Mario Ferrer, King

Dominic Warren
May 31, 2018 · 5 min read

Hey there! 👋 I’m a Senior UX Writer at King, based in sunny Barcelona. I help teams take that quirkiness and personality from their games and pack it into tiny texts. I like stand-up comedy, lucha libre (Mexican wrestling), and lomography #believeinfilm

Oh, wait… I also really like tacos (I’m Mexican, so I’m contractually obliged to say that).

How did you get into UX writing?

It’s been sort of an evolution for me. I started my career as a copywriter at an ad agency. Then I moved to Barcelona following a girl (now my wife) and worked at several tech companies and startups. I came to King as a copywriter at first, but my role shifted a bit as I worked closer to product teams. This, plus the gazillion questions I asked designers, made me realize that words are also a big part of the user experience. So I kept asking questions (still do, A LOT), read all the user experience books I could get my hands on, and eventually made the move from copywriter to UX writer.

What does a normal day look like?

It usually starts with a big cup of coffee going through emails and Slack conversations. I spend most of my time working in parallel with other designers going through the latest feedback on flows and planning how we’re going to approach new projects.

Since my team supports several games, I need to block out time to write on different tones. That means I can start the morning as a candy, spend lunchtime as a farmer, and end the day as a witch.

What are the top 3 apps you use?

My notes and initial ideas live in Google Docs. I use Sketch + Abstract for writing mock ups and collaborating with my team, and Spotify because nothing gets those creative juices flowing like a good Cumbia.

Where do you go and what do you do for inspiration?

I grab an old camera, a fresh roll of film, and hit the streets. Just going outside and walking around Barcelona taking pictures clears my head. Swimming also helps, it’s true what they say, good ideas come when you’re in the water… or was it the shower?

Are there any books or blogs you’d recommend?

What have you worked on that you’re most proud of?

The launch of Candy Crush Soda was a huge challenge for us. The fact that it has been one of the most successful mobile game launches in history is something I look back at with a smile.

How do you approach getting stakeholders on board?

One of the best tools I’ve learned from my fellow UX designers is empathy. For me, it’s very important to try to understand the other team’s needs, listen to their concerns, and consider their initial ideas as a starting point. We try to do this over a cup of coffee in a relaxed environment.

This helps set the right expectations from the get-go.

We also find it very useful to present the design solution as a whole, not visuals on one side and copy on the other. This, plus explaining the process and having the data to back it up, or the possibility of A/B test, tend to be a good approach.

What are the biggest challenges you face as a UX writer?

My first big hurdle was working together with my design team to kill Lorem Ipsum from our deliverables. It took a whole lot of sitting together and coming up with a process that works for both sides, but I’m happy to say, we’ve been Lorem Ipsum free since 2015.

Nowadays I focus my energy on convincing product teams to think about the need for microcopy from the beginning. If you can show them with concrete examples why the right tone of voice can make a huge difference, they’ll listen to what you have to say. I’ve taken several cues from “Why words matter”, a very interesting talk by Joscelin Cooper and Maggie Stanphill from Google Design.

What’s your biggest content pet peeve?

Oxford comma, Oxford comma, and Oxford comma.

Jokes aside, I have a real hard time with Capitalizing Words In The Middle of Sentences (ugh, my eyes), jargony copy, and passive voice.

Do you have any advice for aspiring UX writers?

  • Sit next to UX Designers and ask them questions about their designs and what’s the thought process behind them.
  • Speak to other UX Writers to learn from what they’ve already gone through and ask them to share with you best practices and “war stories”.
  • Read, read, and then read some more. Not only about writing, but also on how user experience works. Some great books to start with are UX for beginners and Undercover User Experience Design. Also, check out the Nielsen Norman Group articles on writing for the web. They contain great examples and very interesting research that’ll help you understand what makes a good user experience.

Is there anything you want to promote?

I’ve started collaborating on a Medium publication with a friend from work where we laugh a bit about situations that we go through as part of a product team. The idea behind the posts is to share what we’ve learned with a bit of humor.

Where can people find and follow you?

I tweet about UX writing and film photography, I mostly highlight on Medium, and I post my lomographs on Instagram.

If you liked this article, let us know by giving it a clap 👏 It’ll also help others find it.

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every word matters is curated by Dominic Warren.

Thanks again to Mario Ferrer for taking the time to answer these questions.

Dominic Warren

Written by

UX Writer and Content Designer

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