As brands realize the importance of good user experiences, the demand for UX writer skills keeps increasing. Skills like technical writing, content strategy, and UX design are what companies look for in UX writers.
The point of a UX team is to ensure cohesive experiences for customers that help deliver business goals.
For that, organizations and UX writers deliver value throughout the user journey at every touchpoint. One could say that UX writers are the guardians of the user experience and content that reaches the customers.
In this article, we’ll go over 8 UX writer skills you should look for when hiring a UX team.
Let’s dive right in.
8 Essential UX Writer Skills To Look Out for
When you go on to hire UX writers, you might think that what matters most is writing. However, UX writing skills go above and beyond simply writing skills.
Many companies and hiring managers make that mistake when hiring for a UX writing job. The truth is that writing only makes up a fraction of the job.
There is a hefty design process behind UX writing, and people have to conduct user research, influence business strategy, and account for multiple user touchpoints to churn out good UX writing.
Doing a simple Google search would show you entire job descriptions that prove the holistic nature of a UX writer’s job.
At times, companies also mix up job titles where a UX writer’s job description will be the same as for a content writer. The job title says writer and both of them are creating content, but there are massive differences.
For example, a content writer develops long-form content that’s usually SEO-focused. Meanwhile, UX writers craft copy to assist the user experience.
Therefore, UX writers are more product-oriented while content writers are marketing-oriented.
If you hire the wrong person for any one of those things, your product and marketing strategy will suffer.
If you’re wondering how you can hire the right person for the UX writer role, look for the following skills. If you’re a UX writer who wants that promotion to a senior UX writer, make sure you work improving the following skills.
You can also learn the below mentioned skills through our professional UX writing certification course:
A lot of people consider UX writing to be a subcategory of technical writing. That’s not exactly true but UX writers do require excellent technical writing skills.
A huge part of a UX writer’s job is to explain things in clear and concise language. Especially when it comes to helping users navigate the user interface and utilize product features.
Making the user experience good at those touchpoints is extremely important. Plus, it needs to complement the user experience design.
Furthermore, UX writers don’t only write microcopy, they also need to write longer content. That can be in the form of user manuals, user guides, and knowledge bases. Such content needs to have a positive impact on the user experience.
Dedicated UX writers try to input creativity into such content to make it more engaging. However, the underlying skill to make this happen translates back to technical writing.
On top of that, UX writers should have a robust understanding of the design process and product prototyping. It’s possible they may have to incorporate elements from those processes in their user experience writing.
Furthermore, UX writers should have an understanding of various tools, including project management, video conferencing, and time and task tracking tools. Plus, any other tools that directly contribute to the technical writing process.
The need for excellent technical writing skills also means that UX writers need good technical skills. While having technical skills doesn’t mean they should know how to code, design, or engineer something, it does mean that they should have a basic understanding of how it works.
Therefore, UX writers need a robust understanding of how the user interface of any digital product works. They should also have an idea of how the design process is going. For that, they need to consistently collaborate with user experience designers.
This gives UX writers a unique perspective on the entire UX process and the product. It also allows them a certain level of influential abilities in the development process without any formal authority.
Furthermore, understanding how software interfaces work allows them to write UX copy accordingly. On top of that, a basic understanding of the coding allows them to translate complex concepts into simple copy for the user to understand.
Moving on, technical skills also allow UX writers to make use of various tools. For example, they can collect and log user data themselves after doing UX research.
For further efficiency, they can start producing samples of interface copy and design and present it to the design team. This gives the design a precise idea of how the digital product interface should look like.
That’s why some people call a UX writer a content designer.
User Experience and Testing
It’s pretty clear that UX writers need an excellent understanding of user experience. But what does that actually mean?
User experience refers to the practical experience of any user of a digital product. Each user has their own experience with any product, but that experience needs to drive towards a specific goal or action.
Meanwhile, the user should have an easy time navigating through the UI to get what they want.
That’s what true user experience is and it’s something that’s only attainable through heavy testing. That’s where UX writers come in.
If you want to become a UX writer, you should prepare yourself for a lot of A/B testing. Companies and UX professionals that don’t invest in adequate testing learn the hard way whether their copy actually works.
If it doesn’t, they may never find the problem. That’s why UX writers spend a good amount of time on testing to determine what should happen in various scenarios. In a way, they need to develop contingencies to ensure the user always gets what they want (along with the company).
Other than A/B testing, UX writing utilizes similar research methods as UX designers. That includes developing personas, doing interviews, and conducting user surveys around digital products.
The result is quantitative and qualitative user data that allows UX writers to create user-friendly copy in a consistent voice.
User experience research is a separate job but UX writers also need an excellent understanding of how user research works. That’s why their user research skills directly complement their user experience and testing skills.
