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HOW-TO: employing plain language as a UX professional AND as a small business owner

I read a great piece on Medium by Rachael Renk called Using Plain Language in UX Writing. In it, she makes a pitch for using plain English in UX work and making strong writing skills a priority for UX designers. The primary example she gives is microcopy on a website you’re building — and that’s hugely important; it can make or break whether someone interact with the content. But it also got me thinking about all of the other ways that I apply that same spirit of saying exactly what I mean across my business — from those UX components to correspondence with design clients to selling retail products.

In the interest of being clear, I definitely recommend you check out Rachael’s blog post in addition to mine. She narrows in on some great examples of strong user interfaces that employ microcopy to keep their customers happy and they’re worth looking at regardless of whether you’re working directly in UX or just selling yourself.

I’ll just pull out one quote of hers, because it applies throughout this post as well:

“If anything, writing in these designs is even more critical because there is less of it. With only a handful of words on a screen, every single one counts.”

Using plain language in UX speaks to something that’s key in every part of my business: authenticity. Rachel clearly articulates the value of clear technical writing, but I this it’s important to use plain English in every part of your business. Some examples:

* my personal website: people hire people — I want to work with clients that are excited about working with me, specifically. I am very clear about who I am and what kind of perspective I’m coming from. BONUS: this also weeds out people that don’t want to support a queer-woman-owned business, or that might be asking me to work on products that don’t reflect my ethics and values.

* websites I design for others: think easy-to-understand buttons and clear user paths. I’m trying to remove as many barriers to a call-to-action as possible, why make language one?

* correspondence with clients: the recommendations you make to clients should be easy to understand, but so should all of your correspondence. For example, I like to talk through my contract in plain language and give folks a cliff notes for stuff like payment, deliverables, and timeline, which can get hidden in the legalese.

* in products I release: all of my retail pieces are authentic to who I am as an artist and a person AND reflect the quality and type of work I like to do. I don’t sell art just because it performs well.

* in my marketing: I’m pitching products and services to you by telling you why they’re important and valuable to me. The art I’m making and selling is about things and ideas that are genuinely important to me. The ways I’m offering to help you are based around ways I help myself.

I encourage you to think about how you can employ more authenticity and easy-to-access language across your website, social media channels, and product pitches. If you’re having trouble, I’d love to help! Grab a slot for a FREE conversation on my client resources page or shoot me an email at b@bridgetwoodbury.com

Tell me what you think!