If you have recently visited LinkedIn or Seek or Indeed or any work portal and typed ‘Writer’, you will get multiple job roles such as Copywriter, Content Writer, Bid Writer, Technical Writer, Medical Writer, and UX Writer. Most of the roles are familiar and simple enough, but technical writing? UX writing? These terms and jargon can seem baffling and make you feel incompetent. Trust us, if you have decent communication skills and practical knowledge, you too can adapt career pathways to becoming a UX writer. If you are in the writing industry and looking to utilise your skills towards a different and higher-paying job, then UX writing is a lucrative option.
Google has one (more than one, am sure), Microsoft has UX writers, Amazon has teams of them based across the world, so what is it that they do and how does one become a UX writer?
We will breakdown what is UX writing, what do UX writers actually do, and the path to becoming a UX writer.
UX (User experience) writing is exactly what it means. They create the essence of user experience or interface through writing copy for a digital product or service. UX writing is focused on writing the copy for the digital interface of products (mobiles, apps, websites etc.). This ‘copy’ will help the consumer, guide them, and ease their daily use of the app or platform.
UX writers write copy for the User Interface (UI) of any product/service and help guide users through it. So UX writing will cover things such as-
- Error Messages
- Loading Screen Messages
- Form fields
UX writing has expanded to become a specialised field of its own. Previously known as ‘content designers’ , UX writers only ‘write’ the copy, they do not ‘design’ the product or software. However, they work in tandem with product designers, software developers, and technical professionals. Hence, they must have knowledge of product design, user experience, and undertake user & market research.
BECOMING A UX WRITER
If you wish to become a UX writer, here are some skills you need to have-
- Copywriting- Know how to write short and long form content, make it interesting, and use it to sell
- Market Knowledge- Understand the user intimately and undertake market research
- Product Knowledge- What are you selling? What issues will one face while using daily? How can you simplify the use of the app/platform?
- Research Oriented- You should have absolute facts and data about your users, their expectations, and their personalities
- Practical- UX designers will create complicated products, it is the UX writer’s job to create practical copy to make it simple for users
UX writers are an integral part of the product design team. They act as the ‘creative’ on the team. Their job is to think like the user, breakdown the complicated or technical aspects of the product, and look for any potential problems the end user may face.
UX writers will take messages (like shown above) and simplify them for end users.
However, writing cool error messages is not the only thing UX writers do. They engage in practical, real research that effects engagement, builds brand presence, improves awareness, and leads to sales. For example, UX writers are responsible for sign-ups, subscriptions, and leads. They have to find easy and attractive ways for people to sign up.
Successful UX writing achieves it through shorter forms (multiple fields increase frustration and cause consumers to drop out), discounts, offers, gifts, etc.
As diverse technologies and softwares come up, the need for effective UX writers and writing is rising quickly. We mentioned previously that Google, Amazon, Microsoft have teams of UX writers. Other companies are also following suit and ensuring designers have a strong bench of writers to rely on. This is causing a gap in the market for UX writers and writing.
The beauty of a new field is that it rises from existing industries and backgrounds. UX writers need no specific education or training. They come from diverse backgrounds and their diversity of thought becomes their USP.
That being said, there are several resources you can use to start learning today. If you do wish to explore a career as UX writer, you need to dip your toe and test the waters. Here are some resources that can benefit you-
You can start with a course to learn the basics and build your portfolio. Companies are looking for goal-oriented, creative problem solvers. Create a portfolio using (already existing) apps and solve issues that you think can help the end user. For example, Apple Maps (that one needs a whole overhaul), Apple Music, Google Maps, Hinge, etc. Having a portfolio will ensure the employer of your skills and interest in UX writing.