UX writing

9 ways to know if you should become a UX writer

Not sure if you're destined to become a UX writer? Learn 9 ways to know if you'll thrive, so you can get clarity on if the journey is worth it.
should you be a ux writer
should you be a ux writer
In: UX writing

Got big dreams of becoming a UX writer?

I’m confident you’re gonna crush ‘em (and I got tons of UX writing advice to help.)

But let’s be real — there’s a lot of time, effort, and sometimes money that goes into becoming a UX writer and landing a UX writing job. How do you know if it’s going to be worth it?

I’m a die-hard UX-er at this stage in the game, but when I was first learning UX writing, I wished someone had sat me down and told me if I was going to be any “good” at it. And also teach me how to create a UX writing portfolio — that’s tricky business.

Well, that’s where this lesson comes in 😇

I’m going to dive deep into 9 ways to know if you’ll thrive as a UX writer or content designer.

As a sneak peek, the ways to know you’ll thrive as a UX writer are:

  1. You enjoy problem-solving
  2. You love diving deep into how people think
  3. You welcome complexity
  4. You have a thing for words
  5. You’re team Hemingway > team Fitzgerald
  6. You’re naturally curious and open-minded
  7. You’re willing to compromise
  8. You sweat the details
  9. You want to *actually* make life easier for people

Let’s dive in…

1. You enjoy problem-solving

All writers problem-solve. UX writing is just a different application for problem-solving.

It's more so thinking about how things connect in mobile apps and digital products, but it's still the basics of storytelling.

If you love tinkering and finding solutions to ambiguous problems, UX writing will be right up your alley.

2. You love diving deep into how people think

If you love to understand how people think, you’ll thrive as a UX writer.

Being a UX writer is incredibly empathetic. You have to be able to write a message that could appeal to someone who is just newly in debt and someone who just got promoted. And that's a tricky thing to figure out.

If you can really get into people's minds and understand their psychology, you’ll thrive as a UX writer.

If it sounds intimidating to communicate with someone in debt and someone who got a promotion, that's something that will come over time. There are also best practices that are the baseline for doing this.

PS: If you can’t quite get a straight answer about what UX writing is, check out my straight-shooting definition of UX writing.

3. You welcome complexity

Products are complicated, and they're only getting more complicated.

As a UX writer, you have to translate what a product does, turning technical engineering terms into value for users.

If you love understanding complex concepts and figuring out how to make them understandable to a general audience, UX writing will definitely be for you.

4. You have a thing for words

UX writers deal with words a lot. But instead of wordsmith-ing them, we design with them. That means we write and reorganize words on a screen to make the experience as understandable and usable as possible.

Instead of working with paragraphs, UX writers and content designers see words as puzzle pieces that Tetris together to make a coherent user experience.

That said, the basics of stellar writing and word-wizarding still apply.

5. You’re team Hemingway > team Fitzgerald

If you don't know what this means, Hemingway was a famous author known for being very concise, short, and to the point. Fitzgerald was a famous author from the same time period, known for being very verbose and dramatic.

UX writers are undoubtedly more concise, clear, and to the point, verses over the top. This is true in error messages and headlines alike.

6. You’re naturally curious and open-minded

As a UX writer, you're gonna have to always be thinking, “How does this work?” Or, “Why are we doing this? Do we need to do it this way?”

UX writing is as much about putting things into a product as it is taking things away.

Being curious and questioning decisions and ideas is a great trait for a UX writer and will help you land UX writer jobs.

7. You’re willing to compromise

Being willing to compromise is important because UX writing is very collaborative.

You'll work with the product design team, product managers, user research, and engineers, CTOs, or chief technology officers, and many more people.

Building a product together is a communal effort, so there are going to be compromises in the design process. Being able to know where the middle ground is will help you thrive.

8. You sweat the details

I'm not just talking about typos — when I say “sweat the details” I'm talking about what a user needs to know to make an experience super easy and clear.

For example, if someone's entering their Social Security number, details you might add are, “We don't store this information. It's private, and your information is safe.”

It's thinking through the details of what might deter a user from moving forward and how you can make it a super easy decision.

9. You want to *actually* make life easier for people

UX writers tangibly make life easier for people. We make products more simple, usable, and easy to understand.

And there's a spectrum here — you could be working on a product that helps people get COVID-19 vaccines, or you could be working on an entertainment product.

Regardless of the impact or how you want to impact people, you’ll definitely make life easier for people, and UX writing style is a real way to have an impact.

So, does UX writing sound like it’s for you? If so, keep exploring — I've got a whole lot more where this came from 🤗

Whether or not UX writing is for you, I hope you have some clarity and can move forward with confidence.

Happy UX writing 🖖

Written by
Slater Katz
As founder of The UX Gal, my mission is to make learning UX writing fantastically-simple and landing a job easy. I've held UX writing jobs at companies like Netflix, Fitbit, Verizon, Afterpay, & more.
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