10 things content writers hate to hear

John Saito, Medium

Over the years, John Saito says he’s been lucky enough to chat with UX writers from a bunch of different companies. Even though they all work on completely different products, they face shockingly similar challenges.

So he sets out to capture a few of the challenges us content writers face. “None of these conversations are real, but they’re all based on real-life situations,” he says. “If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to be a UX/digital writer, here’s a little preview.”

  1. “I just need one word”
    Designer: “Hey, I need to come up with a label for this button. Can you help me out?”
    Writer: “Sure. What does the button do?”
    Designer: “Well, it sends a private message to everyone in the thread who hasn’t replied yet. Then it creates a separate thread with just those people. And that new thread doesn’t show up on their profile.”
    Writer: “Okay. And there’s only room for one word?”
    Designer: “Right. I just need one word.”
  2.  “Technical reasons”
    Developer: “Because of technical reasons, we can’t change the system. You’ll just have to write some UI copy that explains how it works.”
    Writer: “Can we at least show different messages for different scenarios?”
    Developer: “Nope, can’t do that either.”
    Writer: “Because of technical reasons?”
    Developer: “Yep.”
  3.  “Punch it up”
    CEO: “Yeah, I’m not really feelin’ it. Can you punch it up some more? Add an exclamation point or something.”
    Writer: “But there’s already an exclamation point down here.”
    CEO: “Yeah, just add a few more. It needs more pop. Don’t explain it. Exclaim it!”
  4.  “Legal disclaimer”
    Product manager: “Legal says we need to add a disclaimer here. There’s a 0.0005% chance it won’t work as expected.”
    Writer: “But nobody’s gonna read a disclaimer​ down there.”
    Product manager: “Yeah, so in case you didn’t hear, Legal says we need to add a disclaimer here. Can you whip something up real quick?”
  5. “Sounds funny”
    Client: “I don’t like how this sentence sounds.”
    Writer: “Oh, okay. Can you tell me more?”
    Client: “I don’t know. It’s the words. They just sound kinda funny to me. Can you make it better?”
  6.  “Can’t localize it”
    Localization: “Our translator is saying this term doesn’t exist in their language. Can you rewrite it?”
    Writer: “But we’re using this term all over the—”
    Localization: “Sorry, you’ll have to rewrite it. All of it.”
  7. “It’ll only take a minute”
    Coworker: “Hey, you’re a writer, right? Can you help me edit this one thing real quick? It should only take a minute.”
    Writer: “Sure! How can I help?”
    (5 hours pass)
    Coworker: “Hey, still workin’ on those edits?”
    Writer: (Typing and clicking furiously) “Uh, yeah… Just give me another minute.”
  8. “What words?”
    Stranger: “So what do you do?”
    Writer: “I’m a writer. I write words that show up in Dropbox.”
    Stranger: “Wait, Dropbox has words? What words?”
  9. “More designers!”
    Director: “Great news! We just hired 15 more designers!”
    Writer: “Awesome! Does that mean we hired more writers, too?”
    Director: “No writers, just designers.”
    Writer: “Oh. So who’s going to write all the words?”
    (Birds chirping in the distance)
  10. “Because SEO”
    Marketing: “According to our SEO research, these 8 keywords are really trending right now. Can you work these keywords into the homepage copy?”
    Writer: “But we don’t use these terms anywhere in our product.”
    Marketing: “Yeah, but SEO. Don’t you want to get more clicks?”

Makes my head hurt!

This article has been repurposed from an original Medium post by John Saito.