A UX writer is the one who formulates content to help a user interact with the interface and also works as a content strategy writer that specifically writes a variety of blogs, writeups, articles, reviews, manuals and so on. Being a writer myself by choice, with an active interest in UX, it was a delightful news to find out that a job of this particular title is coming up lately and so I began to explore more.
The interesting thing about UX currently is that with each passing day, user experience is being integrated in our lives. Right from chatbots managing our routines with artificial intelligence PAs, to Robots who helps us with bank transactions as well as leisure activities such as switching on a game of Xbox- we have started increasing our interaction with the technology everyday.
With this elevated interaction with Graphical user interface as well as Voice User Interface, a professional focusing on narrative and conversational design is required, a UX writer is needed.
Now what does a UX writer do and what skills does he/she need to possess?
A UX writer is not just a content specialist but is also actively involved in the UX research phase. In order to write for the interface, a UX writer needs to know much more about the target audience, their needs and expectations and thus formulate content accordingly by putting in knowledge as well as empathy.
A UX writer is not just a ‘good writer’, but a person who can defend each and every word he/she writes. For example- the facebook status update input box previously stated- ‘What’s on your mind?’. If you observe closely, it now says- ‘Share an update,(users’ name)’- which is far more comforting. Why? Because it welcomes the user to say something in a very subtle tone, whereas the previous one may sound a bit demanding and intruding. This is what UX writers do and must justify while putting any content in an interface.
A UX writer also collaborates with several other teams of a design project. This is applicable to every profession, one should never be rigid but be a people’s person by being a part of every team whilst working. A UX writer along with said specialized work has to collab with editors, content writers, formulate user friendly manuals and so on. A ux writer needs to be multi-functional in this case as no company would ever hire multiple people for smaller tasks when one single person could take up most of it.
Though UX writers work closely with other teams, do not confuse them with Information Architects, Technical writers, Content strategists and Marketers.
So what do companies really look for in a UX writer while hiring?
There are a few technical as well as soft skills. To name the first and foremost, a UX writer should be empathetic. Without empathy and sensitivity it is difficult to write for the interface that your users would be involved in on a daily basis. An example would be formulating the shortest of an alert message or even a scribe on a CTA should be done with utmost sensitivity as the words used have a very strong impact on your user’s mind. You either lure them to use your app more or shoo them away with blunt messages. It is not just the UX and UI of your interface that helps it flourish, it is also the writing.
Talking about academics and technical skills, a company looking for a UX writer most certainly favours a formal educational background in communication such as journalism, Technical writing, creative writing and so on. Anything and everything that directly relates to writing. They demand professionals who can effectively design communication for their product and nothing else tops than a degree in the same stream.
A UX writer also requires fantastic writing abilities and a precise way to justify each word, as mentioned before. The way a visual designer describes the design choices, a UX writer must be able to justify every word and WHY it is better than any other ones used. If a UX writer scores an interview with a hiring company, she should expect to be asked very explicitly to defend her word choices, whether it’s in a long form pieces, or a single label in a navigation bar.
So all you writers out there, your profession isn’t just stapled to the internet or print media anymore! UX leads life and UX needs writers to help them lead a user’s Life. Grab the opportunity of being an Experience Writer and help others experience the product with your words.