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UX writing for small companies and NGOs

Digital progress has reshaped the way programs are delivered to beneficiaries and has clearly displayed the positive outcomes digital transformation yields. User experience in the center of it seems to be mostly a topic for digital startups and larger companies with a budget who can hire specialized people for the different jobs in customer and user experience – even if they often only invest in exceptional UX either at founding or when user pain causes adequate business pain.

But the more noise there is on the internet and in the market, the more also green and social impact organizations need great UX to get their message to their audience, customers, and the public’s awareness of their causes.

Still, tackling UX let alone something so specific as UX writing may seem daunting when you don’t have the specialists and resources of bigger companies. But it’s no use putting it off, as this is one of the most important things you need to do to remain competitive and take your organization or business a step further. While you may not be able to compete with their reach and spend you can compete with them by implementing a simple, intuitive user experience on your website and in your digital product or service.

That’s where these three entry points can help you start and try it out first without losing time and money.

1. Individual engagement from within the team

There’s more than often an interested and dedicated person on your team who would be excited to dig into the topic, do some, research and summarize the findings for the team, to get you started.

Here are some great low-cost starting sources:

  • Read a practical book “Strategic Writing for UX” by Torrey Podmajersky or “UX Writing & Microcopy” by Kinneret Yifrah
  • Listen to podcasts like “Writers of Silicon Valley” by Patrick Stafford or “Writer in Tech” by Yuval Keshtcher
  • Follow the free mini-course of the UX Writing Hub or more online pieces of training from the UX Writers Collective

When tackling your first important content, copy, and flow, you don’t need to start from scratch. Inspiration from websites and products of your competitors and collaborators offers an additional foundation for improving your user experience from a writing perspective. 

Especially when you decide to build a content style guide to help your team, check out the ones from Mailchimp, Spotify, the UK.GOV, and more. 

And start building your own from the one that speaks most to you.

2. Working session with the team

Have an evening or half-day you would like to dedicate with your team? Great, plan and conduct a UX writing workshop with the people who write the content so far and bring it into your product.

Your goals for the session could be to

  • Create a common understanding and direction for the team.
  • Highlight the most important and problematic copy.
  • Find process and flow challenges.
  • Get comfortable with an editing flow “purposeful → concise → conversational → clear”.
  • Establish new feedback loops and copy-first process.
  • Try out new tools like the UX content scorecard or conversation mining.

If you work remotely at the moment, don’t let it stop you! Miro or Mural are great tools combined with a video chat like Zoom or MS Teams to make you feel almost like in a “real workshop session”.

Depending on your focus for the workshop session, your dedicated person or a great facilitator on the team can get you started. You can always contact a UX writer to draft and facilitate the workshop for you to get the most out of your time while keeping “the budget and risk low”.

3. Win-win: Training on the job

So, you know from your data or user feedback you have urgent and important topics to correct in your flow and copy, but don’t have time, people, or ideas to solve these? 

Get yourself some support from outside and hire a freelance UX writer to analyze and correct the status quo for you. Instead of just “fixing the copy” let them take you with them through the thought process step by step. 

Within a couple of sessions, you can correct the most urgent and important copy while learning from an experienced person how to approach these topics and incorporate the steps into your teamwork. You can always scale according to your budget while you get more comfortable with the process and the outcome you can expect.

Don’t let your budget hold you back from elevating your actions as an NGO, not-for-profit, or green startup. People have always been very creative with solutions when they have to act within time and budget restrictions.

If you don’t know where to find the right people, contacting a training provider like the UX Writing hub and asking for local recommendations can be your best way through the maze. 

Final thoughts

The user experience and interface are critical in reaching your audience. By familiarizing yourself with the different areas of user experience, you can systematically work on creating a better UX design for your customers.

Use these ideas to get a starting point. Experiment and tryout within the team. Once you feel comfortable with the new process and get a feeling for the positive impact, you can start to think about how to incorporate even more UX writing into your website, product, or service design process.

Be bold.

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