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  • mdjeffrey

How I Accidentally Became a UX Writer

I have a long history with the English language, both academically and professionally. I earned my Bachelor's in English from the University of Wisconsin then went on to use my linguistic skills in writing long academic papers and presentations in the fields of Sociology and Public Health. Professionally, I have been known to dabble in writing such as consolidating legal language between health care entities, authoring technical writing instructions, or writing research protocols and case studies.

I never thought that I had a future something writing-related ever since I learned that becoming an English professor would take a ridiculous amount of time and money to get a PhD and being a teacher at a lower level paid peanuts. However, I eventually stumbled into a hybrid role doing both writing and design.

It all started when I was doing heuristic evaluations of digital Pricing products. I was very critical of the written copy throughout Pricing as the team was unique in that they did not have a content strategist (UX writer) on staff. Thus, everyone more or less just did their own thing with the written content side of designing. Errors in writing, grammar, and consistency bother me on a visceral level, so I felt the need to include my objections to the state of the copy in my report.

Pricing had a standing "Teach and Learn" meeting every Friday where members of the team would take turns either presenting some of their design work or presenting on a topic of interest to them. When it was my turn, I decided to do a presentation on UX writing where I called out inconsistencies in the writing throughout Pricing.

As I was the only person on my team with writing experience, I became the go-to person for UX writing tasks. Some of my teammates recognized that I evidently had an aptitude for UX writing, and I was allowed to perform the duties of a content strategist as well as a designer. I also received content writing resources such as the Lowe's online content style guide, got to join meetings with content strategists from across the organization, and even got to co-author part of a presentation about utilization of content strategists with other roles such as designers.

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