What we learned at our first UX writing meetup

What we learned at our first UX writing meetup

GetYourGuide’s Localization and UX Writing teams recently hosted our first UX writing in Berlin meetup. The meetup focused on what UX writing is, how we practice it at GetYourGuide, and how we adapt user interface copy to international markets.

The meetup attendees made this event so special. People came from all kinds of companies, roles, and cultures. It was an occasion to learn and to gain insights from different angles.

Those passionate about UX writing and localization joined us in our Kreuzberg office for our first UX writing meetup.

Those passionate about UX writing and localization joined us in our Kreuzberg office for our first UX writing meetup.

Learning by chewing

Berlin’s innovation/startup scene rocks, but there’s not enough UX writing on the agenda. So we decided to order a motherload of pizza and set up a meetup that was free, open to all, and down to earth. The attendants were as diverse as the pizza toppings, but everyone got the opportunity to share, ask, and learn about UX writing.

Since we were hosting, we figured why not start off by sharing how we do it at GetYourGuide? Amanda Mohlenhoff, UX Writing Manager, showed the anatomy of our own UX writing team and what tasks they tackle.

Both the presenters and the audience tackled thought-provoking questions about UX.

Both the presenters and the audience tackled thought-provoking questions about UX.

Special guest of the night was Yuval Keshtcher, Founder of UX Writing Hub. He shared his journey from graphic design to leading a UX writing community. The pool of learning resources for UX writers is not very large, so Yuval started the Facebook group Microcopy & UX Writing which now has over 6000 members.

Besides also creating a UX writing training program through uxwritinghub.com, Yuval and his team are planning an international UX writing conference in 2020. You don’t want to miss that!

Principles of UX writing

Ian Good, UX Writer at GetYourGuide, pulled out examples of UX writing at its best and worst and quoted his very own manager for explaining the purpose of UX writing:

The end goal of UX writing is to help the customer accomplish their goals as effortlessly as possible.
— Amanda Mohlenhoff

Actionable copy is clear, concise, and consistent. The audience was amused by examples of copy that failed on all three principles and Ian proved the point with this quote:

Good design, when it’s done well, becomes invisible. It’s only when it’s done poorly that we notice it.
— Jared Spool

The key takeaway from Ian’s talk and something for us all to keep in mind was the guiding principle that empathy is fundamental to crafting a good user experience.

Localization is UX

Shamefully simply put, localization is translation with context. Mette Thomsen, Danish Language Specialist at GetYourGuide, broke down how localization is the central discipline for tailoring products to users all around the world.

Localizing a user interface is about making a product culturally appropriate without breaking its functionality.

Great localization begins with great copy, so having UX writers in the company makes life worth living for language specialists. Our close collaboration ensures that the UX writers’ hard-won user experience gems shine within international markets.

Localization is generally challenged by a lack of context and lack of product knowledge. English comes first and this creates a sense of distance between the product and the other languages. Mette’s key message was to bridge this gap through more collaboration, local user insight, and tools for local testing, so that no user feels like a “second-rate” user.

Mette, Yuval, and Ian speaking on the panel

Mette, Yuval, and Ian speaking on the panel

Pass the mic

To close the evening, we had a panel discussion where the speakers and audience took turns answering questions such as:

  • Why are companies now starting to invest in the language within their software?

  • What are common misconceptions people have about UX writing and localization?

  • What’s the smartest way to prove UX writing makes a difference?

Thanks to everyone who came by. It was called meetup #1 for a reason – there will be more. Stay on top of all our upcoming events via our meetups page.

Ian, Amanda, Yuval, and Mette ending the night with a smile.

Ian, Amanda, Yuval, and Mette ending the night with a smile.

Interesting in joining our Localization or UX Writing teams? Check out our open positions.

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