What is UX Writing? Defining, Explaining, & How to Learn UX Writing
“less is more.” It may sound crazy, but it’s true — you can earn up to $100,000 a year writing 20 words (or less) per day! If you’re really good, you can land a job at a huge company like Facebook, Google, or Spotify. You don’t even need a B.A. in creative writing, nor do you need tons of experience crafting Shakespearean prose. So, what kind of writing is this? How do you get into it? In today’s blog, I’ll introduce you to UX writing. ? I’ll show you exactly what UX writing is, how to learn it, and what you need to become an excellent UX writer. I’ll give you examples of great UX writing, techniques you can use in your work, and more! Since I can’t wait to share this with you, let’s dive in right away! ??
What is UX Writing?
“UX writing” is the short term for user experience writing. In other words, it’s the kind of writing that guides users as they interact with a product. Here’s how it’s different from copywriting and technical writing.
- Copywriting: Persuasive writing that urges people to buy something.
- Technical writing: Writing that conveys technical information into text.
- UX Writing: Writing that guides people as they use and enjoy a product.
You’ll be surprised to know that by now, you’ve already come across tons of examples of UX writing. Here they are:
- Call-to-action buttons
- Error pages
- Sign up forms
- Menu labels
- Terms and conditions
- All the micro-copy across the web you barely notice (but desperately need)
UX writing is the short term for user experience writing ??. It's the kind of writing that guides users as they interact with a product or page. Think error pages, call-to-action buttons, sign-up forms, and menu labels. Click To Tweet True or false: As a writer, you must write thousands of words per day to earn a comfortable living. ? NOT true, especially if you're a UX writer. What is UX writing? @JuliaEMcCoy explains ✍ Click To Tweet Let’s look at three great examples of work done by UX writers. This is Google’s error page…Source: google.com
Notice how short, succinct, and to-the-point the content on these pages are?
What You Need to Become an Excellent UX Writer
If you’ve looked over the examples and thought, “Hey, I can do this!” you’re perfectly right. You too can do UX writing. And like I mentioned earlier, you don’t need a special degree, a BA in creative writing, or even what people call “writing talent.” Here are five things you do need to do UX writing.
As a UX writer, you’ll need to be your target audience’s closest friend. This means you must know them deeply, including how they talk, what they want to see, and the specific way they react to words. This will help you craft the right content to guide them through your (or your client’s) product.
2. The Willingness to Work Closely with Others in a Team
UX writers don’t work alone. They collaborate closely with project managers, developers, technical writers, and designers to give users a flawless, enjoyable experience.
3. A Curious Mind
A UX writer’s day is filled with questions. What will work? What won’t? How can I put a smile on users’ faces as they use a product? Only a curious mind will keep you asking the tons of questions you need to perfect UX writing.
A close-minded person who’s always 100% sure of his/her opinion won’t thrive in the fluid, changeful world of UX writing.
As a UX writer, you’ll have to translate business-centric jargon into friendly, attractive words. A spark of creativity will make it feel effortless. What do you need to become an expert UX writer? 1️⃣ Empathy 2️⃣ Teamwork 3️⃣ A curious mind 4️⃣ Open-mindedness 5️⃣ Creativity Click To Tweet
How to Learn UX Writing (4 Ways)
There isn’t a single correct path towards learning UX writing. And that’s great! It means you can take the road that’s most exciting and comfortable to you. Here are four great options.
1. Go on Your Own Online Adventure
Go everywhere you can on Google. Visit your favorite websites like Airbnb, Mailchimp, and The New York Times. Read every word on their call-to-action buttons, sign up pages, and menu labels. Here’s a super example from Mailchimp’s signup page.Source: mailchimp.com
Then, visit websites you’ve never heard of before. Check out their products and sign up for their offers. Take note of what you like and what you don’t like with their UX writing. If you constantly steep yourself in the beautiful, good, bad, and ugly of UX writing, you’ll soon be able to come up with your own rulebook to guide you in your future career.
2. Read Blogs on UX Writing
Go for blogs written by authorities in the industry. You can start with everything written by John Saito, former YouTube UX writer and current Product Designer at Dropbox. Don’t stop there! The internet is teeming with tons of blogs full of tips and tricks on the trade.
3. Get a Great UX Writing Book
A great choice is Nicely Said: Writing for the Web with Style and Purpose by Nicole Fenton and Kate Kiefer Lee. Here’s a review of the book from content strategist and author Erin Kissane:
“Between them, Kate and Nicole have written for many of the web’s most valuable and respected companies. Their commitment to clarity and kindness is the result of their experience, and it makes them extraordinary teachers.”
4. Sign Up for a Course
To do be an effective UX writer, you need the skill to think behind content. A great way to learn this skill is to sign up for my Content Strategy and Marketing Course. In this course, I teach you how to create a blueprint that’ll guide every single piece of content you write. A much-needed skill if you want to go into UX writing! How to become a UX writer? @JuliaEMcCoy recommends studying your favorite websites, reading UX writing blogs like @saitojohn & signing up for training like contentstrategycourse.com ? Click To Tweet
3 Top Techniques for Powerful UX Writing
Of course, your success as a UX writer depends on how well you do the job. There are amazing UX writers, great UX writers, and UX writers who are just, well…meh. Here are techniques to help you stand out.
1. Be a Minimalist
With UX writing, less is more. Your goal isn’t to WOW people with your beautiful prose. In fact, you don’t even want to draw attention to your choice and flow of words. As a UX writer, your #1 goal is to help users do what they came to do. That’s it. Being a minimalist with words helps big time.
2. Be Personal
Don’t talk to people like they’re robots. More importantly, don’t talk like a robot. You want to connect to people on a personal level so they don’t hit snags as they use your product. Here’s an example.Source: uxdesign.cc
3. Be Crystal Clear
Users read your UX content so they can accomplish what they came to your page for. They don’t want to end up confused, worried, or even afraid they’ll end up making a mistake. For instance, if you’re creating a payment form, you need to give users assurance they won’t “accidentally” pay for something they didn’t want to buy. Here’s how Airbnb gives their guests confidence to proceed to the next step.Source: airbnb.com
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How Much Can You Earn as a UX Writer?
You don’t need experience to start earning great UX writer salary. You only need to show what you can do, and you’ll start earning a nice living writing micro pieces of content. So, exactly how much can you earn as a UX writer? According to Career Foundry, a junior UX writer can earn an average of $75,000 a year. Not bad at all! And the longer you work in the field, the more you’ll earn.Source: invisionapp.comUX writers have the potential to earn $75,000/year, on average @careerfoundry - And, the longer you work in the field, the higher your earning potential ? Click To Tweet
Where to Find Work as a UX Writer
UX writing hasn’t been around that long, but this doesn’t mean it isn’t flourishing. In fact, huge companies like Airbnb, YouTube, and even Google need UX writers to create their micro-copy. Here are five places you can go to find UX writing jobs:
Remember, since UX writing is a relatively young practice, there are companies that won’t use that term in their listings. They’ll use “technical writer,” “content writer,” or even “content strategist” in their job offers.
Moving Forward: An Amazing Career Path You’ll Love
So, it’s true. You can earn a six-figure income writing tiny, tiny pieces of content. And you don’t need a special degree or tons of writing experience to start. All you do need is a curious mind, the willingness to work with a team, a handful of great tips, and the courage and determination to take the first step. At Express Writers, we specialize in all kinds of content. Visit our Content Shop to find out more.