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What should we do before we start designing content?

First steps to UX writing

First steps to UX writing for a product

Don’t be rash. We make sure the hanger is straight before we attach it. Before we go on a trip, we research the place. We ask about soil, light, and water before planting seeds. Research is also the key to UX content design. Before you start designing UX content, you should know a few things. You’ll be able to design better with this guide.

Here’s what I’ve learned about First steps to UX writing:

The Basics of User Experience Content Design: A Prerequisite for UX Writing

In the First Steps to UX Writing, data is everything. Creating user experiences isn’t about creating art, it’s about solving problems. I always heard my second grade math teacher say: To solve any problem, you have to understand it.

Data is key to understanding the user experience problem. Identifying problems is easier and more accurate when we have reliable data.

The goal of user experience content design is to solve user problems with words. In order to prepare for UX writing, you and I should first consider and collect the UX writing prerequisites. By gathering the requirements, we have already completed half the initial steps of UX writing.

I developed a preliminary assessment of the prerequisites for content design:

  • Product or business requirements
  • Requirements from customers / users
  • Work/cooperation requirements

There are more critical sub-branches within each of these categories:

First steps to UX writing for a product

What do we need for this trip? What’s the road and what’s the well? Where are we going and what’s the purpose? What is our companion like?

Business or product requirements

According to the business model and plan, every product has goals, red lines, limitations, and advantages.

Let me give you another way to define content designer:

Like a lawyer, content designers have limited responsibilities and powers, but customers (users) always have the first interaction (words) with our product. It’s like hiring a lawyer to explain, guide and prevent clients from making mistakes.

Lawyers should know your case well (within their duties and responsibilities), otherwise their words are meaningless. So:

Knowing your business or product goals helps the UX writer tailor the design and content to what customers and businesses need.

To solve problems and solve pain points, UX writers need to understand the technical, and legal limitations of the product or business.

A content designer needs to know the business goals so they can focus on the pain points. This will make the product path smoother for the user and for the company.

The skills of a UX writer are worthless without these prerequisites. As a result, the scope of such a person’s work shrinks from content designer to text editor.

Requirements from customers / users

Effective conversations don’t happen by accident. Choosing the right method (strategy), choosing the right tone, and expressing yourself in time are essential.

User requirements don’t just come from personas. UX writers need to know their users more realistically to do the initial steps right.

Can you tell me where the users are? In our offices? Are they on our computers? Although everyone expresses themselves uncensored on the Internet (with peace of mind), user analysis tools don’t tell the whole story. There’s a lack of general knowledge among designers about people and their target society. Real customers are miles away from stylish offices in expensive neighborhoods. Because we place users in the position of “users” and ignore their “human” side, we have a one-dimensional view of them.

How’s the status of our users? What is the state of society? At the moment, what tone or literature should we use and what should we avoid?

These requirements include not just “general conditions”, but also “partial conditions” in the product flow. 

An example

You have to be careful when designing content for your user experience if your target audience is the people of a country in economic recession.

I worked for a fintech company that offered instant loans once upon a time. 90% of people didn’t qualify for a loan in the product flow. Thus, they received a red message, a red icon, and an explanation that made them feel terrible. I was shocked to find that there were no buttons or exits!

They asked me to design the red title and description. I explained to them that if the user doesn’t succeed, it’s already heartbreaking enough, so we don’t want to make them feel more pain by showing them red.

All this carelessness was caused by what?

Let me tell you:

They were operators who took orders from our business development team, not designers. Due to this, they couldn’t empathize with the persona.

Be careful with your words

We’re all familiar with terms like appropriate tone, appropriate literature, etc., but few have talked about “appropriate speech”. We should be mindful of different human requirements when approaching the user with such a message. If you take these details for granted, you will be rejected by users and hated.

Creating human products starts with understanding the user’s feelings and emotions.

The right word at the right time

We should also pay attention to “speaking appropriately”. Knowing at what stage to tell the user each word is one of the most critical initial actions in product UX writing.

  • Do not give a long address at the beginning of the path.
    First show the exit route, not the main road, if you want to direct the user from a side street to the outside of the city. Make the microcopies the same way: step by step. Don’t burden the user with additional mental load by offering recommendations and guidance for each step at the same time.
  • Make sure the user doesn’t feel cheated.
    Let users know if moving from step A to B requires accepting a rule or making a payment.
  • Make sure you don’t end up in a rut.
    Processes and paths shouldn’t be locked. The easy way to get out of a deadlock is to use a handy link or button.
  • Rework shouldn’t be necessary.
    Make sure the users are informed about the route and requirements before they reach point C, if there is anything they need to do before they get there. If not, they will have to start over from the beginning.
  • Don’t be too chatty
    Provide the user with as much information as is helpful on how to use the product. No less, no more. Talk enough. Users don’t need to understand legal and technical stuff when using a normal app. You’ll confuse the user if you give them more useless info. Don’t say anything unless it’s really necessary.

To act on these points, you need to know business requirements and customer requirements. If you’re planning to design user experience content for a upcoming product, it’s wise to do the initial steps carefully.

Work/cooperation requirements

Is it possible for an architect to build a building without a map, without knowing the use of the building, without knowing the land, and without knowing the materials?

Here are some things you need to know for First steps to UX writing for a product:

  • User journey map
  • Product process
  • User experience flow (partial and general)
  • Objectives, applications, advantages, limitations and requirements of the customer and business
  • Pain points and user feedback
  • Usability test results

When you don’t know these things, you can just text-edit. I’ve seen designers or product managers send texts to UX Writers asking “Do you think this is okay?”. Whenever I’m in a similar situation, I tell them:

For me to be able to work on the text correctly and principled, serve a high-quality experience, and achieve your goals and the user’s goals, I must comprehend the process, understand the flow, have seen the before and after, know the user’s path. I want to know where and why the user came here and where they’re going next…

Is there anything you can tell me about First steps to UX writing? Leave a comment.

Novelist and UX Writer
Husamedin Motahari
Novelist and UX Writer
A novelist who makes a living with UX writing. I write to pave the way for the user experience. Writing skills are not enough to become a UX writer. This is a world designed for humans.
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