Battles, Big Words and Budapest / UX Writing Summarized #1/2018

This is the first issue of #UXWritingSummarized, the TL;DR newsletter for UX Writers around the world. It’s curated by me, Mattias Åkerberg, who is a freelance UX writer and copywriter from Gothenburg, Sweden. If you like it, feel free to sign up right here.

Hi there,

I believe there are two kinds of people in this world.

There are those who are obsessed with UX writing, and who think about it several times every day (that’s me 🤓).

Then there’s … everyone else … who don’t think about these teeny-tiny texts AT ALL. And that’s the whole point! At its best, UX writing stays out of the way and goes unnoticed.

This is the premiere issue of UX Writing Summarized. I’m super-happy that you’re reading this — it means the world to me. 🙏🏻

If you want to make me even happier: Write to me at mattias@pleasecopyme.se and tell me a little about yourself, if you are obsessed or not, and what you found most interesting in this very first issue. Keep it as short as you want. Of course, I will reply.

Let’s dive in! 💦

Here’s the thing:

Once you add a writer to your design team, there will be hard questions, challenges and even battles. To deal with that, define the main focus for your UX writer, and build a process to collaborate in the best way possible. According to Jane Ruffino, content designer at Daresay in Stockholm, it’s easier said than done. But soon enough you’ll never know how you survived without a dedicated writer.

The take-aways:

  1. Don’t expect a writer to find the perfect words right off the bat; we also need time to think and test.
  2. A UX writer’s main focus is to set the how, the what and the where of words. He or she turns fluffy brand values into a glossary and rules for error messages and form fields (among many other things!).
  3. Work together as a team to create a definition of when content is done; for instance when something is correct, aligned with the style guide and makes sense in a flow.

The quote:

“Is a UX writer a designer or a writer? The answer is yes.” 😂

Here’s the thing:

You get inspired by awesome writing. That’s why Melissa Mapes at Real Big Words has put together a “Best of” list of UX writing — from crystal-clear confirmations and clever calls-to-action to simple questions and error messages with oomph.

The take-aways:

  1. A question often works better than a command. When Netflix says “Who’s watching?” instead of “Pick a viewer”, the question is far less aggressive.
  2. When your customers are about to pay: clue them into exactly what will happen when they press that button. When Airbnb says “You won’t be charged yet”, they actually tell the user that it’s OK to take the next step without fear of losing your money. 👌

3. Speak directly to the user, just like Medium does. They ask you — yes, YOU: “Do you believe in destiny?” Then, the call-to-action button jumps to a first-person perspective and becomes your inner voice: “Surprise me with a story”. Simply, yet brilliant.

The quote:

“Microcopy puts the “fun” in functional and the “art” in smart.” 🤓

Thanks for the article tip here, Anton Sten.

Here’s the thing:

Martina Győrffy and her design team at UX Studio in Budapest wanted to improve their UX writing skills. They did so by reading Kinneret Yifrah’s book on microcopy, did some in-house microcopy workshops and put together a handy checklist. What they learned was:

– Write concisely

– Keep it as short as possible

– Forget about jargon

– Spell out numbers up to nine

– Do not overuse contractions/abbreviations (just don’t)

The take-aways:

  1. Not paying enough attention to microcopy means there’s a risk that the user won’t get you. 🤷🏼‍♀️ Naturally, you have to use words that help others understand you perfectly.
  2. All in all, good microcopy is making the user happy and not frustrated. It does so by ✔️letting the user know what to do, ✔️building confidence in the user when taking an action, and ✔️ minimizing uncertainty in hard-to-decide situations.
  3. Super important: The voice and tone document really helps you design the exact right words. Three points-to-check here is: ✔️the personality of your brand, ✔️the needs and problems of your target audience, and ✔️the objections and concerns of your users. Repeat after me: personality, problems, objections!

The quote:

“When you want someone to understand your thoughts, you use words to explain them. And yes, you do it in your designs as well.” 💬✏️

About me

I’m Mattias Åkerberg, a freelance UX writer based in Gothenburg, Sweden.

Maybe you know me already, maybe you don’t (yet). I think and write for clients like Collector Bank, Lekmer, Confetti.events, Stidner and GöteborgsVarvet (that’s the world’s largest half-marathon race).

I’m married to Evelina, and together we have two lovely kids ❤️: Elis, born in late 2014, and Ilse, born in early 2018. That’s pretty much me, for now. Feel free to contact me — I would love to hear from you.

Again, this is the first issue of #UXWritingSummarized, the TL;DR newsletter for UX Writers around the world. If you like it, feel free to sign up right here. You are also more than welcome to clap your hands 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻 or leave a comment below.

Copywriter. UX Writer. Educator. Curator of UX Writing Summarized. https://www.getrevue.co/profile/pleasecopyme