2020 Writers Symposium

The 2020 Intuit Writers Symposium brought together 90 writers, designers, and content creators from around Intuit to discuss a variety of topics, from diversity and inclusion to data privacy.

Session recordings are on this page. Some talks contain proprietary info, so the links work for Intuit employees only. We hope to make it more widely available next time.


Monday 9/28

The next big step for help: Building a unified platform that helps customers and content creators succeed

TurboTax and QuickBooks have different goals (taxes and accounting), are separated by geography (southern and northern CA), and have different org structures (OK, we can call them silos). Despite these differences, Intuit is reinventing how they create and deliver help content by bringing technology, teams, and processes together.


About the speaker

James West’s career spans a decade at Apple in help content design, plus a crusade in conversational UI design at Microsoft AI. For the past two years, he’s led SBSEG’s global content transformation and standardization efforts for QuickBooks help. His trainings and and standards have been delivered and adopted by writers delivering help content for Intuit in markets around the world.


Q&A with Marlise Kast-Myers, travel writer for Fodor’s

As a journalist and author, Marlise Kast-Myers has contributed to over 50 online and print publications including Forbes, Surfer, San Diego Magazine, and Union Tribune. Her passion for traveling has taken her to 85 countries and led her to establish short-term residency in Switzerland, Dominican Republic, Spain, and Costa Rica. Marlise has co-authored over 20 Fodor’s Guides. She’s been a photojournalist for Surf Guide to Costa Rica and authored Day Hikes and Overnights on the Pacific Crest Trail.


About the speaker

Based in San Diego County, Marlise Kast-Myers lives at the Betty Crocker Estate with her husband Benjamin, where the two run their antique business, Brick n Barn. She is currently working on her next full-length manuscript while providing copywriting and marketing services for various clients.


Tuesday 9/29

Diversity and inclusion in content design

Diversity and inclusion can be a big, scary topic, but it doesn’t have to be. Starting a dialogue is the first step. Christianna will give a brief overview of the importance of diversity in increasing customer empathy in order to create a more inclusive user experience. She’ll pull examples from Google’s inclusive language guidelines, Microsoft’s inclusive design methodology, and Lyft’s community partnerships to show how we, as writers, can proactively build better, more inclusive products.


About the speaker

Christianna Gunn is the content lead on QuickBooks Online Advanced. She’s an unapologetic fan of Wings (the TV show, the band, and the food), a silent film buff, and two-time stand-up comedy attempter.


Legal + content

What does it look like to have a great partnership with legal? Learn best practices for balancing compliance and content design, productive reviews with your partners, and the best tools to get the job done.


About the speakers

Angela Browne is on the Brand and Marketing design team working on web experiences. She’s a “big ideas” kinda gal and collaborating with others brings her joy.  In her spare time, you can find her reading, watching House Hunters, or eating a donut.

Marissa Blasing is on the Legal Transactions & Marketing team and supports various segments in SBSEG. She enjoys partnering with the business to unlock key opportunities and collaborate as one team. At home, she’s either tending to her succulent garden or riding her Peloton.


Finding a seat at the table (panel)

Sometimes content designers have to work harder than their design partners to get a seat at the table. Let’s discuss what this means at Intuit, what experiences content designers have faced, and how they influenced their teams. 

Join this panel discussion hosted by Urmi Rahman to learn how to:

  • Find your seat
  • Make your own table and invite your teammates to it

Panelists

Aladrian Goods, Content Designer – Intuit Accountants
Patricia Dwyer, Senior Content Designer – Intuit Identity Platform
Carrie Deakin, Principal Content Designer – QuickBooks Accounting Automation
Leslie Matias, Senior Manager, Content Experience – CG Customer Success

Urmi works on QuickBooks Online Advanced. When she’s not around all the boys in her house, she loves hanging with cousins and friends. During the pandemic, she’s been addicted to tea, starting books (and terrible at finishing them), and binge-watching Netflix. 


Outside Voice writing challenge

Our Outside Voice challenge this year was to write a short inspirational quote that would fit on a marquee board. Tougher than you think! Browse the quotes—you just might find something that gives you a boost.


Wednesday 9/30

How I started acting like a designer (and not just the “words guy”)

Does it feel like everyone has something to say about the words, but you don’t have the right to talk about the design? It’s time to brush down your content design feathers and stand tall. We’re making the product too, and it’s okay to have a voice.


About the speaker

British by birth, but Irish in blood, now into his third career (after journalism and advertising)…Joe Heaney is still wondering who he is. But beyond the existential angst, there are some things he does know: the world would be lost without pancakes or RuPaul.


With content we trust

Trust is the foundation of all relationships. But it’s hard won and easily lost. Learn about the psychology of trust and how to build it with our customers through—you guessed it—content design. We’ll talk about: 

  • Cognitive strain and how it affects credibility 
  • Ways to use content and imagery responsibly
  • What “design for delight” means for building credibility
  • How to make users believe your company/product/site has good intentions

About the speaker

Sarah Mohs works on the small but mighty SBSEG content strategy & systems team. Things she loves: Semantics and language structure, psychology, roller skating, after-dinner walks, royal history, Nigerian disco, PBS Masterpiece costume dramas, and taking too many pictures of her cat, Niles.


Writing Is Designing Q&A with authors Michael J. Metts and Andy Welfle

Without words, apps would be an unusable jumble of shapes and icons, while voice interfaces and chatbots wouldn’t even exist. Words make software human-centered, and require just as much thought as the branding and code. Writing Is Designing shows you how to give your users clarity, test your words, and collaborate with your team. You’ll see that writing is designing.


About the authors

Michael J. Metts helps teams build great products and services by putting people first. With a background in journalism, he frequently finds himself talking about the role words play in designing useful, usable experiences. He has given talks and taught workshops on the topic at industry conferences around the world. He lives with his wife, two children, and a very small dog just outside Chicago.

When Andy Welfle was eight, he wanted to be a poet and a paleontologist. Twenty-seven years later, he is neither, but he uses those skills in his day job as a content strategist on Adobe’s product design team — writing under huge constraints, and uncovering artifacts from big, old software interfaces. When he’s not working, he’s creating podcasts and zines about one of his favorite topics: wooden pencils. Find him in San Francisco with his wife and two large cats, or online at andy.wtf.


Thursday 10/1

UX writing and hip-hop: A love story

Discover the similarities between our craft and seemingly unrelated forms of writing. In this Lavacon talk, Mike will explain a specific characteristic of UX writing and show an example of the characteristic that currently exists in a well-known brand’s content. Then he’ll show a hip-hop video that illustrates the characteristic and connect the dots.


About the speaker

Mike is the content design lead for Mint. His favorite thing in the world is spending time with his wife, daughter, and three dogs. Also, he loves music, basketball, sneakers, Korean food, boba, TV, and movies.


So, about your data: Building trust with your users while discussing what you do with their data

Privacy is a scorchingly hot topic with user experiences that are usually written by lawyers. Patricia traces the design journey of Intuit’s new online privacy and security center, launched January 1, 2020. A content designer (of all people!) was at the helm of the project, proving we can solve customer problems while also not getting sued. From leading research to seriously bonding with corporate counsel, content design drove the company’s conversation on how we talk to our users about what we do with their data.


About the speaker

Patricia is the content design lead for Intuit Identity Platform. She designs Intuit-wide experiences for account, data, privacy, security and other random corners of the ecosystem. When she’s not nerding out on voice and tone flexes and content systemization, she’s definitely in the ocean or riding her bicycle.