanned 6 diagnostics tools and one huge internal sales platform, as well as inter-disciplinary sessions with engineers and data scientists.

The project results (so far)

I joined a team at Meta that keenly felt the organizational hangover of “moving fast and breaking things” for nearly 20 years. Documentation was absent or outdated, and employees with institutional knowledge had long since moved to new roles or new companies.

I started adding value by deep-diving on certain projects that unlocked additional advertising revenue, but being the sole content designer for 500 people meant I needed to scale some of my efforts beyond solo projects, too.

That’s why I found success in forming a common set of concepts and frameworks across multiple teams. Creating connective tissue between teams gave them reference points and common vernacular to build something coherent.

And that is how I turned content design into a tide that raised all ships. With that in mind, here’s the tally for this project so far:

    • Empowered 500 coworkers to work more efficiently with DIY content design templates.
    • Reclaimed millions in advertising revenue through better technical support content.
    • Translated 250 content strings into plain language for the whole company.
    • Prevented legal liability and PR embarrassments with diligent metric reviews.
    • Saved hundreds of engineering hours per year with better bug reporting.
    • Dozens of smaller projects improved with UX writing.
    • Led qualitative research that empowered multiple design teams at once.

Check out my other projects

Click on a project to learn more about it.

Meta

Meta recruited me as a content designer to improve the internal tools that power sales and support operations for tens of thousands of employees pushing advertising solutions every month.

Shopify logo and word mark.

Shopify

I joined Shopify as a content designer to promote its logistics and fulfillment service. I worked with product UX and marketing teams to create a cohesive experience experience across the app and everything related to it.

Employed Historian

Liberal arts grads are diving into job markets for which their education never prepared them. I'm creating the roadmap and resources I wish I'd had to build my early career.

aha insurance

Canada’s insurance industry leaves a lot to be desired, so I joined up to give it a kick in the pants. My responsibilities included content and SEO strategist, editor, copywriter, web analyst, UX writer, and ad writer.

Webb Content

Webb Content is my freelance brand for UX content design, content strategy, and SEO-informed content marketing strategy.

Honeypot Marketing

I joined in the middle of a Black Friday sale that generated $70,000 for one client, then continued to grow into the team's Content Marketing Manager.

Food for thought

How I became a content designer (or UX writer)

How I became a content designer (or UX writer)

I never thought of myself as any kind of designer. If you’d asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would have said “video game journalist.” With a background in history I never expected to work in the tech industry, either. Yet now I’ve worked for two...

What is a UX content strategist?

What is a UX content strategist?

A “UX content strategist,” more commonly called a “staff content designer,” is a fairly new user experience role, evolving alongside UX writing as a major component of the content design discipline. It can be a role on its own, but most commonly it just represents a...

Content design vs. content strategy: know the difference

Content design vs. content strategy: know the difference

Trying to understand content design vs. content strategy after a confusing look through job boards? Good news: I've done both, so I can tell you the key differences between them. Companies often interchange and merge these two phrases, but they are different. You only...

How I became a content designer (or UX writer)

How I became a content designer (or UX writer)

I never thought of myself as any kind of designer. If you’d asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would have said “video game journalist.” With a background in history I never expected to work in the tech industry, either. Yet now I’ve worked for two...

What is a UX content strategist?

What is a UX content strategist?

A “UX content strategist,” more commonly called a “staff content designer,” is a fairly new user experience role, evolving alongside UX writing as a major component of the content design discipline. It can be a role on its own, but most commonly it just represents a...

Content design vs. content strategy: know the difference

Content design vs. content strategy: know the difference

Trying to understand content design vs. content strategy after a confusing look through job boards? Good news: I've done both, so I can tell you the key differences between them. Companies often interchange and merge these two phrases, but they are different. You only...

What is a content designer?

What is a content designer?

Most people I speak with don’t understand what content designers actually are, and it’s no surprise. “Content” has become synonymous with the digital marketing industry, and “design” has become a ubiquitous term for visual work. I was guilty of it, too. I would refer...

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