UX Writing – Who, What, and Above All, Why?

The written word as an experience.

Editorial office
© trueffelpix / Adobe Stock

© trueffelpix / Adobe Stock

What sounds so dreamy describes one of the most sought-after professions in the digital product landscape. UX Writers are interdisciplinary all-round talents in a world that knows no operating manuals.

Due to its rapid development processes, the IT industry constantly offers new opportunities for both personal and professional application areas. The new requirements of the digital world have been turning the job market upside-down for several years now: agile, big data and start-ups are breaking with traditional structures and professions.

Whereas a decade ago it was primarily a matter of implementing software processes in a functional way and training experienced developers, today this is no longer the only challenge. Software and digital processes not only have to function, they must also be positive: intuitive, fast and continuous. What seems so self-evident can be the decisive factor in tipping the scales toward either the success or failure of digital products.

This is where UX Writers come into play. UX stands for User Experience – the user's experience in dealing with a product. Within large companies there are often entire departments devoted to UX and in times of apps, touch screens, and voice control systems, these departments must rethink old standards. The conventional operating manual is also a thing of the past. For traditional service providers in the field of technical documentation, this may sound daunting. But no user of an IT product wants to click through long PDFs and even integrated text-heavy tutorials are often skipped. For us at kothes, however, this isn't an obstacle, but an opportunity to keep up with the times and carry technical documentation with us into the agile world of digitisation. 

"People ignore design that ignores people."
(Frank Chimero, Designer)

A good UX Writer has two fundamental qualifications: The understanding of the product and its long-term vision, as well as the understanding of users as human beings. The art lies in conveying technical functionalities on a human level. UX Writers are creative strategists who can empathise with the user. The appropriate in-app notification at the right time, a context-sensitive approach to users' needs, and an information structure that promotes intuitive navigation through the digital product are just a few of the possible tools for the success of UX Writers.

Due to the still young profession of UX writing, the profile is not etched in stone, and depending on the industry and product, various factors can be decisive for successful UX writing. However, it helps to understand what a UX Writer is NOT.

A UX Writer is not a Copywriter.

Although a good UX Writer always has product strategy and selling points in mind, he or she must continue to think outside the box every day. The user should not only be addressed, but also understood and supported. In order to achieve this, a UX Writer not only speaks the language of the user, but also the language of the Developer, in order to be able to mediate between the two parties in a target-oriented manner.

A UX Writer is not a Technical Editor.

Of course, Technical Editors also have a role to play in the digital world of software. As much as we move away from the standard operating manual: release notes, error documentation, mask descriptions and functional overviews are indispensable, especially for extensive software products. However, the task of the UX Writer often begins much earlier: The UX Writer always has the user in mind, from the conception of the GUI and function sequences, and ensures the integration of the relevant factors across the entire development process.

A UX Writer is not a Marketing Manager.

It's not just about highlighting the positive aspects of a product, it's also about listening to the user. A UX Writer is an interdisciplinary strategist who develops and implements long-term communications strategies. The tools are multi-media: videos, surveys, and data analysis. A UX Writer constantly builds upon existing knowledge about the relationship between the product and customer and implements this into texts.

So how can the multifaceted job description of the UX writer be summarised? Maybe like this:

A UX Writer is an interdisciplinary communications strategist who recognises emotional and practical customer needs and then develops linguistic interfaces that offer an optimal product experience and thus increase the added value of the product.

At kothes, the UX Writer's responsibilities range from regular consultation with stakeholders, Marketing departments, Developers and Designers to the evaluation of customer interactions and detailed terminology concepts. Anyone wanting to achieve long-term success in the IT industry must realise that, despite all the bits and bytes, people themselves form the foundation on which successful technologies are built. The UX Writer is an important component on the road to digital success.

 

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