Becoming a UX writer in 2022 is all about having the right skill set, experience mix, and approach to user experience. There are a few skills you will need to master and take some steps before you can officially start a UX career.
It’s not necessarily tough to start a UX career because most people usually transition into a UX role. Transitioning from technical writing, marketing, or a design role is better because you already have some of the skills you will need.
However, if you’re looking to become a UX writer from scratch, you should work on a specific skill set.
In this article, we’ll go over how UX writing differs from other jobs and provide a step-by-step checklist for becoming a UX writer.
Let’s get started.
How Do I Become a UX Writer?
Many UX writers focus on starting by learning how to write microcopy. Since a lot of UX writers transition from another marketing role, it’s often about enhancing the skill rather than learning it.
However, if you’re completely new to writing and are looking to start a UX career, there are a few things you’ll have to do. That includes learning a few key skills like technical writing, user experience, and testing skills.
Furthermore, you’ll have to build a lot of soft skills, such as communication skills. Then, you’ll have to put yourself out there by creating an online presence.
The following are some of the most crucial steps you should take to become a UX writer. Keep in mind that these steps aren’t in any particular order and act as a checklist.
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Learn What UX Writing Is
It’s always best to start with UX writing fundamentals. That includes learning what the user experience entails, writing UX copy, and the end-to-end process of UX writing.
Firstly, you need to understand how user experience works. More specifically, the thought process of any customer when they’re using a product.
It’s important to get a POV of a customer because that will give you an idea of the existing UX. For that, choose one specific persona and identify a problem they’re facing. Keep in mind that it’s crucial to tie a problem with a persona for better targeting.
Then, figure out how the product provides a solution to that persona’s problem. After that, start noting the user’s entire experience throughout that process.
When you have that understanding, you’ll be ready to improve upon the existing UX.
Secondly, you need to understand that good UX writing is dependent on developing engaging copy. You may have a great idea to improve the user experience, but you can’t execute it without engaging copy.
However, writing UX copy is not the same as writing content or marketing copy. UX copy is about ensuring that every single one of your customers can have a seamless experience.
From a business point of view, it’s about choosing words that would encourage more engagement.
Lastly, it’s important to understand the entire UX writing process. That means you should understand how to research, write user interface copy, do A/B testing, utilize design tools, and report on the results.
It’s not that different from a content strategy. Therefore, if you’re coming to UX writing after a career change from marketing, you will have an easier time understanding the entire process.
Take a UX Writing Course Online
Once you learn about UX writing, you can start applying your knowledge and continue to learn through practical experience. However, it’s better to first take a UX writing course.
While UX writing courses will teach you how to write good UX copy, they will also go over the fundamentals. Some of the best UX writing courses in the industry also provide you with certificates of completion.
You can use your certifications to strengthen your UX profile. Furthermore, the exercise you do within the course provides you with a lot of samples for your UX writing portfolio.
On top of that, your writing skills improve, along with other crucial skills, including the understanding of the UX design process.
Moving on, the UX writing community is relatively tight-knit. That means you’ll have an opportunity to connect with other UX writers, hiring managers, and even potential employers.
For example, the UX writing hub provides a wide collection of online courses. It’s an incredible resource for UX writers looking to build their portfolios and career. Once done, you can also connect with large companies and recruiters looking for UX writers.
All in all, a UX writing course will help you actively and passively.
Create a UX Writing Portfolio
Regardless of whether you opt for a UX writing course or not, you still need to build a robust UX writing portfolio.
Think of it this way, your UX writing portfolio is the only way for someone to gauge your UX writing skills. If you can provide case studies and breakdowns of your work, along with before and after results, you’re golden.
Anyone with a writing background knows the importance of a portfolio. However, UX writers need to take a step above to prove they can capture someone’s attention.
You can include everything from your past work, including your UX copy, the finished product, how you solve problems, and the results. Add the user flow for each digital product you mention and the end-user experience.
Furthermore, provide samples of pop-ups, error messages, and any other touchpoint. Also, provide an overview of your involvement with the UX designer, engineer, and other team members.
Lastly, if you have experience working closely with startups and tech companies, make sure you mention that. It goes a long way in showing you have enough of your own experience to figure things out.
Read About User-Centered Design
UX writing and design go hand-in-hand. That means you should have an excellent understanding of user-centered design to be able to properly improve the user experience.
Most digital products today heavily rely on good design and UX to differentiate themselves. With so many competitors, the final deciding factor often comes down to how easy-to-use a product is.
