Strategic Writing for UX (Book Review)

UX Content Writing and Strategy is something I have been reading about recently. I have read a few books about UI/UX like Don't Make Me Think and Microcopy. But this book has been an absolute delight as it gives a complete step-by-step approach to writing the perfect copy for interfaces.

The book I am talking about is called Strategic Writing for UX: Drive Engagement, Conversion, and Retention with Every Word

The author of this book is Torrey Podmajersky and she has worked at Microsoft for the Xbox project and a company called OfferUp.

After reading this book, the way I look at apps will never be the same again. According to the author, the app experience is like a person that the user is interacting with.

The App Experience

In general, apps are built by putting several parts together. On one end there is the back-end tech that needs to support the functionality of the app. Then we have the front end which has the design. But one of the most important things in the design is the written copy.

Unlike blogs, books, and newspapers, the text on interfaces is not meant to be read for information like you are reading this blog post right now. The text is supposed to be there without the user thinking about reading the text.

If the entire app experience can be made so smooth in such a way that the user feels like he is interacting with a real human, then the UX content has done its job.

The UX content throughout the app needs to maintain consistency in the tone of communication as well. For example, if the app is a game, then all the messages and notifications in the app should have a fun angle to it.

It is the job of a UX content strategist to work with all the teams and bring out a uniform tone in the entire app experience.

Framework: CATT_OST

I have developed a framework called CATT - Content, Attention, Trust, and Transaction for building marketing funnels.

The job of a marketing funnel is to get the prospect to become a paying customer. But that doesn't mean that we can abandon them once they pay us. That's where most startups (especially ed-tech startups) make a mistake.

Customers have to be Onboarded, Served, and Transformed. (OST)

During the onboarding, customers have to become comfortable in using the app and all the features of the app. There will be an element of service in the product (the app) like support or community.  The product and the service will lead to transformation (whatever the goals of the user are).

Only when customers are transformed, they will become brand advocates of the product and refer more customers back to the product/brand.

UX Content strategy is an important part of the onboarding and serving strategy because if the content is confusing to the user, it will lead to frustration while using the app, and customer transformation will not happen.

Iterating Content on Apps

In the book, Torrey gives some extremely practical advice on how to edit the text on app interfaces. It can be as simple as taking a screenshot of the app and editing it in an image editor. Then the edited text has to be passed on back to the tech team for editing.

Ideas for writing the right content will come from talking to the users directly and getting their feedback. We have to observe the words that the users use while describing the experience. Ideas for using the right UX copy will come from the user's mouth itself (literally).

Torrey has created three sample imaginary apps to explain the entire process. This book is also for people who want to become UX content strategists in big corporates.

However, I've got a lot of value from it as an entrepreneur and mentor. I am going to improve the wordings used in my LMS (learning management system) to better communicate what the experience (the app) is trying to tell the user.

Deepak Kanakaraju