Why Ginetta integrated UX writing in its workflow

Anyone who works in UX design should stop thinking about text creation as an external service. Writing does not just result in a document which will later in some ways be implemented. Rather, writing is designing with words.

UX design vs UX writing

Over the last five years, UX design has become a very popular topic. Google searches have quadrupled over the last five years. 
Meanwhile, UX writing is still a neglected topic. Compare the Google searches over the same period:

Google searches 2012–2017. Blue: UX design. Red: UX writing.

Why is UX writing so important?

Imagine it wasn’t there.

Design doesn’t work without copy.

Written word is probably still the most efficient way to communicate with a user. On the other hand, copy does not work without some form of visual arrangement. From the beginning of the letter-press era, text was styled. It still has to be today:

CNN Lite is great. It’s accessible to all users and works well in emergency cases. But it also shows the disadvantages of “undesigned” copy.

Styling (as of 2017, mostly of the visual kind) helps guiding users and making them find what interests them. But even in a future of voice-based devices only, we’d need to take design-decisions and think about vocal range, intonation, dialect and sociolect. Content needs style as much as style needs content. The symbiosis of the two is what we call design.

Make UX writing fit into your design

In the 1930s, the American psychologist John Ridley Stroop had names of colors printed in different colors. He then asked people to name the color of the ink.

The result is well-known meanwhile. When name and color match, the task was very easy for people:

When word and ink color are different, it took people longer to name the color and they also made more mistakes:

Stroop called the cognitive dissonance interference. It occurs even if a participant makes a hard cognitive effort.

In UX, this effect also exists: If your writing and your visual language don’t match, your design confuses users.

How you don’t want your legalese to be perceived. Users would struggle with interference.

A language is a complex system of communication. Visual design is a language, as is the written word. As soon as these two languages are applied in one interface, they interfere and interdepend. Words and colors, semantics and whitespace, grammar and typography all contribute to design. Therefore, they all need to be consistent:

  • If your text shouts at the user, make it visually loud. If you whisper, be discrete.
  • If you offer a new product that is simple and user-friendly, get rid of all jargon. simple and user-friendly copy.

Here an example of great design. Of course, you know by know that this includes content:

TunnelBear uses a cute bear as its brand character. They support the charming illustrations with product names that fit their brand and their brand voice.

How to integrate writing in the design process?

Ginetta’s design-driven development workflow.

At Ginetta, we managed to include UX writing in our design-driven development. This means that writers closely collaborate with designers during the whole project.

Design-driven development has five phases. Each consists of iterations: First, we analyze the challenge, then we find the best solution and at the end, we conduct user tests.



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