UX Writing 101

June 12, 2018 - Posted by: Brooke LaFleur

Prior to entering the tech space, I had never heard of a UX writer. Even in the UX/UI space people who copy for websites we’re called copywriters. Now, we’re seeing a shift of focus on writing that intends to create a positive experience for the users once they enter a website or an app.

What is a UX Writer?

The main difference between a copywriter and a UX writer is that copy writing makes things sound good, and UX writing makes things make sense. It’s the difference between reading a complex novel and a 3rd grade kids book. One uses bigger words to attract customers, and one uses simple words to explain concepts.

A typical copywriter is sales-oriented and works with the marketing team to tell stories, but often can create copy alone and report back later. UX writers however, are product-oriented and work closely with designers to share conversations.

UX writers often don’t work alone and have to “fill in the blanks”  with the designers. For example, if there are gaps in the user flow, the UX writer needs to be able to mend any points of confusion for the user.

Gone are the days of picking the best writer on the team to write copy for interfaces and confusing pop up messages. UX writing has its own language: clear, concise, and useful.

These age old pop ups are one of the reasons UX writing now exists:

 

What does the UX writing process look like?

Well, it’s pretty similar to the path of a designer. From the beginning they will work with designers and developers in the early stages of production to figure out the flow and map out what copy is needed. A big part of creating good copy is researching and testing. Research of the target market and knowing jargon that is used by a particular vertical helps speak to the users language. UX writing intends to increase conversion and usability, putting hypotheses forward and a/b testing what words have more of a response.

Microcopy like CTA’s, instructions, navigation buttons, confirmation messages, error messages, and even 404 errors need to be written. Contrary to popular belief, these words don’t just come out of the void, someone writes these 404 messages:

pixar-ux-writing-example mcdonalds-ux-writing

Although a 404 page is possibly the worst possible scenario for a user on a website, using graphics and words that convey humor and sympathy make it a positive experience landing on a page a user typically doesn’t want to see. That’s the beauty of UX writing.

UX focuses on emotion and ensures that the path is clear for the user, and doesn’t make the user have to ask any questions. Users shouldn’t have to focus on reading buttons, good copy ensures that users actions are intuitive.

What is good microcopy?
HUMAN ORIENTED:

Using witty language and writing in the voice of the brand. When putting in the wrong blog URL, tumblr’s copy team uses humor and compliments to ease the disappointing experience.

ENCOURAGE USERS:

Good copy prompts their users. Introducing yourself and finding a starting point is difficult in real life. Tinder helps users start a conversation by prompting them to simply give a compliment!

UX Writing is a combination of UX Design and Copywriting, working in tandem together in the development process. UX writing’s primary goal is to make sure that every step of the user flow makes sense and fulfills the users needs. The takeaway? It’s obvious there needs to be changes when writing copy for websites, especially if you want an optimized conversion centric site. Be an empathetic guide and facilitate the users needs with smart copy that conveys real actionable steps.

Want to learn more?

Let us help get you situated. It’s a jungle out there, click here so you don’t have to go at it alone! Let our CreateApe experts act as “jungle guides” and help you traverse the wilds as we take your project to new heights.

How to Find a Proper Villain

July 13, 2018 - Posted by: Alessandro Fard

If you’ve been following our YouTube channel, we’ve been talking a lot about how to find a proper villain. If you’ve ever watched Oceans 11, I’m referring to the scene when Brad Pitt, playing Rusty Ryan, is walking with Don Cheadle’s character, Basher Tarr, and Tarr declares, “It will be nice working with proper villains again.” In the tech space, you know when you’re working with a proper villain. So what sets apart a standard UX/UI designer from a “proper villain”?

Know the basics of other specialties

A proper villain might be a designer, a developer, or even a copywriter, but they are a proper villain because they know more than just their specialty. If you can speak with authority and understand other disciplines in the tech space, you’re a proper villain.

If a UX/UI designer can speak to front end development, like what bootstrap is and why it can be important, you’ve found yourself a villain.

How do I find a proper villain in the UX/UI space?

The Portfolio

The first thing you’re looking for is a portfolio. If a designer has their own domain showcasing their designs, I can often get a feel of their personality and design work. I want to see they have an understanding of UX architecture, conversion, and mobile design.

Work should be curated and easy to browse. Showcase 3-4 detailed case study project that lead the viewer through a story about the start, difficulties, and outcome of a project. Simply, how did you get from point A to point B.

Keep it simple. The last thing you want is for a potential client or hiring manager to be looking at your portfolio and get overwhelmed by music and too many graphics. If you’re in the UX/UI space you want your portfolio to emulate an optimized, conversion-centric site.

Everything they present should work well, have smooth transitions, and look great. It doesn’t matter if you worked at Google in the past, if your portfolio isn’t up to par, you’re not a proper villain.

A LinkedIn

A proper villain’s LinkedIn should be hefty. There should be skills, recommendations, a decent work history. Be wary of red flags. If you see that someone has 10 different positions in the course of 2 years, ask more questions.

 

When you’re working on many different products from a freelance standpoint, really big, complex, and robust web applications, eCommerce sites, and mobile applications will take a lot of time. If someone’s been working in that area for over 1-2 years if shows they’ve been able to hone their skills from that project and rub shoulders with key players.

Know industry tools/trends

If I ask a designer what they often use to create their designs in and they follow up with whether that is high fidelity design or low fidelity design, I know I’m in the right place.

Knowing the trends that are happening within the space gives you an advantage. Applications like Sketch, which allows you to wireframe and do prototyping, works well with developers. This shows me you keep up with the latest advancements in a tech driven field.

Are they a good fit?

Proper villains need to work well with each other. At the end of the day whether it be a bank robbery, a heist,… or designing a mobile application, it needs to be a good fit! After about 5 minutes into assessing whether they’ve checked all the boxes to be a proper villain, I’ll ask about culture fit. Do they have a sense of humor? Do they play video games? Seriously though. VIDEO. GAMES. It’s a almost a “must” at my company.

So you’ve found your villain…

Truth be told. You’re never going to know how someone really works until you start to work with them. You don’t want to be in the middle of a crime and have your partner screw it up by accidentally stepping on lazer beams. That’s why sample projects are vital.

Sample projects

Sample projects let you know the things you never were going to find out in the interview. Give them a quick project like ideas around the homepage, designing a quick banner or social image. You’re going to see if they are responsive, communicate effectively, and what questions they’re asking. If they’re responsive and asking the right questions, you’ve found your proper villain.

Want to learn more?

Let us help get you situated for the Mobile First changes coming your way. It’s a jungle out there, click here so you don’t have to go at it alone! Let our CreateApe experts act as “jungle guides” and help you traverse the wilds as we take your project to new heights.