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Writing Is Designing

writing is designing spot image

Words and the User Experience

By Michael J. Metts & Andy Welfle

Published: January 2020
Paperback: 200 pages
Paperback ISBN: 978-1933820-66-8
Ebook ISBN: 978-1933820-60-6

Without words, apps would be an unusable jumble of shapes and icons, while voice interfaces and chatbots wouldn’t even exist. Words make software human-centered, and require just as much thought as the branding and code. This book will show you how to give your users clarity, test your words, and collaborate with your team. You’ll see that writing is designing.

Who this book is for

  • People who make their living writing and leading content strategy for software interfaces, or those who want to transition into this type of role from another writing background.
  • Designers and design leaders.
  • Product managers, engineers, and executives.

Without words, apps would be an unusable jumble of shapes and icons, while voice interfaces and chatbots wouldn’t even exist. Words make software human-centered, and require just as much thought as the branding and code. This book will show you how to give your users clarity, test your words, and collaborate with your team. You’ll see that writing is designing.

Who this book is for

  • People who make their living writing and leading content strategy for software interfaces, or those who want to transition into this type of role from another writing background.
  • Designers and design leaders.
  • Product managers, engineers, and executives.

Testimonials

Table of Contents

Foreword by Sara Wachter-Boettcher
Chapter 1 – More than Button Labels: How Words Shape Experiences
Chapter 2 – Strategy and Research: Beyond Best Practices
Chapter 3 – Creating Clarity: Know What You’re Designing
Chapter 4 – Errors and Stress Cases: When Things Go Wrong
Chapter 5 – Inclusivity and Accessibility: Writing that Works for Everyone
Chapter 6 – Voice: Discovering and Developing Identity
Chapter 7 – Tone: Meeting People Where They Are
Chapter 8 – Collaboration and Consistency: Building your Practice

FAQ

These common questions and their short answers are taken from Michael J. Metts and Andy Welfle’s book Writing Is Designing: Words and the User Experience. You can find longer answers to each in your copy of the book, either printed or digital version.

    1. What do you mean by “writing is designing?”
      Just that. In many product teams, the words are an afterthought, and come after the “design,” or the visual and experiential system. It shouldn’t be like that: the writer should be creating words as the rest of the experience is developed. They should be iterative, validated with research, and highly collaborative. Writing is part of the design process, and writers are designers. That’s the main thesis of this book (which you’ll read in Chapter 1), and the point that we try to drive home in every chapter.

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Sample Chapter

This is a sample chapter from Michael J. Metts and Andy Welfle’s book Writing Is Designing: Words and the User Experience. 2020, Rosenfeld Media.

Chapter 1: More Than Button Labels: How Words Shape Experiences

Two people stand in a conference room looking at printouts of mobile app screens. The office used to be a warehouse, but it’s been renovated and turned into offices. The printouts are taped to the glass partition that separates their conference room from the hall, because tape doesn’t work on exposed brick. It’s a perfect stock photo opportunity.

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Illustrations