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🙃The misunderstood microcopywriter, great value and pair writing 👫 / UX Writing Summarized #5/2019

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Hi there! You’re not an idiot. OF COURSE you’re not. Absolutely not.  Also, you are not “a user”. Ne
 

UX Writing Summarized

April 16 · Issue #5 · View online
Every busy UX writer can save time reading this.

Hi there!
You’re not an idiot. OF COURSE you’re not. Absolutely not. 

Also, you are not “a user”. Neither am I. No one is. 
We are complex human beings, people with flesh and feelings. We have many faces, sides to our personality and bad hair days. When – if ever again – you call someone the U-word, “you strip a person of their circumstances, of every influence in their life, of history—it eliminates context and reduces people to a single act” (these are the bright words of Adam Lefton, Lead Content Strategist at PayPal). 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻
As a UX writer you are well aware of the power of words. Now, let’s use that power, and start saying “people” instead of … instead of … ah, I’ve already forgotten that crappy synonym from 1995. 🆗

After reading this issue, you will know:
🤔 The BIG difference between UX writing and microcopy
🤔 How to make your teammates value UX writing (more)
🤔 Why your best writing buddy is not a writer

And make sure you consider if Nordic.design in Stockholm is the perfect one-day UX conference for you. If it is, it’s time to buy your ticket (since my hosting friend Martina just gave you a super generous 100 USD discount). 🚀

Now,
slow down,
and read every word
from here
until the end.

