About UX Writing

What Does A UX Writer Actually Do?

What is the role and objective of a UX writer?

Some time ago, in the first webinar of “what is and what is not a UX writer?” I asked participants: what do you think about a UX Writer mission? Where is its place? We thought about this question and different people had some answers. Finally, I gave a short answer which I want to talk about it here.

Designers of a product

We have already been told that the UX writer is a designer. We can categorize UX Designers into different groups. For example, visual designers of user experience, behavior designers, and UX copy designers. Each of these groups has a role in product design. Are all these roles distinct? It’s not.

“I felt like if someone was calling me a designer, it leveled the playing field for me.”

Katie Lower, writing is designing.

A UX writer doesn’t just write words, a UX Content designer designs appropriate circumstances for the right content.

UX Writer role in a product system

Each product is a system. Consider the human body as a whole that has lots of components. It’s the details that make up the whole and form a complete system. The product is also so. A solid whole in which every part is relevant to the other part. Thus, it’s natural that in the product design process, the visual design and text design and …, are mixed.

I have seen multiple times that the design team treat a UX writer as a typist:

Hi Hesamedin, can you please check the text of this paper and write it?

I’ll tell you why saying such a sentence to a UX writer is wrong. But before, we need to review the role of a UX writer and his or her works.

Content designers Vs. Typists!  UX Writer isn't a typist or a literary editor. In addition to choosing the most appropriate words, designing the right context for microcopies that perform better also falls to the content designer.  UX writers design words based on user experience principles.
Content designers Vs. Typists! UX Writer isn’t a typist or a literary editor. In addition to choosing the most appropriate words, designing the right context for microcopies that perform better also falls to the content designer. UX writers design words based on user experience principles.

What is the main mission of a UX Writer? 

A UX writer does design, but his or her tools are words, language, and anything that are related to the design. They are not a writer or an editor, but they should utilize these two skills. I have talked about the UX writer in the video “what is UX writing?”.

UX writing or editing?

Now, many people think that UX writing is a type of superficial- lingual editing work. But the reality is:

UX writing is knowledge of details of user experience, neither the art of words layout nor editing them.

Writing skill is just one of the necessary skills of UX writing.

A UX designer should be able to solve the user problem and pave the path using design thinking, correct word, and sentence selections. This means he/she has more responsibility further than a writer or an editor. His or her writings are not an “ornament” for the user experience, but it’s a part of it. Nevertheless, what should a UX writer do?

What do you do when you want to ask about the price of trousers?

We all look for the seller, and this is the “start of the conversation”.

The UX copy is like a conversation between a client and a seller. That’s why people are looking for words that help them and show them what to do when they are entered into a web page or an application.

There are so many misunderstandings about UX writing. It’s natural; we are dealing with an emergent job across the world.

Before you start writing, think about designing the experience you want your users to have.

Here’s how we think about these two activities:

Writing is about fitting words together.

Designing is about solving problems for your users.

To find the right words, writing and design need to team up in your

brain and work together.

Writing is designing, By Michael J. Metts & Andy Welfle

Co-creation thinking instead of product-line thinking

If we want to define the role of a user experience (or so-called UX writer) in the objective model of Adam Smith, he would be one of the links in the production-line chain. So, seeing him as a typist who works with Typewriter isn’t Surprising. If we want to know what the real role of UX Writer is in the UX system, we need to go back from Smith and Henry Ford’s thinking and consider UX designer as a co-creator. 

In the first method, a UX writer is a skilled worker that goes after the text when the designs are completed and tries to do his or her work around the scope designed previously. On the other hand, the UX writer is like an architect who wants to work on a pre-designed and built building. He/she is completely limited and he/she cannot make “design suggestions” to solve the problem. In this way, we have ignored the designing role of the UX writer, and he/she has to sew for the coat a button, struggle with various restrictions, skip the changes that could have reduced the volume of the texts, and submit his or her work.

In the co-creation method, we start understanding what the impact of a UX writer’s skills is and how he or she can help optimize the product by designing words.

 An UX writer isn't part of a production line. Words are an integral and crucial element of any product, so UX writing is part of design.
An UX writer isn’t part of a production line. Words are an integral and crucial element of any product, so UX writing is part of design.

The text of the user experience, not the text of the user interface

What is the main job of a UX writer? As the name implies, he/she is the author of UX or the user experience, not the author of the user interface. The naming itself helps us to understand that the UX writer’s place is among the UX design processes, not outside of it nor separate from it. All the data that helps the designers are also useful and applicable for UX writers. So, the importance of matching data, reports, usability test results, etc. is critical.

A UX writer can offer suggestions for improving the path, shortening it, and improving the UX due to his or her mastering of the “language” and “dialogue”. He/she can untie the knots that we sometimes try to open with additional explanations with his or her design ideas.

The novelty role the experimenter plays has led us to assume that he/she is a writer and can not help the team in the design process. This belief will soon fade out because we will all understand the importance of UX writers’ presence over time.

We can not hear music from behind acoustic insulation, we can not make healthy communication with a person who does not have communication skills, and we can not taste the cookie on the other side of the window.

If we can do these, then we can expect the user to interact by disassembling the various components of a product.

This post is a translation of the “What is the role of UX Writer” article that was first written in Persian.

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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