How Do You Close the Gap Between Content and Design? Ask a UX Writer.
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In the last few years, a new breed of writer has emerged: the UX writer. A quick Google search of “UX writer jobs” will bring up over 42 million results from companies that include Spotify, Netflix and Uber. But what can this hybrid writer bring to your team?
As a business owner or marketing manager, it is important to understand this new and evolving role, identify what makes a good UX writer and understand how UX writing will bring value to your content strategy. This article will discuss what responsibilities a UX writer typically has, as well as essential skills and qualities.
A UX Writer Masters Copy Writing
The words “writer” and “copy” generally go hand in hand. The copy writer’s goal is, and always has been, to persuade and sell. When writing about a company’s service and expertise, a copy writer may write: We are truly a blend of creative and technology. It’s in our DNA.
The UX writer’s goal is to create positive user experiences, help them use your product with ease and complete tasks related to a digital experience. When writing copy for a button, a UX writer may write: Explore our work.
It’s the UX writer’s job to:
1. Create copy that is clear, concise, user-friendly and on-brand.
2. Use varying formats (from microcopy to long-form articles).
3. Translate copy from “business-centric” to “plain” language.
4. Write for voice optimization using natural language and work within accessibility guidelines.
5. Ensure the user experience is seamless (integrating copy across channels and throughout the
6. Take a data-driven approach to writing.
A UX Writer Understands People and Data
UX writing is centered on the user and their experience. Through a human-centered design approach, you can discover the user’s needs and how to create relevant content that addresses those needs.
The “secret sauce”? Empathy. A deep understanding of the users navigating your site, app or software from a psychological, emotional and social perspective. This qualitative data should be cross-checked with user testing and engagement metrics to inform current and long-term content strategy. If data shows that a user is frustrated, does the copy need some tweaking to help guide them better?
A UX Writer Is a Collaborator, Through and Through
A UX writer is in constant collaboration with user experience (UX) and interactive design teams. They are involved in the design process from start to finish to help close the gap between content and design. And they have a keen awareness and understanding of what’s happening with the overall business strategy. They gear the content strategy and user experience in that direction.
"We [the writers] work truly in partnership with our director of UX. We inform the design with the content. We understand that a lot of the time, the content is the user experience and we write as such."
—Jennifer Kohnhorst, Director of Content Strategy
Since content informs design (and vice versa), working directly with the UX/design teams is a fundamental responsibility of a UX writer to ensure design and copy work in harmony. Shouldn’t we all collaborate and be user-centric as we design, write and strategize to grow and remain competitive in our complex and ever-changing industries? The answer is an overwhelming yes! And the UX writer will continue to guide us.