It will be worth it.
UX writing versus microcopy – UX Collective
Here’s the thing:
Many people don’t understand what a UX writer is and does. They think that a UX writer writes microcopy, and that’s it. That’s just … wrong, says Bobbie Wood and Patrick Stafford from the UX Writers Collective. So, what is really the difference between content strategy, UX writing and microcopy?  
The take-aways:
  1. The difference between the three of them is the scope: content strategy is the overarching discipline, within which UX writing is about designing with words throughout the entire journey. Microcopy is ONE outcome, that often comes at the end of the UX writing process. 🛄 
  2. UX writing is about much, much more than just microcopy. A UX writer looks at the whole experience: from the problems to solve and goals to reach, through collecting data and creating ideas, to building a prototype and testing it on people, and then adjusting the words and craft copy. Microcopy might be the fun part to some, but a real UX writer is part of the complete design process. 🔍💬💡✏️🔍
  3. You will spend a lot of time doing research and figuring out what people want, before you start to write microcopy; then your words are within a fuller context. 
The quote:
“A UX writer literally writes all the words in the interface – not just the cute ones.”
4 ways to show the value of UX writing – Dropbox Design – Medium
Here’s the thing:
It’s great if you can test your copy on real people, but there are other ways to show your (future) team the value of good UX writing. Jennie Tan at Dropbox has listed 4 ways: show them that your content is scannable, easy to understand, follows the content style guide – and matches what people actually search for. 💪 
The take-aways:
  1. You show empathy with your readers when you write “in their own words”. Use Google Autocomplete and Google Trends to see what phrases and words people use. For example, “sign in” is way more conversational than her technical brother “log in”. 
  2. Make your content more scannable by following these 3 tips:
How to make your content easy to read 
  • Break long paragraphs into shorter ones
  • Rewrite short paragraphs as bulleted lists
  • Add headings to break up content into digestible sections
3. Aim to write so that a 10-year-old understands your content – then you help everyone to “get it” right away. Use tools like Hemingway to test and tweak your texts. 👦🏻💡
The quote:
“Showing the way is leading the way! Explaining your wording rationale is part of the UX writing job (and should be included in your portfolio samples).”
How UX writers can harness the power of pair writing
Here’s the thing:
UX writing is unlike other types of writing. It’s not about you. Instead, it’s necessary (even needful) to collaborate with product owners, developers, designers and researchers. Pair writing is a great, yet scary, way to co-create texts with a subject matter expert. Steven Douglas, UX writer and content designer at King, says pair writing makes his work easier and much more fun. 🚴🏻‍♀️🚴🏻‍♂️
The take-aways:
  1. Pair writing is writing in tandem with someone with specialist knowledge. That knowledge is the meat and bones for crafting the right and most beneficial content. This technique is featured in Sarah Richards’ book Content Design
  2. Immediate feedback, taking people out of their silos and higher engagement internally are 3 benefits of pair writing. Also, stepping out of your comfort zone helps raise your self-esteem as a writer. Plus, pair writing saves time and boosts efficiency. ⏰
  3. Start small! Choose a piece of content that’s small enough to draft in a single session. Pair-write in the same room, using tools like Google Docs or Figma. If you need to work remotely, make sure to communicate with each other in real time with Skype or Slack. 🐣
The quote:
“A UX writer’s natural allies are researchers and designers. Spark conversations with them. Ask them about their work. Throw the pair writing idea around. You might be surprised to find that the researcher or designer has been creating content on the fly. They need you!”
Nordic.design 2018
Have a look at this! (and save over 100 USD)
Nordic.design is a playful one-day UX design conference in Stockholm, Sweden. On October 9, 2019 over 500 people will gather for great speakers, food trucks, flags, banners, bars, neon lights and new insights. 😲
Just one highlight: Sophie Tahran, content strategist at InVision, will be there to talk about “The Art and Science of Naming”. Also on stage, there’ll be design people from Shopify, Facebook and Duolingo. 😲
If you can, make sure to be there! If so, buy your ticket with a VERY generous discount (thank you, Martina Elm!). Just use >> UXWS19 << as your promo code and – voilà – you will pay 1,000 Swedish kronor less for the ticket; that’s roughly 108 USD in discount. 😲
Who I am
This picture of me aged 3 always cheers me up.
Hi! I’m Mattias. I’m a UX writer and a runner (again). After pushing myself too hard some years ago, I’ve pushed RESET to start from scratch.
This time I go slow, and I go short distances, twice a week. While I run, I listen to books like Good to Great, Give and Take and The Sell. I believe that slow and short might be better on the whole. 🐢
***
Last time, I mentioned that I’m now a trained UX writer. Yay! 
Wanna see my exam project? 
It’s all about trying to find your way with words, and to listen to what people (not users!) say. ⬇️
A UX writer's journey to the right words, through research and testing by Mattias Åkerberg - Issuu A UX writer's journey to the right words, through research and testing by Mattias Åkerberg - Issuu
And … would you please do me a favor?
Forward this newsletter to the one friend you think will like it, and tell your friend to subscribe right here. 🙏🏻 
Don't listen to me
You’re one of over 1,000 people reading this right now. Here’s what some nice people say about UX Writing Summarized (AKA this newsletter).

”I love it! I really like the format of calling out the take-aways. That’s very valuable when deciding whether or not an article link is worth the click.”
Bobbie Wood, Founder, UX Writers Collective (Former head of UX Content Strategy for Google Payments & Google Assistant transactions)

“These days, it’s rare that I read an e-mail from beginning to end. So I commend you for that. Great roundup. Keep it coming.” 
Rich Jones, UX Writer, Vistaprint

”I find the structure super interesting. It’s great to have more and more resources, not only for those of us who always think about UX Writing, but also for those who don’t. Maybe that way they’ll also realize how much ”tiny words” matter. Just keep those newsletters coming.”
Mario Ferrer, Senior UX Writer, King

”It’s great that you’re promoting UX writing! I like the scope of the content and how generous you are with what you’ve spent time finding out: take-aways from courses, books and insights into how others work.”
Lina Nilsson, Content Manager, Swedbank

”Fantastic newsletter! Just enough content, personal tone and interesting tips. And a really good approach; you help us readers think about each article and whether to click on it and read more. Nowadays, when we’re swamped with information, that’s much appreciated.”
Bobby Ong, UX Designer, Itch

🤘🤘🤘
Next!
The next issue will be out on May 28, 2019. ☀️
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