George Kordatos UI/UX Designer at useberry

So, what is UX writing?

2 min read

Let’s make a guess.

You are here to learn more about UX writing, aren’t you?

Well, I promise you that after reading this article you will be at least 10% more informed about UX writing. 

Here’s a quick question for you: Are the above 3 sentences, the way I wrote them, part of UX writing?

Don’t worry if you are not sure how to answer. In about 3 min you will be able to answer correctly.

As you might have already realized, today’s post is about a very hot trend that is in constant growth, with more and more companies starting to recognize its importance: User experience writing or ‘UX writing’ in short.

Right now, there are 51,291 professionals “registered” as UX writers on LinkedIn and almost 4,000 open jobs on Indeed alone. Of course, since the whole UX industry has not reached its maturity yet, it’s basically companies like Google and Netflix that demand such laser-focused UX roles.

So, what’s UX writing?

Here’s a quick definition

UX writing is the practice of writing interactive copies before the actual touchpoints with your visitors, customers, users etc. occur so as to automate and enhance their whole experience.

Hmm, does this remind you of copywriting? Actually, yes it does.

The difference is that copywriting is more focused on sales and marketing while UX writing is focused on the UI and its optimal usability. Also, UX writing goes beyond the simple writing of text and demands the involvement of the UX writer with the design department.

Although UX writing is a relatively new term, it has been around for longer. You might remember Clooney’s movie “up in the air” where Natalie Keener, a smart new intern, who wanted to automate the whole layoff process of the company, found out that there were big obstacles (people’s emotions and unexpected actions).

So what qualities does a UX writer need to better address usability?

As it was mentioned above, UX writers work very closely with their design team so teamwork is a must. Another soft skill that you will need to possess if you are really interested in UX writing is empathy. Attention to detail and strategic thinking are also important for this role. For further prerequisites, you can also refer to available positions for this field found on LinkedIn or Indeed.

Okay, and what about the hard skills?

It should come as no surprise that the main thing that a UX writer will need to manage is text. The big challenge of a UX writer is to make a 2-pages story 4 or 5 words long. The following best practices will help you make the best out of your text:

  1. Less is more: Don’t write too much, write for UX.
  2. Be specific: Know what you want your users to do and lead them with clear commands
  3. Be creative: Use the right words (verbs, adverbs) to convey your message
  4. Be more creative: Think of trading some of your text with pics, gifs or emoticons (you need to be careful with that)

To find the optimal text, an aspirational UX writer will need to make a thorough UX research with their team. It is a human thing, to fall for bias and make quick assumptions.

UX research and user testing, are therefore critical to your work’s success.

Any Examples of UX writing?

Facebook’s conversational style with the user.

Upwork’s great onboarding strategy

In a nutshell, what does UX writing include?

CTAs, commands, navigation buttons, confirmation/error messages, privacy notes, 404, loading screen, etc.

Before I end this article, I would like to give you some more advice if you are just beginning your UX writing journey.

First, talk to the heart of your persona. To do that, you need to know who your persona is and how they want to be addressed.

Second, If you got a new position and they ask you to make only microcopies leave immediately. Not only you won’t grow that way but you will learn nothing.

Third, be data-driven.

Last but not least, before you write a line of text you first need to make sure you align it with the company’s culture, strategy, and mission.

More resources for you if you got some free time

Watch this amazing talk by Yvonne Gando

Or this cool video about UX writing for an app

Also, check these certifications you can take to expand your career on UX

  1. UX writers collective
  2. UX writing hub
  3. Daily UX writing

Conclusion

As the industry is becoming more and more digitized, more apps and robots and more SaaS companies will enter the market. UX writing is a crucial part of all these. As for the question in the beginning, if it has not become crystal clear by now: no it’s not.

Thanks for reading.

George Kordatos UI/UX Designer at useberry
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