That’s why UX writers need a grip on what design aspects work with their copy. In the end, the collective work of the UX writer and UX designer guides users towards specific actions.
Both those roles have the same goals, and thus, need an understanding of each other’s roles.
Furthermore, it would help make collaboration and communication easier with the design and product team. Ultimately, it will make the entire UX writing process more efficient for you and your team.
Build Your Writing and Technical Skills
If you learn about UX writing, complete an online course, and develop a portfolio, there’s a good chance you have enough skills to start your career.
However, you continuously need to build upon those skills by upskilling. Meanwhile, you also need to learn new skills that would complement your work.
You can start by improving your writing skills. For that, you can start with some writing, copywriting, or technical writing courses. Alternatively, you can make a habit of combing through the work of other UX writers to understand what you need.
Then, continue practicing your writing by doing mock projects (that you can also add to your portfolio).
Other than that, learn relevant technical skills that can come in handy. That can include learning some minor coding and engineering skills.
However, one thing you should focus on is learning how to operate various design tools. For example, Adobe XD is a great tool for developing vector-based user experience designs. You can learn the basics of such tools so that you don’t feel out of touch during collaboration sessions.
If you manage to learn enough, you can even create an Adobe portfolio to further strengthen your profile.
UX Writers Focus on Usability and Testing
A large part of the UX writer’s job is ensuring that the product is easy-to-use. That means they need to consistently work on making each user touchpoint more efficient for the user.
For that, they need to do a lot of testing. After research, testing makes up for the majority of a UX writer’s job.
For every UX touchpoint, a UX writer has to develop at least two separate samples. Then, they do A/B testing to determine what works better and go with it.
Furthermore, there are also different kinds of testing. UX writers do a lot of testing before launching an update. However, the testing continues after the launch too.
At each testing stage, there are different goals at play. For example, before launch, the goal is to determine what copy and design would resonate better with the target customers.
After launch, the goal would be to determine if the new UX is getting the right response. The response can be in terms of clicks, actions, impressions, or even reviews.
Therefore, you need to familiarize yourself with various qualitative and quantitative research and testing methods.
UX Writer vs Other Writing Jobs: What’s the Difference?
The primary difference between UX writing and other forms of writing is that it requires writing specialized copy for user-facing touchpoints.
Many companies often tend to place UX writing under the guise of technical writing or content writing. In some cases, it doubles as a copywriting position. However, UX writing positions are very different from all of those roles.
While UX writing jobs require the skills of copywriters, technical writers, and content writers, they use them for very different purposes.
For starters, UX writers develop product-side copy to ease the user experience. Meanwhile, other forms of writing are sales-sided.
Furthermore, writing UX copy requires a ton of focus on user research. The actual writing part consists of hardly 20% of the job. For the rest of the job, UX writers conduct user research, usability testing, and collaborate with the UX design team to ensure good user experience writing.
User experience writers need to keep their target customers in mind. There’s a good chance that a UX writing job is about improving the user experience instead of building one. However, even if you’re doing it from scratch, the first step is to always figure out your target customers, develop personas, and perform adequate qualitative and quantitative research on them.
Alternatively, other writing jobs require research but in a very different capacity. For example, technical writers may need to research online, read journals, interview subject matter experts, and collaborate with product engineers.
Furthermore, UX writers work with UX designers, UX research professionals, UX engineers, and the product team. At times, they also collaborate with a content strategist, content designer, product manager, and product designer.
Working with everyone is a necessity when you’re trying to improve the user experience across the product journey.
Wrapping It Up
If you’re looking to move from your current job to UX writing, start learning about it before quitting your job. Don’t transition to a UX career until you have a UX writing portfolio and some practical experience.
If you’re starting out in your career and looking to become a UX writer, start by developing the right skills first. That includes writing, technical, researching, testing, and communication skills.
Regardless of where you start from, becoming a UX writer is about consistency. You don’t need a fancy degree as you can learn everything online. Therefore, at the end of the day, consistent effort and time to learn, along with practical experience will help you become a UX writer.
Meanwhile, don’t hesitate to join UX writing communities and build your network by connecting with other UX writers.
If you are new to UX writing and are looking to join the professional UX writer community, we recommend taking our UX Writing Certification Course, where you will learn the fundamental skills for UX writing, how to successfully land UX writer interviews, and how to stand out from the rest of the crowd as an expert UX writing candidate.