A letter to a young writer on the occasion of finding themselves as the only UX writer on a design team.
Being the only UX writer on a team is a lonely business. Unless you work for one of the tech monoliths, it’s likely that you are the only writer on the design team.
Unlike UX designers, most companies only have one UX writer. This means it can be quite an isolated role and a lot of writers (particularly in smaller companies) will work across more projects than a designer. This will change as companies recognise the benefits of having larger content teams but is the reality of the role at the moment.
And that’s to say nothing if your company doesn’t even have one UX writer. What should you do if you find yourself in that position?
Firstly, taking on small content projects is the right move. You are adding value just by demonstrating initiative to take these on and push your colleagues to think critically about the copy. Make sure you document all this work with screenshots and keep them in a folder somewhere. Track the ROI or any other metrics you look at internally to assess the impact of these copy changes. These will form the basis of your portfolio and tells the narrative of how you had an impact on the copy. Take a look at this article on how to create a UX writing portfolio
If you are based in a country where knowledge of UX writing is limited then it definitely makes it harder to define the role and demonstrate its impact. I know people who have taken jobs as marketing copy writers or copywriters, and then built relationships with the design team to better incorporate copy. I also know people who have taken your route and are working as UX Designers but have slowly worked to position themselves as experts in writing over the projects they work on.
I’m certainly biased because I contributed to the course but there isn’t a better intro to UX writing course than the UX Writers Collective “Fundamentals of UX Writing
” program [use code JOBNEWS20 for 20% off], it covers the end-to-end process and the tools you need to be a UX writer. The Euro UX Writers
also offer practical tips and advice for how to improve as a UX writer.
A lot of the literature on UX writer is still, unfortunately, focused on what it is and how to break into the field. But there are good writers documenting more advanced topics. For starters, follow Rachel McConnell
and Yael Ben-David
on Medium. Keep tabs on the #uxwriting tag on Twitter and follow people who you find interesting.
The role of the UX writer varies hugely across companies. Depending on how embedded you are in the process it can range from being handed screens at the end of the design process, to being involved in the initial research.
There are plenty of examples
of writers’ processes out there if you google “UX writer process”. As with all things, you’ll need to work out what works best for the organisation and team you’re part of. It’s certainly an iterative process.
Good luck out there.