User-centric thinking is the foundation of all user research. It allows UX writers to think from the perspective of a user. That helps them develop better research methods and avenues to gather more accurate user data.
As a result, they can utilize that data to develop relevant copy for different audiences.
This is why some people call UX writers content strategists too. The entire thought process behind the UX writer role is not dissimilar to that of a content strategist.
UX writers need to keep track of user intentions and actions to determine product touchpoints. Then, they need to determine the thought process of the user at each touchpoint. Even the smallest button in the user interface counts as users may click it.
Then, UX writers need to use that information and data to develop different versions of copy to test them all.
The user research also tells the UX writer what tone of voice to use, how much creativity they can utilize, and if they need to use extremely simple words and phrases.
For example, the tech industry has a hefty focus on ensuring there’s no frustration among users. In that case, the UX writer will do user research to determine all points of frustration. Then, start to make the user experience at each point better.
Similar to how UX without research and testing doesn’t work properly, UX without a content strategy is guesswork at best.
You can say that testing and user research come under the umbrella of content strategy. However, content strategy skills mean that the UX writer needs to have a holistic understanding of the entire content process.
For example, a UX writer should know what words to use, what they achieve in different circumstances, and what actions can those words drive.
The UX writing community is often known for its content strategy skills. That’s because they can map the entire user process, along with the strategy that would achieve a specific action.
If a UX writer wants a user to click on a button, they would start by researching why users would want to click that button. Then, they would map several user journeys that would lead to that thought process in a user.
After that, they’ll develop the content, UI, design, and copy for that entire journey. At the end of the user journey, they would write copy that drives the click of the button.
Meanwhile, at each point of the journey, the UX writer would do A/B testing to determine the best course of action.
After all that, they would finalize the UX copy to drive that single click of a button.
This entire process requires excellent content strategy skills to manage the end-to-end process.
Furthermore, it also allows UX writers to develop plain language content guidelines for content teams and design teams.
Web Design Skills
UX writers today work on digital products on the web in the form of web apps and websites. This means that they need to understand how a user traverses a web app or website to determine the best approach for better user experiences.
The best way to do that is to understand how web design works. That’s because if you understand how it works, you can tweak it to your liking.
Furthermore, it would give UX writers an understanding of the extent of change they can implement.
For example, if a user’s experience is dipping at the checkout page, the UX writer can determine what the issue is. If it’s an issue with error messages, they can fix it easily. However, if it’s a technical or design issue, they can’t fix it immediately.
But, because they have adequate web design skills, they can provide solutions without hindering the UX. This is how UX writers are able to exert influence without any formal authority.
Similar to how UX writers should understand web design, they should also have a good understanding of design, in general. They don’t need to do what a UX designer does, but they should have a good idea of what happens.
Design thinking is a valuable skill but understanding how various design tools work is even better. As a UX writer, if you have an Adobe portfolio, your future employers will always give you precedence over others.
Seeing the entire user experience as part of the overall design allows UX writers to gather insights into how UX designers work. Therefore, if they understand the basics of design tools, they can implement those insights themselves.
At the same time, it would help make collaboration easier with design teams. UX writers can better explain their ideas and strategies to UX designers to achieve more accurate results.
On top of that, understanding how design tools work provides a massive boost to a UX writer’s resume. Plus, if a UX writer wants to transition into UX design or become a marketing copywriter, these skills will be a massive help.
UX writers work best when they’re collaborating with the rest of the UX team. That includes UX designers, product managers, engineers, researchers, and content strategists.
It’s safe to say that communication plays a key role in a UX writer’s job. They need to provide constant reading tips to others to deliver their message and have to defend and justify their work countless times.
Therefore, on top of excellent communication and collaboration skills, UX writers also need to be extremely patient.
Take any UX writing jobs and you’ll see that collaborative sessions tend to take place almost every single day. That’s because everyone on the team is constantly bouncing ideas off each other to figure out the right move.
Since it’s unlikely that others in the team come from a writing background, the UX writer has to consistently explain their work.
That is why a UX writer that understands web design, design tools, project management, marketing, and technical writing proves to be an excellent communicator and collaborator.
Furthermore, communication skills also come in handy when writing copy for the users. A UX writer that knows how to communicate with the user can craft better copy, leading to a better user experience.
Lastly, UX writers may often have to defend and justify their work to senior management. It can be hard to convince upper management about why using some words over others is better. That’s where testing skills help as UX writers can provide direct proof of the success of their work.
Wrapping It Up
On top of all those skills, it’s extremely important for a UX writer to always be naturally curious.
The digital industry is in a state of constant flux; it’s always changing and people who don’t keep up to date risk being behind.
That’s why UX writers should always remain up to date with the latest industry trends and news. Most importantly, they should keep an open mind so they can keep on learning new skills and adjusting to the new norms in UX writing.
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.