What does a UX writer do?

    Hello, Habr! I present to you the translation of the article “What do UX writers do all day?” by Yael Ben-David.

    Realizing the fact that the existence of such a position as a UX writer is rather controversial, incomprehensible, and not suitable for any project, I decided to take the risk and offer the community an article that reveals the context of the work of UX writers. Thanks in advance to everyone who takes the time to read.


    Even 10 years ago, creating UX texts was not a special process. We can assume that even now not everyone understands what this work is. At parties, when they ask me about work, I like to laugh it off: "When you open the application ... the words that you see on the screen ... I write them." But on the screens of most successful applications and programs there are not so many words. Therefore, I can imagine that it is difficult for people to figure out how writing UX texts can take up all the working time.

    • If you have heard that working on texts from the point of view of UX is important for your company and you are thinking of hiring a UX writer, this article is about what you can expect from them.
    • If you plan to become a UX writer, this article should help you understand if this work will make you happy.
    • If you are already an UX writer and are doing something that is not mentioned in the article: please let me know - maybe I forgot to add this, or maybe I do not, but I must!

    New features

    This is the most important thing that we do. After 2-3 weeks of sprints (when developing according to the Agile methodology. I hope everyone works this way now) the products are overgrown with new functions, taking into account business objectives and quantitative targets for the next release in their strategy.

    Words are extremely important if we are talking about how to introduce new functions and explain them to users (in this case, the interests of the UX writer and user should be interconnected). We write these words. We write them quickly, taking into account information from all interested parties. We use our product to be sure that we understand the goals and context of our words; we work with designers to ensure that the product is suitable for use and organized most efficiently; We interact with developers to make sure that we do not create unreasonable technical problems with our promises; with translators to make sure that the message is perceived in other languages ​​in the same way. The list goes on and on. At the same time, the function is always not one, and each sprint must be written immediately for many functions.

    The development team typically includes a product manager, analysts, developers, QA engineers and designers. The team does not have its own UX writer; rather, a writer’s work resource is shared by several development teams at once. How many teams does the author work on? Well, that’s different. In one company, I was the only UX writer for 10 development teams. I did not eat, did not sleep, and did not go to the toilet, but on the other hand I received adrenaline for a year, and I will never forget that. In another company, I wrote for 3 teams. I had so much free time that at first I was paralyzed from the realization of the huge opportunity to initiate my own projects. I managed to quickly cope with new realities and fill my hours with those projects that I always wanted to dive into, but there was no opportunity.

    To write new text for a function:

    1. You are participating in a briefing or conducting an interview. The project manager explains the function, how it is made, and why.
    2. You are asking questions.
    3. Get started: do the necessary research, form concepts, team up with the necessary specialists, repeat and repeat again, again and again ... and again.
    4. Then you will present the text.
    5. Developers ask questions how to implement this, and you answer them.
    6. And then your child begins to live, and you yourself check how it happened, because you do not care.
    7. You track key metrics for interacting with the product.
    8. If (when) you find how to improve the metric through text, you will transfer this data to the project manager.

    This is repeated for every function, for every project manager, every sprint.


    Let's take a closer look at steps 7 and 8.

    When my version of the text goes into the product, this does not mean that I can forget about it. Never. I already saw a huge difference in quality between the first iteration and the last, so I know that everything I wrote can always be improved. The main thing that I do during the breaks between sprints: improving existing texts.

    There are great tools to help us understand what works, what doesn't, and what works better. We can observe how our users interact with our screens by viewing Full Story posts. Based on this, we can hypothesize on alternative options that can improve performance and launch them for usertesting.com members. And, of course, we look at the numbers. MixPanel, Google Analytics and Tableau are services where you can get an idea of ​​how effective texts and interfaces are, and where we could make changes.

    There are no limits to possible improvements. There are always key performance indicators that need to be improved; there are always exceptions that we do not work out as well as we could; There is always room for moving forward.

    Voice and tone

    Work on the tonality and voice of a product (Voice & Tone) is a much larger and less urgent type of task. If you are lucky to work in a young company, you may be responsible for creating and maintaining voice and tone. A project can take months and includes interviews, seminars, and more.

