Elly Searle is a fierce advocate for UX writing.
Like any UX professional, her advocacy starts with the end users of the products she works on.
But Elly is probably best known for her work advocating for pay equity for her content teams. Thanks to her efforts, Elly's writers are treated the same as their design, research, and engineering counterparts.
Elly and I talked about:
her work at CrowdStrike as the head of content strategy for a fully distributed team
how her remote workers collaborate, and their recent switch from Sketch to Figma
her journey from tech support to technical writing to technical communications to UX
her good fortune in landing at Microsoft just as they were taking more of an interest in conversational design
how working at Nordstrom showed that a low bar to exit in retail makes UX writing a high-stakes practice
how listening to the trusted sales people at Nordstrom informed UX writing practice there
her fierce advocacy for end users, and for internal users
and her equally fierce advocacy for UX writers
how she quantified the results of her work at Nordstrom and thereby got her UX writers paid at the same level as engineers
how the use of plain language helps front-line designers communicate better with non-technical stakeholders and improved training programs
the importance of being mindful of which words you put in front of folks who will then use those words in conversations with end users
the UX writing course that she and Torrey Podmajersky created at Seattle's School of Visual Concepts
the growth of the field of UX writing
the difference between voice design and conversational design
her desire to see more UX-writing attention paid to enterprise clients, not solely the ultimate end users
Elly Searle has done a bit of everything in the user experience world: broad-reaching consumer products with Windows, customer-centric retail at Nordstrom, and technical apps for enterprise audiences in cybersecurity. She received her Masters from University of Washington Human-Centered Design & Engineering program, and founded the tech writing and UX writing teams at CrowdStrike. Elly co-created the UX Writing Fundamentals curriculum for Seattle’s School of Visual Concepts. She’s a fierce advocate of treating writing, design, research, and engineering as equals, in product development and career growth.
Here’s the video version of our conversation:
Podcast Intro Transcript
If you're working in content strategy or UX writing and making a good salary, you may owe Elly Searle a note of thanks. Elly is a fierce advocate for equal pay for content folks who work on product and enterprise teams. At companies like Nordstrom and CrowdStrike, she has shown the value of her teams' work and aligned their pay with the technical and design talent they work alongside. Elly is also a content-strategy educator and a thoughtful advocate for plain language. We had a fun conversation. I hope you enjoy it, too.
Hi everyone. Welcome to episode number 64 of the Content Strategy Insights podcast. I'm really happy today to have with us Elly Searle. Elly is the Head of Content Strategy at CrowdStrike and Elly tell the folks, because CrowdStrike isn't a household name like some of the companies I've had on, but tell us a little bit about CrowdStrike and what you do there.
Sure. CrowdStrike, we are called an endpoint security company, so if you're familiar with like McAfee or Norton or something like that, it runs on servers and laptops and is looking for intrusions, it's looking for software that shouldn't be running there,