As a UI&UX designer, I spend most days designing websites and apps. Lately, I’ve been doing less and less “design” work. More often than not, I find myself digging through research, sending emails, drafting strategy documents, sharing ideas with my team or reviewing designs with engineers. This means I spend a lot of time writing. With words. So many words. More words than I ever anticipated using when I started my design career almost 10 years ago.
We all know how important it is to integrate content strategy and copywriting into our design workflow, and I’ve always considered my role as a key part of that process. Today, I want to take things one step further and incorporate writing into my design practice. Here’s what I hope to get out of it;
1. Structuring ideas
Google maps, the iPhone, and even the internet itself were once simple scribbles on a notepad.
When ideas are written down, they become real and tangible. Words are easily the most important elements of any UI design. They provide information, help users navigate and convey meaning. Starting with the content helps focus the message and creates a better overall experience.
2. Telling a story
People love stories. We rely on them to entertain, educate and spread ideas. Designing digital experiences is very similar to storytelling. Our users have specific goals they want to accomplish, as well as challenges to overcome. The tools and services we design help them reach those goals.
3. Fostering an iterative practice
Writing is iterative by nature. You start with a rough draft and polish it as you go. The design process follows the same approach. By creating and testing ideas quickly, we can explore those that show promise and abandon the ones that don’t.
4. Expanding my vocabulary
We all know that effective communication is much more than what we say. It’s how we say it. In our industry, terminology is key. Using the right words can have a huge impact when talking to clients, sharing new ideas, identifying business opportunities or exploring technical solutions.
5. Sharing with my community
Our design community is open, vibrant and diverse. Many designers share insights, opinions and strategies via blog posts or on other social platforms. I read a lot of those and it’s time I become an active member rather than a passive observer. Writing is the first step in sharing my voice.
“A goal without a plan is just a wish.”
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
So here’s the plan;
- Read for 20 minutes every day
- Write a fortnightly article. This is the first. Meta. I know.