You probably don’t like writing if you’re anything like me. It takes a lot of time and frequently seems like overkill. Nevertheless, I try to set my worries aside since I believe writing is a skill every designer should possess. It is an effective communicative tool and a well-arranged way of achieving goals as a team.
Every design project or task needs documentation at some point in the process, whether it’s a technical write-up for your development team or a client specification document. Straightforwardness and technicality in writing are essential for success in the design industry, but these are not the only things. Clarity, conciseness, and fluency ensure the effective delivery of your writing.
A well-written brief helps everyone on your team understand the requirements. Besides providing complete information, you’ll have a better product if everyone starts with the same expectations. Documentation is critical to the success of any project. However, avoiding misunderstandings or ambiguity during the development process is crucial. Clear instructions keep everyone on the same page regarding the intentions and objectives, guaranteeing a high-quality outcome.
🤔 The importance of writing as a UI Designer
Nowadays, designers do much more than draw the next designs on paper; we must provide proper written documentation and analysis. Eloquent and well-structured writing is beneficial even if you’re not a designer who creates specifications because you probably still need to communicate with the developers about their work from time to time — that’s usually when the role of writing is most important! Setting up a guide will help you create documents that are clear and easy to understand for both yourself and your colleagues. Verbal communication is rarely the most effective way of explaining your ideas to developers since everyone isn’t given enough time to express their ideas and feedback comprehensively. But by writing them down, you have plenty of time to review and arrange them to be more direct and coherent.
At my previous job, I often wrote documentation and instructions for components as a guide for the developers I worked with. At first, the developers and I had difficulty taking note of the information and requests we were exchanging while fully expressing our thoughts right after. It was time-consuming and exhausting, so it became an inefficient communication method. So, in our case, I wrote the information down instead. This had a dual benefit: it ensured that they understood everything thoroughly and allowed me to communicate my thoughts off my chest without explaining everything verbally. I believe the latter is such an important detail because there are words easier said in writing.
Documentation is important in the design process because it allows you to review your idea and ensure you understand it clearly before explaining it to someone else. Documentation helps you improve the quality of your work in the long run. It’s vital to remember to keep your documents up-to-date and use proper formatting, as it will allow your audience to digest the information with ease and clarity.
I note the page’s purpose when I make my UI documentation. Then, I list the key information the viewer needs to know about the page. I also explain what the page should look like and its functionality once completed. Finally, I describe each of the functionalities the page should have if the user is navigating through a menu or if they have more than one tab open in the browser. Creating my system for the documentation process makes the output organized.
Good visual examples are a great way to communicate your design to your team. I recommend it since it helps them understand exactly what you want and how to achieve it. Also, don’t forget that the design should be properly documented. This allows you to make changes and make them quickly identifiable when you view and resolve them, if necessary.
I emphasize the design’s well-made documentation because you must remember to work with a team. Thus, the process should be understood by everyone involved in the project. Besides writing articulate and clear-cut documentation, you should also use the right terminology that the team is knowledgeable about. Using terminology further specifies your thoughts, eventually translating into actions.
Today’s designers are expected to be tech-savvy experts in various fields, including UI design, branding, advertising, animation, illustration, and others. Being able to properly and creatively express yourself through writing will help you stay up-to-date on the latest developments in your field and set you apart from the crowd. It is essential in any creative industry to be able to communicate your ideas.
Moreover, writing allows you to organize your thoughts and turn them into coherent arguments. This enables you to communicate with your audience objectively and compellingly. With the right words, convincing them about the purpose and aims of your project will create excitement among them.
This one may be already obvious due to how imperative it is, but as I said earlier, giving complete and clear instructions and guidelines will help improve the quality of your work. Proofreading is also something that you should cultivate as a habit. In all good writing, there is always a process where you have to go through everything again. Remember to review and revise your documents if necessary since it is a great way to ensure that your ideas sound polished and professional.
😊 How I came to appreciate writing as a designer
Since childhood, I’ve been asked to write essays for school assignments and college applications. But writing was never my strong suit. To me, it was always a chore. However, when I started learning HTML coding at 17, I liked putting words together to express an idea or tell a story. Coding became my niche, my outlet for self-expression. With time, I grew to appreciate writing more and understood how important it is for user interface designers to be able to write.
Overcoming my fear of being judged or criticized for my errors has been one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do as a new writer. I used to be terrified of making errors or failing because I thought it would make me appear bad in front of others; I didn’t want to embarrass myself. I struggled to be critical of my work because I was afraid of what other people would think of me.
However, I’ve reminded myself that we have to start somewhere. The first try might not have the best outcome, but having the courage to take chances and trying to develop your skills is the essential stepping stone toward good writing.
Writing is a valuable skill for any designer because it can help you communicate your ideas more effectively. It can also ensure that you produce high-quality work that meets the client’s requirements.
As for good design, it is always based on strong ideas and creative concepts. Uniquely illustrating these ideas is the key to success in any creative industry. However, in carrying this out, effective communication is just as much of a priority to achieve success in any project you are working on. Good design is always based on strong ideas and creative concepts. Articulating these ideas is the key to success in the creative industries.
🧐 My advice?
A good designer should be able to convey to their customers through effective written communication exactly what they imagine the design to be and its specifications. You don’t need to be a copywriter to be a stunning writer. You must be confident in your writing abilities and know how to communicate clearly. Many people are hesitant to write because they believe that writing is not a necessary skill for designers. But if you’re interested in a career in design, you should invest the time to learn how to write well. The following advice will help you write better:
- To increase your vocabulary, read as much as you can, learn new words, and incorporate them into your writing as much as you can. You can also find inspiration by reading other online professional blogs, articles, and books.
- Practice, practice, practice. To be a successful writer, you must learn how to use English correctly. This takes time and practice, so be patient and don’t lose heart if you don’t get it right away.
- Your writing should be clear and direct to the point, so your readers will understand what you are trying to say. Try to avoid filler words. Try to make your sentences as concise as possible to avoid unnecessary words and phrases.
- Always take some time to brainstorm and come up with a creative idea before you start writing your article or essay. Organizing your thoughts before you start writing will help make writing easier and more efficient.
- Adding here since it helps me a lot, especially when creating documentation. Try to outline your documentation or article. I start with an introduction with a TLDR if possible. Explain with visuals (it can help your reader visualize what you want to express), then add a climax. Then end it with a resolution or conclusion.
Writing is one of the essential skills for a designer, and when combined with your other abilities, you can produce amazing works of art that people will adore. It is important to remember that good design will always start with a great idea, and by learning how to communicate your ideas effectively, you will be able to create awesome designs that your clients or team will love!
My books recommendations:
- Everybody Writes: Your Go-To Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content by Ann Handley
- Writing Is Designing: Words and the User Experience by Michael J. Metts & Andy Welfle
- Writing for Designers by Scott Kubie
- Nicely Said by Kate Kiefer Lee & Nicole Fenton
My most crucial lesson is that you’ll never succeed without trying. Be brave and try something new!