In this article you’ll discover how I experienced the first months as a UX writer at Doctolib, what we achieved in the UX writing team so far and what I learned on the way both professionally and personally.
UX writing, is this something for me?
Do you remember the first time you heard about UX writing? I remember exactly how my previous company hired a UX writer and how I learned what UX writing is about: Designing with words, creating text and helping people understand how to use and interact with digital products.
At that time I worked in a role combining customer service, content management and translation tasks. I’ve always liked to put myself in the place of the user, find the best solution and strike the right tone based on the situation. Writing and working with language always felt right to me. But I knew I hadn’t found the job of my dreams yet.
“I’ve always liked to put myself in the place of the user, find the best solution and strike the right tone based on the situation.”
The more I learned about UX writing the more I knew that this could be something for me. I hoped that this could be the job that I’ve always wanted. When they were looking for a UX writer for the German market at Doctolib this felt like the perfect fit to me: Getting started in UX design and having an impact on a product that’s used by millions of people every day.
I didn’t attend a design school or writing course, so I had to learn everything on the way by reading articles, books and speaking with UX designers. The real learning part, however, started on my first day as UX writer in October 2020.
What it’s like to start as UX writer at Doctolib
My colleague Sophie Ianiro joined the design team as a UX writer over a year ago and already established UX writing structures and processes in our Design System “Oxygen”. So we already had a useful style guide filled with plenty of guidelines helping us to define Doctolib’s voice and write as consistent and user-friendly as possible.
There were guidelines for the French product only, so one of my first projects was to adapt these and create guidelines for the German product. Another project that I initiated is our glossary: A collection of terms that we want to use or don’t want to use, which helps us and the many Doctolibers who write for our website.
“One of our missions is to spread the word about UX writing at Doctolib whenever possible.”
Since UX writing is not something everyone knows, one of our missions is to spread the word about UX writing at Doctolib whenever possible. We do this by presenting our work, value and impact at design and product meetings and every time we work with a feature team.
A very important project in the beginning was to look at the existing product copy, collect my improvements and present these to developers and product managers. The improvements could be quick fixes if there’s only one word to be replaced; or long-term fixes if the design is affected and needs to be changed as well.
I like how UX writing is not dedicated to one single feature. We’re working on different features and have a great overview of the product. I get to know the product better and better and will hopefully know every single notification soon. I like helping other teams such as the marketing and customer support teams create useful and user-centered text.
What I learned being a UX writer
I learned that UX writing is not only to help our team by finding the best words. It’s about showing our value as UX writers and ensuring that everyone knows about the impact of our work and how it can help the team. We need to find the right way to interact with team mates, build processes and build relationships.
I learned how to work and interact not only with designers but also with developers and engineers. Sitting at a table with developers and product managers is one of the moments when I realize that I’m part of the design team now, looking at our work from a user perspective.
“I’m not a pushy person at all. But what I’ve learned is to be pushy at the right time.”
It’s not about writing the most beautiful piece of text in the world. Sometimes it means to not use any words at all if an icon works better. Putting your ego aside means to put the user first, so it’s fine for me if a developer’s wording idea is better than my idea because in the end it’s all about helping the user.
It has taken some time to feel comfortable with what we’re doing and I’m not a pushy person at all. But what I’ve learned is to be pushy at the right time. As UX writer it’s important to be included in the right way to have an impact on the product. Not everyone is aware of the impact of UX writing. So I need to send messages to people and ask them about their opinion on replacing a specific wording, or if I could be included in this feature team meeting, because I think it’s important that I’m in it. Luckily, Doctolibers are incredibly nice, open and helpful, and everyone’s happy to include me.
I learned to feel comfortable raising my hand and being someone in the spotlight, for example speaking in front of a big group of people during all hands presentations or global product meetings. As UX writers we need to speak up. I found out that it’s good practice and rewarding. I’m looking forward to these moments now.
“It’s exciting how we’re all still learning and finding out how it works. UX writing evolves fast at Doctolib and it’s open to everyone passionate and motivated.”
We don’t need to know everything, or have a design school degree, but we have to be curious, passionate and eager to learn. That’s what I like about our collaboration in the UX writing team at Doctolib: We’re constantly learning together, finding out how things work, exchanging and helping each other to understand, write better text and improve the user experience.
I’m joining the UX writing world in exciting times where writers take over an important role in the product team. Nobody really knows where we’re going, or says “this is the way we have to do it”. There are lots of books, tools and other resources that show best practices or how you can do it. It’s exciting how we’re all still learning and finding out how it works. UX writing evolves fast at Doctolib and it’s open to everyone passionate and motivated. Everyone can learn it. What’s most important is that you love what you do.