UX Writer v Technical Author

UX Writer Skillset Checklist:

Writing and Editing Skills
  • Ability to write clear, concise, and compelling copy
  • Grammar, punctuation, and style proficiency
Editing and proofreading skill
  • Ability to write clear, concise, and persuasive copy
  • Grammar, punctuation, and style proficiency
  • Editing and proofreading skills
User-Centred Design Understanding
  • Knowledge of UX principles and design thinking
  • Ability to create content that enhances user experience
  • Proficiency in developing user personas and journey maps
Research Skills
  • Competence in user research and usability testing
  • Ability to analyse and interpret user feedback
  • Skill in adapting content based on research findings
Technical Proficiency
  • Familiarity with design and prototyping tools (e.g., Sketch, Figma)
  • Basic understanding of HTML/CSS
Collaboration and Communication
  • Ability to work with UX designers, developers, and product managers
  • Strong interpersonal and communication skills
Project Management
  • Time management and ability to meet deadlines
  • Experience with agile and scrum methodologies
SEO and Analytics
  • Knowledge of SEO best practices
  • Ability to use analytics to inform content decisions

Technical Author Skillset Checklist:

Technical Writing Skills
  • Expertise in creating clear and informative technical documents
  • Ability to explain complex information in a readable format
  • Proficiency in document structuring and technical editing
Research and Analysis
  • Strong ability to gather and analyse technical data
  • Skill in interviewing with subject matter experts
Technical Knowledge
  • Understanding of the technology or products being documented
  • Ability to learn and understand new technologies
Documentation Tools
  • Proficiency in technical writing tools (e.g., MadCap Flare, Adobe RoboHelp)
  • Knowledge of version control systems (e.g., Git)
Attention to Detail
  • High level of accuracy and attention to detail in technical descriptions
  • Ability to maintain consistency across multiple documents
Project Management
  • Experience managing documentation projects
  • Ability to coordinate with various teams and stakeholders
Regulatory Knowledge
  • Understanding of industry-specific regulations and standards
  • Ability to ensure documents comply with legal and regulatory requirements

where do the skill sets of UX writers and technical authors crossover?

Despite having different purposes, UX writers and technical authors share critical skills in content creation.

  1. Clarity and Simplicity: UX writers and technical authors prioritise clarity in communication. UX writers focus on making interfaces intuitive and easy for users, while technical authors simplify complex technical information for readers.
  2. Audience Understanding: Both roles require a deep understanding of their audience. UX writers need to grasp user behaviour and psychology to craft user-centric content. Technical authors must understand their readers’ knowledge level and needs (often developers or technical users).
  3. Writing and Communication: Strong writing skills are essential for both roles. UX writers excel in concise and engaging microcopy (e.g., buttons, error messages), while technical authors write comprehensive documentation or manuals that are structured and informative.
  4. Empathy and Advocacy: UX writers and technical authors advocate for their users or readers. UX writers ensure that user needs are met through language and interaction design, while technical authors advocate for precise, accurate information that helps users achieve their goals.
  5. Collaboration: Collaboration with designers, developers, and subject matter experts is crucial for both roles. UX writers work closely with designers to integrate language into the user interface, while technical authors collaborate with engineers and product teams to gather accurate information.
  6. Research Skills: Both roles require research skills, though the focus differs. UX writers research user behaviour, conduct usability tests, and iterate based on feedback. Technical authors investigate technical facts, write about procedures, and ensure accuracy through testing and peer review.

While these roles have distinct purposes and outputs, professionals in both fields benefit from a combination of linguistic proficiency, user empathy, technical aptitude, and a commitment to clarity and simplicity in communication. This overlap allows for a fluid exchange of skills and knowledge, especially in interdisciplinary teams that create user-friendly products and comprehensive documentation.

Employers can use this checklist to assess the skills and suitability of potential UX writers and technical authors for their teams.

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