At the time of writing, Google has around 160 UX writers around the globe. Atlassian (the company behind JIRA, Confluence, and Trello) has 60-ish. Spotify hired a bunch recently. Booking.com too. Even Ryanair decided to improve their microcopy to make it easier to book tickets online.
Does this make you wonder if you should join the gang and get UX writing/content design support for your company, product, or project?
The short answer is that if you have a digital presence, UX writing can help you improve that presence. The long answer is that your exact need depends on several things:
- The size and scope of your digital presence
- The state of your content strategy, goals and KPIs
- The relevance of any UX research you have done
Let’s dig into the long answer and finish by addressing these questions:
- Who should do UX writing for you?
- How do you get started?
UX writing – an inspection of your digital content
First of all, it’s good to note that UX writing is not a luxury item for global corporations that hope to polish the words on the surface. Instead of seeing it as investing in a shiny Ferrari, think of it as your regular vehicle inspection to find out if your current car functions as it should and if it needs repairing.
What kind of car you drive doesn’t matter. The important thing is to make sure that you have a car that meets your and your passengers’ needs.
The size and scope of your digital presence
These days, it is definitely becoming more and more important to have a digital presence that resonates with people. And we all need words to guide visitors and customers through the user journey. In the whole wide web, there are no digital interfaces that don’t rely on words, and those words can make or break the user experience.
The idea of UX writing is to help the users navigate through an interface without friction. The good news for business owners is that even if the intention is to keep your customers happy, it has been shown over and over again that good UX comes with the positive side-effect of increased conversions.
UX writing pays attention to the form and function of the words in general and to microcopy – the small but crucial pieces of text found in CTAs and other buttons, error messages, contact forms – in particular. The nifty thing about focusing on these elements is that they usually move the user forward in the flow. In other words, these are the places where you really want the user to take action.
If your online presence is limited to a basic website with information about your services, your current need for UX writing will be minimal. Still, even a basic website has many aspects that affect user experience and conversions:
Is the contact form easy to find and to complete? Are you making the most of error states, for example the 404 page? Is the information clear and the language in line with your brand? As a minimum, it is a good idea to review the state of your website’s microcopy.
If on the other hand you work for a large corporation with multiple digital products, websites, and apps, you will probably focus your UX writing efforts on one or a few products at a time. Or hire a whole team of UX writers 🙂
The state of your content strategy, goals and KPIs
There are many articles about the close relationship between content strategy and UX writing. To make your UX writing efforts worthwhile, the writer needs context. Do you have a solid and up-to-date content strategy in place? What about goals and KPIs for the product/s the UX writer will work on? Recent web statistics will also come in handy.
In short, a strong why will make it much easier for a UX writer to make sure that your content copy suits your needs. If there is no strategy in place, this is where you need to start, and it’s a good idea to invite the UX writer to be part of that process.
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: UX writing is not just about filling in new words. On the contrary, the point is that writers should stop relying only on their own judgment – because no matter how skilled they are at writing, they need a deep understanding of the company, the product, and the users to do a good job.
UX research and style guides
UX writing research overlaps with UX design research, even if it takes a slightly different approach (paying extra attention to the words).
Perhaps you already have user surveys and interviews, personas, and a style guide and voice and tone. Any of these will be of great help to a new UX writer on the team. A UX writer may also suggest additional research specifically related to the language, for example conversation mining.
If your UX research and guides are a bit out of date, it’s a good idea to ask the UX writer to review them. And if you haven’t done any research yet, now would be a good time to start!
Who should do UX writing for you?
So if you want to get started with UX writing in your company, who is the best person to do it? Do you have to hire a new staff member? This also depends on your specific circumstances and the size of your digital content efforts.
In many companies, the text in the digital interfaces is created by a mix of copywriters, product managers, marketing specialists, designers, and developers. If you want to continue working this way, it is highly recommended to encourage your staff to learn more about UX writing – because the fact is that UX writing is different from copywriting, marketing, designing, and development. There are numerous courses, webinars, articles, groups, and forums out there that discuss UX writing from every possible perspective. If it’s hard to choose, we’ll take this opportunity to suggest our own UX writing essentials course.
Get started with free UX writing support
Companies can also get free UX writing help through our UX Writing Accelerator Program. Towards the end of our 5-month UX Writing Academy program, our students work on a real-life project.
This is a great way for the students to put the skills they have learned into practice, and a great way for you to get help with UX writing. It is perfect if you don’t know where to start or if your current UX writers have more work than they can handle.
These are a few things our students can do for you:
- UX research (surveys, user personas, conversation mining)
- Review/revise/create a style guide/voice & tone
- Rewrite copy based on the UX research and style guide
- Test new or existing copy on your website, app, or other digital product
Register your interest
Sound good? You can register your interest in our UX Writing Accelerator program by completing this little form: