The term UX writer may be new to some of us but in the user experience field, it’s turning out to be quite common. With UX writing now being hailed as “design’s unicorn skill”, it is no longer a complementary skill. It has evolved into a popular job title in itself and is bound to keep growing. From Google to Facebook, every leading company has UX writers embedded in their teams.
With more companies on the verge of following the same path, it becomes important to understand what the term UX writing entails and why it has become so important.
What is UX writing?
UX writing is the art of crafting text that appears on the interface of various digital products such as mobile applications, websites, etc. It could be anything from the description about a feature on the tool or boxes you fill in or the buttons you tap when you’re using a software or an app.
While this is commonly referred to as writing copy in the traditional publishing world, UX writing is much more intuitive and thus helps guide the user through the interface. As the future world will need interactions to be written and designed when it comes to the likes of chatbots, virtual assistants, phone calls with robots, one thing is for sure – the future will be run on copy. With thousands of digital products popping up every second, the need for clear guidance is growing. That’s where UX writing will have a major role to play.
What does a UX writer do?
A UX writer has a big responsibility of delivering the messaging of a product from the inside out. For example, it could mean turning a robotic error message into something comprehensible for the end user. They are tasked with not only making things simple for the user but to give value to their users by crafting an experience that makes their lives simple and effective.
Here are some of the responsibilities a UX writer may have:
- Conducting user research to gain a deep and thorough understanding of the end user
- Creating a long term strategy for content
- Crafting copy within products and on flows and web experiences
- Creating content guidelines and style guides to follow across organization
- Understanding the key metrics and incorporating them in the overall content strategy
- Collaborating with different departments like legal, marketing, etc. to ensure that your strategy aligns with the company goals and you don’t run into legal trouble with your copy.
The skills necessary for a UX writer
The skills required for a UX writer may change from company to company but here are some of the basic skills that every UX writer must have:
- Understanding the nuances behind each word and being able to justify the reason behind each word in the final copy.
- Ability to create content in various formats. You might be asked to create long form web page content as well as microcopy (the text on buttons, menus, error messages and so on)
- Ability to research and understand the different user personas and the way they consume content.
- Ability to write with a UX component be it for product or crafting web experiences.
- Understanding data and how to gain insights from it and creating strategies based on that information.
The role of a UX writer in product teams
Have you ever noticed that there are some products that are just so easy to use and then there are products that make you want to abandon them after the first use? A UX writer can make a difference in designing the product by crafting content in such a manner that the interfaces are user-friendly and the drop-out rates are low. It becomes the responsibility of the UX writer to turn complex experiences into easy ones for the end user. Probably a reason why companies like Booking.com have a UX writer for every five or six designers.
Why has UX writing become so important?
As the number of apps and tools that we use start increasing, we try to seek out digital products that give us the most simple, natural and fluid experience. UX writing serves to fulfill that need by giving guidance in turning complex apps and websites easy-to-use. It helps users achieve their goals, navigate interfaces and as a result, retain them by creating experiences that don’t drive them away from your product.
It’s one role that is bound to grow in the coming years with almost everything going digital in this age.
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