Here’s the thing: words matter.
As the plunging percentage of humanities majors is constantly reminded, writing isn’t a science. But it is a thing that can be improved by experimentation, guided by theories, and influenced by psychology and social science.
Many writing disciplines are aimed at disrupting — disrupting the status quo, your morning scroll, your perception of the Great American Novel. UX writing, on the other hand, wants to help the user along as seamlessly as possible. We want them to notice the words, but not feel like they’re reading, and to successfully complete the flow with no disruptions at all.
We need to pay attention to every word with surgical precision, and a surgical propensity to cut, chop, and slash (yes, all three). We may even need to sensitively take the knife to teammate’s writing. We must have an eye for design, an ear for cadence, and an awareness that not all users have eyes and ears and we need to write with them in mind as well.
As nuanced as language is, humans are more. They are the ones who started the whole language thing, after all. AI would be nothing without us. UX writing requires a way with words and also an empathy and curiosity for understanding people. We ask the right questions, and we accept that the answers can be different from our own.
A UX writer adds words to a product, yes, but also adds context, narrative, trust, and small moments of delight.