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Strategic Writing for UX: Drive Engagement, Conversion, and Retention with Every Word Paperback – 5 July 2019
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About the Author
From the Preface
UX writing is the process of creating the words in user experiences (UX): the titles, buttons, labels, instructions, descriptions, notifications, warnings, and controls that people see. It’s also the setup information, first-run experience, and how-to content that gives people confidence to take the next step.
When an organization depends on individual humans performing specific behaviors like buying tickets for events, playing a game, or riding public transit, words are ubiquitous and effective. Words can be seen on screens, signs, posters, and articles, as well as heard from devices and videos. The text can be minimal, but is very valuable.
But what do those words do, how do we choose them, and how do we know when they work? This book provides strategies to use UX writing to help meet people’s goals while advancing our organizations toward converting, engaging, supporting, and reattracting those people.
We structure our voice throughout the content so that the brand is recognizable to its audience. We apply common UX text patterns to ease and democratize the task of writing, and we measure how effective the UX content is.
Who Should Read This Book
If you need to write UX content on top of your usual job, you might be a marketing professional, technical writer, UX designer, product owner, or a software engineer. This book equips you with knowledge about what goals the UX content can accomplish, frameworks for writing it, and methods to measure it.
If you are or will be a UX writer, or if you’re a manager or leader who wants to support a UX writer on your team, this book also gives you methods to demonstrate the value of UX writing and the impact it makes. In this book, you’ll find processes and tools to do the work of writing and the work of partnering with design, business, legal, engineering, product, and other stakeholders sanely, creatively, and scalably
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
The fictitious examples have no emotional ties, making it impossible to care. Like the first example: a transit company.
The author could have said why this company in particular is significant. Some setbacks, maybe the number of people who rely on it. But the author basically goes, "It's a bus company, and people ride buses. That's why you should care."
Infographics are cluttered and confusing.
The condensed nature of the writing in more skilled hands could work well, but here, the scarce amount of text leaves an enormous gap where important information should be.
Other times, the author smushes far too much information into one sentence, effectively turning it into a really, really long list, and the average mind can only hold about seven items/words in it at once, so these lists become muddled and useless. "The organization attracts, converts, onboard, engages, supports, and transforms, the person investigates, verifies, commits to, set up, uses, fixes, prefers, and champions."
That's one sentence. Verbatim. And it's only a *caption*.
The book is also so boring it'll make you want to jump off a roof just to feel some excitement for three seconds.
I used the voice chart template in the first chapter to land a freelance UX writing gig this week. So right away, the book has paid for itself, plus I've gotten utility from it. Second, I find it helpful that it reads like a textbook (a lot of "See Figure 3 - 3").
The information is presented in a highly readable, intuitive manner. Super actionable. Torrey builds a mental model for how a UX writer should not only do their work but interact with product teams and establish themselves.
Definitely a book I will reference for years to come.
This book will be useful if:
- You're looking for a UX writing job want to explore what the work will be like or explain it to others
- You've just landed or started a UX writing job and are looking to hit the ground running
- You're a seasoned practitioner looking for news ways to look at and approach the work
- You care abut the words that fill your product experience, regardless of your title, and want to make sure they meet your users' needs
In particular, I appreciate Podmajersky's assertion that the principles are the same, even if the products and implementations are wildly different, and the book walks through several product examples to make that point. Pick this one up—you won't regret it!
Torrey provides ideas for frameworks and systems to ensure that users can recognize a product’s voice, understand it, and achieve their goals. For example,Torrey emphasizes the value of an organization creating a Voice Chart. Aligning aspects of written language including vocabulary, verbosity, grammar, etc. with product principles, the Voice Chart is a tool that enables businesses to be intentional in how users feel about their product.
For even more practical guidance, there's an entire section on UX text patterns, featuring Dos and Don’ts with clear examples.
After laying the foundation, Torrey delves into how one could adopt these principles, providing answers for “where do I start and what do I do next?”.
While this is a great guide for current and aspiring UX Writers, I believe it will be beneficial for all UXers. If you’re a UXD who is working with UXW, it helps to set context and understand how to maximize content strategy value and engagement. If you are doing it all by yourself, it provides ideas and guidance. For UX Leads, it’s a great reference on how to think about content strategy and UX writing for your product.