Rachel Costas 


Design exists so people can get and use content.


My job is to make that process as meaningful and effortless as possible for users.

I’m a Brooklyn-based UX designer and digital content strategist. My tendency to question the obvious helps me find new ways to solve old problems. I love simplicity, loathe monotony and work best listening to the hum of a lawnmower cutting grass.

In May 2021, I graduated from NYU's Tisch School of the Arts with a master's degree in Interactive Telecommunications. At NYU, I studied creative uses for communications technologies with a focus on information design and behavioral science.

Currently, I work as a Product Designer at TED.


Design principles I stand by

Deliver the content your audience needs in a way that’s easy for humans to find and understand.

I believe the key to successful UX and content strategy is understanding your users and the subconscious psychological mechanisms that drive human behavior and decision making.

When you don’t know what’s meaningful to your users, it’s easy to say too little, too much, or the wrong thing.

The better you understand what your users care about and why, the better you can connect with with them.


When everything’s important nothing’s important.

What you don’t publish is just as important as what you do publish.


Don’t confuse polish for value.

Words are a design material. Choices of verbs, words, phrases, and tone are design choices.


More data does not mean more understanding.

Successful design research is about asking the right questions in the right way. The better the questions, the richer the responses (just like a first date). But, it’s hard to remain neutral while establishing the rapport necessary to elicit honest, robust information. My approach to user research is informed by my background in journalism and borrows interviewing techniques therapists use in clinical assessment.  


Use plain language.

It’s not ‘dumbing down’. It’s writing so busy people understand what you’re saying the first time they read it.


Never ‘validate the design’

In usability testing, using this phrase sets the expectation that your goal is to be proven right, not to learn.

Approach web content like the flow of a conversation.

Scaffold content to deliver the information users need, in the order they need it. Don’t hog the conversation. Take turns.


Lorem ipsum must die.

Design exists so people can get and use content. Yet, content is often an afterthought in the product design process. There’s a lot of focus on features and tools, but not enough focus on the content they deliver. Break up with lorem ipsum. Removing the injection of filler text trains designers not to rush into design before getting a handle on the content.