Writing is Designing by Michael J. Metts and Andy Welfle
Title: Writing is Designing: Words and the User Experience
Author(s): Andy Welfle and Michael J. Metts
Topic(s): UX Writing, User Experience
Book Summary: “Writing is Designing” is a short yet insightful book on the importance of writing and the words involved when it comes to User Experience (UX) in digital products. The book serves more of a guideline than a “How-To” when it comes to UX Writing. The book covers several aspects of UX Writing such as research, clarity, accessibility/inclusivity, errors, voice, tone and collaboration. Each part builds upon each other but there’s always a thread that goes through each chapter.
My Key Takeaways:
- When in doubt, get user research data.
This may be obvious but get data from your users to guide your designs. If you can’t get in contact with your users directly, speak with the people who are constantly working with users such as customer service, sales people, retail team, etc. Test any ideas with users as well.
- Keep language plain, clear and concise.
There’s no need for $5 words when a $1 word can work just as well, if not better. This all depends on the context of the site, app or service you’re working on. Use words that users can understand quickly and allows them to do their intended tasks efficiently. Less is more, most of the time.
- Understand the purpose of what you and your team are creating.
Know as much as you can about the product/service/experience your company is trying to give to your users. Intimately knowing this info can help you write a better experience.
- Be mindful of what you write.
What you write in your app may have an emotional impact on your users and it could negatively affect a person if you don’t consider context. Be inclusive of all the potential people who will come in contact with your writing and designs.
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel”
— MAYA ANGELOU, AUTHOR AND POET
Even if you’re alone, you’re not alone.
You may be the sole UX Writer in your company or a part of a small design team which can be very hard but you have others in the company that can help you. They can help you fill in the gaps and strengthen your knowledge. Just find those people to help you create a great experience for your users.
These were my takeaways but there was so much more I didn’t mention because I feel like I wouldn’t do the book justice. It’s a quick read and the authors were intentional about this to show the UX writing principles in practice. Keep it handy when you work on your new project or redesigns. Also, I think it’ll help you write better in general. Any books you want to share about UX Writing? Share them in the comments!
Good luck out there and I can’t wait to read your UX copy! -A