Saturday, January 14, 2017

What Can You Learn from a UX Writer?

With all the talk about UX strategy, it's timely to ask, "What can you learn from a UX writer?

A lot, it turns out. 

UX writers are wordsmiths who, in the words of Google's HR department, "advocate for design and help shape product experiences by crafting copy that helps users complete the task at hand."

In simpler terms, they write product instructions.

UX writers preach a 5-point gospel:
  • Say it simply. "The words you use need to be as easy to understand as a green light," says UX writer Ben Barone-Nugent. Users won't pause to ponder complex sentences. You need to let them barrel through.

  • Say it economically. Brevity is simplicity's kissing cousin, and comes from omitting the obvious. "I happen to know that it's an actual fact that Procurement orders extra accessories the department doesn't need at least on a weekly basis" simply means "Procurement orders unneeded accessories every week."

  • Use graphics. "You want your users to be able to wield your product without even thinking," Barone-Nugent says. "This means you need to help them move beyond the words you write." The right graphics will do the trick.

  • Focus on impact. "Content doesn’t exist, only experiences do," Barone-Nugent says. Words and sentences aren't important. Instead of calling attention to themselves, they should "meld with your product and go unnoticed."

  • Test. Don't roll out writing without an advance review. Ask others to read your writing before you send it to the intended audience.
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