    If you work for a company that continues to develop products, each of them may require its own policy for communicating with the outside world. If you work for a company that is undergoing rebranding, you can bear the task of updating the voice / tone. In any case, you will always be responsible for ensuring that all texts are consistent with the general idea.

    Work on this requires a lot of time for reflection, brainstorming, research, collecting information from managers and services working directly with users, for example, technical support. This work is much slower than the description of new functions and their optimization, but it has a much greater impact than any function, and continuously. This is what you (also) always do.


    As the company grows, maintaining unification of all parts of the product takes more and more time. To ensure that your product provides seamless user experience, consistency is important.

    Combine the old with the new . When writing new texts, it is best to maintain consistency with existing screens. But sometimes a new copy becomes much better, then it’s better to pull the old one to the level of a new one. You will probably start by researching to confirm that the improvement is indeed an improvement, and then make sure with the help of the project manager that the development teams are able to complete the task. However, to determine the size of the task, you first need to outline all the places in the product where the corresponding text exists. And then you start to unify.

    Combine marketing with the product . The voice is the individuality of the product, and the tone is how you sound at different points of contact and scenarios during the user’s work with the product. But the user’s path goes not only inside the product - not at all! And when we see the difference between marketing and what’s happening in the product, it’s bad UX. Would you like to continue engaging with an IDP provider? Will you trust them when there are so many other options? Collaboration with marketing is the first step in preventing this dissonance. Do it once and sync regularly.

    Combine technical support and salespeople with the product. User experience with technical support and sales teams is also very important. What technical support, that salespeople should talk about the product in exactly the same way, and with the same tone as marketing. A good way to solve this problem is to synchronize commands as new functions become available. Each time a new feature appears or a release is released, all those who directly communicate with users will need to update product information; perhaps adjust call scripts, email templates, FAQ page, etc. No one understands the new feature better than the person who wrote it, so the UX writer is in an ideal position to maintain the consistency of all user commands.

    Scale. As your organization grows, your team will grow, but you will not have more hours per day (unfortunately, this is true ... I checked). Because of this, you cannot simultaneously control the language / unification of messages and other tasks of your work. A few tools that seemed useful to solve this problem: a database with all product texts and trial documentation (Onboarding documentation). The database can be located, for example, in Google Sheet, where you store your texts, dividing them into current, past and future. It turns out a kind of dictionary to which everyone can refer, and allowing not to diverge the concepts and tone of messages. In short, makes the process more convenient. Of course, there may be exceptions, but with an organized database, even when you write something new, You can start with a clear idea of ​​what already exists. The fact-finding documentation helps you quickly train and enter into the current affairs of any newcomer to the team. This includes links to Voice & Tone samples, a style guide, a message database, lists of interested parties, and anything else that helps new voices in the product sound the same as old ones. These two tools can be incredibly valuable, but only if they are updated. And it takes time (personally, I update the database once a month, and the documentation with each new hiring). which will help the new voices in the product sound the same as the old ones. These two tools can be incredibly valuable, but only if they are updated. And it takes time (personally, I update the database once a month, and the documentation with each new hiring). which will help the new voices in the product sound the same as the old ones. These two tools can be incredibly valuable, but only if they are updated. And it takes time (personally, I update the database once a month, and the documentation with each new hiring).


    As in any profession, especially in the field of IT, continuing education is an important part of the work of a UX writer. Development involves reading and listening to leading experts; attending conferences, webinars and seminars; participation in the life of specialized communities; search for mentors and students; creating your own content both for training and supporting important community topics. It takes time, but the effect is invaluable, as you get the opportunity to make sure that your product is not left in the dusty cloud of competitors rushing ahead.

    UX writers perform many tasks, especially if there are several teams / products in the zone of responsibility. Our business is niche, it differs from copywriting or content creation. Of course, there are common features, but we live in an era of specialists, not generalists. Unicorns are a thing of the past.

    To get the best lyrics for your products, use a UX writer. Not only in order to avoid the scenario “a jack of all trades, but not a master in anything concrete”, but also because a UX writer enjoys such work, which a marketing specialist cannot boast, for example. Passion allows you to create cool things.

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