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🍎 🍊 🥝 The juice from UX Writer Conference 2020: name-drop, user-speak and smorgasbord / UX Writing Summarized #16/2020


UX Writing Summarized

June 16 · Issue #16 · View online

Every busy UX writer can save time reading this.

It’s hard to find good things coming from this tragic pandemic. Here’s at least one:
  1. Local events are now global, which means that everyone can join from their living room. 
So while my wife Evelina put both kids to sleep (thank you, honey 😘), I put on my tuxedo and my bow tie (above the keyboard fashion! ⧓) and waltzed into the online-only UX Writer Conference
For two days/nights in a row, 350 people jumped from sessions to round-table discussions and networking meetings. 🍹🖥🎊
It was a lot of fun, and fueled me with new insights and how-tos. I share them all with you in this newsletter.
Let’s get to it! ✌️

How we named Dropbox Rewind
Here’s the thing:
Do you use Dropbox? Ever thought “No, no, no … where’s all my files? Can I go back to how things were yesterday?” Dropbox decided to make that possible. But what would the name of that feature be? 🤔 The team of writers and designers needed a metaphor to explain it. Niklas Nordlof lets you into their process.
The take-aways:
  1. Spoiler alert right away: they went with the name Dropbox Rewind, even though it didn’t make a ton of sense to people at first: “Who uses tapes anyway?”. They explored alternatives like “Time Travel” and “Advanced Recovery”, but brought Rewind back since it checks a lot of boxes: it explains the feature, is on-brand, it sticks in people’s mind, and it translates well. Clarity ftw! 🕺
  2. Create a few mood boards to find out which expression to go with. Each mood board had images and texts from music albums, tech stuff and movies (Lord of the Rings and Back to the Future to name two). “Return to …” was the winning expression (because that’s what you do 🎯), which led the team to “Rewind”. 
  3. Match the language in support tickets to what people write when they contact customer service. When people feel “Yep, I know what that is”, it lowers their blood pressure = your job when naming things and features. 💉
Measuring Impact: How to Test Your Writing
Here’s the thing:
As a UX writer, let language be your “top of mind” (lame expression, I know) during user research sessions. If you ask and listen, you hear that people are talking about language; they will make it clear to you what words they appreciate, and what bothers them. Ann Persson, UX Content Strategist at Pearson Education, tells you how to test your UX writing.
The take-aways:
  1. Do you and your colleagues love your own lingo? I guessed so. Many companies almost have their own lexicon 🤦‍♂️. Don’t do that. Instead, write UX for users, using words that they like and use. For example 👇
  2. Empty states messages often end with “… yet”, as in “No upcoming courses yet”. Flip that, and write more positively! Try something more like: “Want to plan ahead? Your future courses will appear here.” When Pearson Education did a test, 85 percent “on the inside” liked the negative one, while “Want to plan ahead?” was the winner for 2 out of 3 “on the outside”. Stay positive! 😋
  3. Two ways to test for words, except for A/B testing of course, are sentence completion and product reaction cards. With sentence completion you ask people to finish a sentence like: “When I leave Pearson’s website I feel ______” You might also ask them to start a sentence, or fill two blank spaces. 😮Product reaction cards on the other hand are a collection of 118 words, both positive and negative, for people to pick and describe your product. Let people choose no more than 5, and ask them why they chose those ones. Among the 118 words are dull, business-like, simple, vague and effortless. You may present your findings with a word cloud.
And these are a few of my favorite things …
… being talked about at the conference:
  1. The UX Writing Library and The UX Writing Compendium are both great collections of almost anything UX writing. Such as podcasts, talks, articles, newsletters, thought leaders, courses, tools, books and blogs. 
  2. People are kind enough to namedrop must-read books, such as Writing is Designing, Content Strategy for the Web, About Face, Nicely Said and Don’t Make Me Think.
  3. Are you looking to create a style guide? Well, get behind the wheel because here’s the map to show you the way. Thank you, Write the Docs for putting together such a smorgasbord on how to write a style guide.
  4. There’s always, always, always talk about accessibility and writing/designing for everyone. And there’s a good reason for that: it’s fundamentally important (yet often overlooked). Start with InVision’s 7 guidelines for writing accessible microcopy. Then go and explore this in detail on “Audiences, devices and channels” from Content Design London
  5. This is a classic: Jared Spool tells the story of how a major e-commerce site made it voluntary to create an account to go though checkout. They replaced the Register button with a “Continue”. And sales went through the roof, and off into space. In case you haven’t, read the story of the $300 Million Button.
I applaud Joe Welinske and his conference team for making this happen. I will watch the recorded talks from Torrey Podmajersky, Nadja Bozovic and Laurah Mwirichia once they are available. Happy times! 👏👏👏
Hey! There are just a couple of spots still to fill …
… in the upcoming class of UX writing in Swedish (the third so far). Want to come along? Let me know before I’m out of spots. This very-hands-on program is 100 percent digital – you use Zoom, Slack, Figma and Dropbox Paper. 
Hello sunshine!
Now, my family and I open our arms to a sunny (hopefully!) staycation here in Sweden. With kids at 2 and 5, I’ll probably need a vacation on top of the vacation. I’ll be back in September. Take care and enjoy living! ☀️
All the best,
The next issue will be out on September 15, 2020. 👍🏼
Can’t wait? You can always read all issues of UX Writing Summarized.
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