How to Become A Good UX Writer
User Experience writing (UX writing) has gained traction in recent years.
A common misconception that I have discovered while researching is that many people assume UX writing is the same as copywriting.
In short, good UX writing empathizes with the users and tells them the story they are already expecting. There is a smooth flow throughout the user process and that the UX experience delivers the value that the users demand.
Content strategy, storytelling, writing-focused design, and product writing are some of the labels that define UX writing.
Based on my research around this emerging role and conversations with actual UX writers, I am glad where I have landed.
Read on to find out some tips to help you get started to become a UX writer and what it takes to be a good one. In this article, we also interviewed 4 UX Writers
- Alysa, UX Writer at Avast https://www.fiverr.com/alyyamada
- Lisa, freelance writer at https://www.fiverr.com/lisaclausing400
- Jay, freelance writer at https://www.fiverr.com/jaykasper
- Andrew, freelance writer at https://www.fiverr.com/andrewgc
First of all, what is good UX writing?
UX writing is writing content that meets product goals and facilitates delightful experiences for users while they use your product.
These include content that guides, educates, and explains to the users to complete their tasks at hand. Essentially, it is an intersection between Empathy, Words, and Strategy.
From interviews with UX writers and a deeper dive into my research, a UX writer is not a copywriter, although some of their job scopes do overlap.
Quoting from our interviews
- Lisa said that good UX writers are supposed to help users have a positive experience while using a product. They write the wireframing or prototyping copy
- Jay added that good UX writers must ensure a smooth flow throughout the process and make sure that the UX experience delivers the value that users demand
- Andrew shared that a good UX writer needs to be adaptable. Every project is different and has to be approached with an open mind. You can’t always stick to the “user experience” script – you need to be able to assess what’s needed and contribute where you can.
- Alysa summarized that UX writers are navigational guides that constantly keep customers' journeys in mind
“Words are free, it is how you use them that may cost you.” - J.Martin Reverend
Experiences on becoming a UX writer from Interviews
Before sharing the tips, we liked to share the actual journey of how one becomes a UX writer
- I am an Information Technology Graduate, working in the digital marketing/Content creation domain for the last 3 years. Initially, It was mostly website content, layouts, wireframes, etc but soon my passion for Customer Service/Experience.
- Customer Experience and Service overtook the formalities of my main role and I stepped into the world of UX. I was driven by a desire to produce the best possible UX in every environment. It was the satisfaction of the Human-Computer Interface and their efficient execution that kept me going.
- Secondly, empathy played a great role in my success in UX, to be able to feel what the user's feeling makes the actual difference.
- I am working for a major Artificial Intelligence/blockchain startup collaborating with Google, Facebook, and Amazon but I am not in a position to disclose the name.
- I started as a general copywriter and then transitioned into UX writing as I loved being able to simplify ideas and make them digestible for anyone. It’s a different style compared to copywriting and with UX writing, there’s no need for fluff.
- I didn’t study or major in literature or writing, but instead, I have a degree in Psychology and Criminal Justice. On top of this, I always loved writing. Although it’s not the ideal background on paper for my profession, I think my studies, especially the behavioral aspect of it play a part in UX writing. I’m able to easily empathize with users and write clearly in a way for the person “on the other side” to understand.
- I’d say that I’m most proud of my progression and all the projects I’ve had the opportunity to work on, which has shaped me to become the adaptable writer I am today.
- I have always loved writing copy that helps users understand how a product works without asking, "What do I do next?".
- I first started writing website content as far back as 2015, and from there on, I learned the art of writing microcopies for UX.
- My proudest UX writing project is one I wrote for a company that built an app that helps users book a ride from a friendly driver. Writing that microcopy helped me learn how to craft an experience that will improve the daily lives of the drivers and users.
- I originally studied English and Media and started off as a copywriter. I worked with many different brands, writing advertising copy and blogs, before discovering the field of user experience.
- I had always preferred a short-form copy, so when I discovered microcopy and UX writing, it was a natural progression of my interests. I completed an online UX research and design course and jumped into UX writing head-first.
- My favorite project was auditing and localizing a Fintech website and app that provided an AI investing service. I loved improving on the text and condensing complex concepts into a simpler copy that provided clear instructions and information.
Effective UX writing tips
- Users-First Approach
Having the users-first mindset, gain a deeper understanding of what motivates the users to use your product.
Jay advised focusing on the needs of your users or target audience.
Get in the shoes of the brand that you are writing for and for a moment, forget you are a UX writer and just try writing it as a first-time visitor.
- Be clear
The use of jargon should be avoided in UX writing. Plain language should be utilized in your writing so that it is universally understood and enhances comprehensibility.
Lisa shared that since UX writing isn't like copywriting, you would have to be more attentive when writing a microcopy. You need to see yourself as a user and craft copy that makes things easier for a user.
Testing your content for clarity could also help you to convey your intended message across.
- Be concise
According to Nielsen Norman Group, 79% of web users do not read, instead, they scan the web interface. As such, using crisp language that makes writing efficient and scannable reduces the challenge for them to complete their tasks. Cut your words so that it still conveys the same intended message even with fewer words.
- Be useful
Every micro-copy writing should be straightforward and intuitive to move the users forward effortlessly through the entire experience so that they could complete their task. Constructive UX writing could effectively inform the users of the steps and instructions.
Alysa recommends UX Writing Hub to get established with the basics and get familiar with UX design tools like Figma. You can also find a mentor who can give you feedback on your writing so that you can continuously improve.
Andrew also shared that working on practical projects, whether they’re made-up apps or real-world websites, is the best way to improve and cement your theoretical knowledge.
- Brand image
Keeping your brand image and business goals in mind, it is imperative to understand your product personality and be authentic. In UX writing, tone, and personality help to differentiate your product from your competitors.
Every writing on a page, from body copy to button labels, contributes to the tone of voice that you use to speak to your users. Your product’s personality could be established through the words in your interface.
Roles of a good UX writer
Research, writing, and collaboration are important roles for a UX writer.
The hardest part about being a UX writer is aligning with different teams and committing to your style guide, thus being responsible for every line of text within the product, participating and conducting user research during the design process is key.
Always ask for context when your team (designers or developers) request for content to be included in the interface as the micro-copy may convey an entirely different intended message.
To be good at writing is an understatement as a UX writer. Find common ground with your team by learning the basics of design and UX so that you can understand your team’s ideation process during the wireframing and early-stage prototyping and translate those processes into your writing. Defend your writing with data, objectives, and examples when a change is suggested.
It is important to work and collaborate with your team of designers and developers.
Alysa Yamada, a UX writer based in Prague, shared about how UX writers work closely with UX designers to create design flows and microcopy that make so much sense, users don’t have to think about how to navigate through the app.
To ensure your UX writing is relevant and good, conduct usability testing, or find a mentor who can give you feedback on your writing so that you can continuously improve, we also created a guide on creating your digital portfolio without any experiences to showcase your work in the future.
As we experience a deeper integration of technology in our lives, there will be a greater need for storytellers, and people who could intuitively anticipate when and what words are needed – great UX writers.
Efforts have been made to get the information as accurate and updated as possible. If you found any incorrect information with credible source, please send it via the contact us form
Andrea Tong is a final year business undergraduate at Singapore Management University. With a penchant for creative exploration and storytelling, she believes that creativity and empathy is vital for a brand's sustainability and to improve one's experiences.