How to Explain UX Writing to Literally Anyone

Connor Doherty
Wayfair Experience Design
3 min readSep 12, 2017


According to Google Design, UX writers “help shape product experiences by crafting copy that helps users complete the task at hand.” Straightforward, right?

Well, as a UX writer, I’ve discovered that this definition means nothing to anyone outside of e-commerce or tech. Turns out the average person doesn’t know phrases like “product experience.” And if most people are like my mom, they think “copy” has something to do with copyright law or worse…Xeroxing.

It often feels like the hardest part of being a UX writer is explaining what it is. It requires not only defining copywriting, but communicating the intricacies of user-centric design in a way that is both digestible and relevant — without making it sound nerdy or lame.

That’s why I’ve created this cheat sheet for explaining UX writing to all the people in your life, from your mom to your Tinder date. So you can stop stressing over the confusion around your job and start bragging about how awesome it is.

How to Explain UX Writing to:

Your Mom

What She Needs to Know: You write the words that guide customers through the confusing or frustrating parts of apps and websites.

What You Should Say: “You know how you always enter your credit card information in wrong? I’m the one who writes the message telling you that it’s wrong. Also, can I borrow your credit card?”

Your Dog

What He Needs to Know: You write clear, concise, and compelling messaging across all platforms and user touchpoints (and that he’s a good boy).

What You Should Say: “BARK BARK error messages ARF ARF float labels WOOF WOOF form fields. Who’s a good boy?!”

Your Therapist

What She Needs to Know: You write attentive and empathetic messaging that takes a customer’s emotional and mental needs into account.

What You Should Say: “I try to understand the ‘why’ behind a user’s actions so I can write to meet their real needs… now let’s get back to my childhood trauma.”

Your High School Nemesis*nJeiERSFSU*o2RKlLp4zVKlCikGkeet87qmvDo%2F&psig=AFQjCNGGGshBeh30Ox-vsuil4BTCV9yN_Q&ust=1505311049209514

What He Needs to Know: You work in a cool and innovative field of e-commerce and tech.

What You Should Say: “I’m just, you know, responsible for driving cohesive product narratives across every user touchpoint. No big deal, Chet.”

Your Nana

What She Needs to Know: You show people how to use websites and apps.

What You Should Say: “Nana, I work for the Internet, you know, that thing Al Gore invented.”

Your Tinder Date

What He Needs to Know: You help shape and maintain your company’s brand voice, write innovative and effective messaging, conduct competitive research, and collaborate with designers and product managers to create better user experiences.

What You Should Say: “My job is cool and complex and would most likely take about six dates to fully explain. Also, I left my wallet at home, so you got this, right?”

Interested in joining the Wayfair product design team? Browse our open positions here.



Connor Doherty
Wayfair Experience Design

Writer, runner, meme aficionado