1.   HOW IT ALL STARTED

Imagine this. You fire up your favorite app on your phone and you see nothing written to guide you around. Stumped, right?

Let’s put in some of that copy which makes it work. Better, right?

A UX writer is that wordy magician who comes to rescue when a user needs guidance to use an application and brings the product to life. They are an undeniable part of creating and strategizing on the product side of things. We will come to that eventually.

Now that we have established who a UX writer is, let’s dig deeper on how to get started. Taking some pages out of my own experience, I started my journey as a product writer close to an year ago. Instead of jumping at job opportunities, I took my time and did my bit of research. LOTS of research. There are a lot of brilliant blogs on how, why and when companies need UX writers on their teams.

Source: LinkedIn Post

Once I established that I resonated with the asks of this role, I decided to take a stab at it internally, in the company I was working. Working in marketing, you get to see how sales, branding and research teams work in tandem to present the product in the best light and get the revenue up and running. However, my curiosity led me to know more how the product requirements align with the market demands, how user experience is delivered and measured. And to spectate customer interactions and feedback on the product.

Pro Tip: Try connecting with your product or design team and enquire if they need someone vetting the product copy before it goes live. 99% chance, they might be elated at this god sent help.

2.   CONTENT DESIGN APPROACH

I began working on the side with the design team by putting in some extra hours along with my marketing job I had. It began with a need “to fix copy” across the product. Essentially the adhoc fixing of copies or text across some Figma screens is just one part of what a UX Writer should be doing. This is where I had to start evangelizing the concept of “ Content First Design Approach”.

What is that?

It is an approach that involves the use of content early on to define the layout and elements in design, rather than the other way around. Designing the product with actual content can help the entire structure of the product shape out better.

I cannot stress enough on how much the UX content team or a sole UX writer needs to be included and involved in the design process early on. Start prototyping with words and stop using lorem ipsum. A simple start.

3.   SYNC WITH DESIGN AND PRODUCT

When I started out, I ensured that I kept my curiosity about the product and the design process active. The more I asked, the more clarity I got about what I am expected to work on. Keeping a regular content sync with product designers and product managers helped me allocate my time accordingly and understand where I would be required to focus. Create a strong collaboration with your designers to channel the team synergy needed to begin a new project, feature or a product update. Having constant sync also helps in including the engineering team at the right time to develop the designs and release.

 

4.   NOT JUST A COPY FIX, CREATE A PROCESS

In most companies even today, the copy is written by the designers or developers till a UX writer is hired. Once the UX writer steps in, it is not just about fixing a copy on a screen, but also to do a content audit internally and understand from the product team on what needs to be improved, added, edited and deleted. To bring this change about, a need to establish a process helps along the way. Kickoff meetings with designers and product managers to understand the who, why, what. Gather documents and analyze the ask of the update or project. Document your notes, initiate calls with PM’s to clarify, create Kanban boards to help prioritize your projects and review & reiterate copy edits. Write, iterate and repeat.

Source: Chargebee UX writing process

5.   ADVOCATE INTERNALLY

It is no surprise that UX writer or content design is still more of an afterthought or is not recognized as it should be. Writers need to be involved in a design process to write clearly and provide the user with all the information to ensure they complete their tasks with minimal friction. Most big tech firms today have UX writers, the smaller ones need to catch up to make their product stand out in the market. Once you make your way to becoming a writer,  make sure you advocate the need to involve your team right from the start and for all other copy needs. The struggles would be rough in the start but the results would eventually prove to be worth it.

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