I like this. UX Writing is a good example of a tech discipline where you can find good candidates outside the traditional recruiting sources (side note: this should be the case with all tech roles, but I digress).
Similarly, if someone with a background in cartooning applied for a role, I’d fight for them to get hired. Like poetry, writing a good cartoon is all about stringing words and images together. I’d argue it’s even more like UX Writing than poetry. Because good UX Writing blends the words and images together so that you can’t distinguish one without the other.
It’s the opposite of the writing motto “show, don’t tell”. Which is where journalism, creative non-fiction and UX Writing differ. In UX Writing, you’re stringing together words and images to create a clear narrative. One that inspires trust but allows you the flexibility to talk to your users across a range of situations. Much like cartooning.
As we know from Garfield Minus Garfield
, cartoons with missing elements still work – just as UI components “work” with no text – but their meaning is fundamentally altered. The message is different. Which, when you’re designing a product, is not a good look.
Poetry works the same way, just look at Brion Gysin and William Burroughs and their experiments in the cut-up technique
. Regardless of how you judge the poetry, the meaning is altered.
So when you’re hiring, maybe consider someone who dabbles in poetry or cartooning on the side. As the Hungarian-American psychologist, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, observed:
“Not so long ago, it was acceptable to be an amateur poet….Nowadays if one does not make some money (however pitifully little) out of writing, it’s considered to be a waste of time. It is taken as downright shameful for a man past twenty to indulge in versification unless he receives a check to show for it.”
But maybe that amateur poet is your next UX Writing hire….
There are currently 762 of you on this list. A humble “thank you” to each and everyone of you. As always, feel free to drop me a note with the types of roles you’re looking for and where you’re based. I read every one.
On with the show.