Don’t get me wrong, I love being a UX writer. It’s an UX-cellent job full of problem solving and empathy-driven activities. But it does come with its fair share of struggles.
Curious what keeps us UX writers up at night (besides flagrant comma abuse)? In this article, I’m covering 10 struggles we UX writers routinely face. So, for the UX writers reading this piece, know I stand in solidarity with you.
And for the product peeps reading, let’s talk off-line about how we can better address these issues, okay?
1. Product designers and engineers going rogue with copy capitalization
What I wrote: You May Also Need
What product/engineering thinks I wrote: YoU MaY aLsO NeEd
One of these things is copy. The other is an excerpt from a ransom note.
2. Being asked to convey Terms & Conditions, edge cases, and customer reviews in one tooltip that can only be 20 characters long
Instead of trying to cram a bunch of information into a tiny box that no one will engage with, why don’t we gradually disclose this information? Or maybe we can revisit the design and make it more intuitive…
3. Designers expecting good copy to fix bad designs
Don’t ask me to write extra subcopy just to fill white space; it’s not my fault you gave this page more padding than RuPaul.
4. Being asked to provide copy on the spot
Like a season of Sherlock or Game of Thrones, great copy often takes time. Especially if we’re doing competitive research , content strategy work, and usability testing to craft it.
5. Not being invited to kickoffs
How am I supposed to write copy for a project I know nothing about?
Also, bonus GIF!
Me showing up to said meeting I wasn’t invited to:
6. Product managers and designers being overly prescriptive with copy
Product managers and designers, you’re entitled (and encouraged) to give copy feedback. But please don’t try to do our job, and for the LOVE OF ODIN, do not change our copy without informing us.
7. Adhering to a Style Guide
I know we should be using title case capitalization here, but it looks SO unfriendly. Can’t we break pattern just this one time?
8. Designers presenting placeholder copy to stakeholders
Best case scenario: The stakeholder understands it’s placeholder copy and doesn’t factor it into their overall assessment of the design.
Worst case scenario: The stakeholder loves the designer’s copy, approves of the entire design without your copy input, and security has to escort you off the premises.
9. Being asked to translate copy
I know how to write in English, not German.
10. Understanding Engineering terms
Okay, so there’s Front-End Dev, Full-Stack Dev, Back-End Dev, and Dev Patel. Am I missing any other devs?
I just really wanted to include a photo of Dev Patel in this article. Hi, Dev ❤
Okay, so I know I made UX writing seem like a STRUGGLE, but it’s really not. It’s actually pretty awesome! And most of these issues don’t happen on a daily basis, so don’t let my complaining scare you away from a truly stellar career.
Want to know the biggest wins of being a UX writer? Here are some of the best things about being a UX writer.
1. Being able to do what you love for a living
It’s a true blessing to have a career that aligns with your passion. And let’s face it, as writers we’re pretty much too sensitive/delicate for any other type of profession.
2. Helping users accomplish their goals
We may not be EMTs, doctors, or TV therapists like Dr. Phil, but we do make things easier for our customers. We should be proud of ourselves for that.
3. Getting to collaborate with people from different disciplines
I love getting to collaborate with designers, engineers, and product managers on a daily basis. They make me a better colleague, cross-functional partner, and writer. #canyoubelieve
4. Making a true business impact
It’s amazing that one line of copy can drive clicks and conversions. And you know, earn the company MILLIONS.
5. Being at the forefront of a new industry
UX copy is still a relatively new field, so those of us in it have a great opportunity to shape the direction this industry’s going in.
Working as a UX writer is super UX-citing! Especially if you work somewhere as rad as Wayfair!
Are you looking for new opportunities in product design, UX research, or content strategy? Want to work at Wayfair and criticize my GIF use IRL? Browse our open positions.