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Writers of Silicon Valley
40 minutes | Mar 23, 2021
How software will help UX writers democratize the design process - Jasper Platz, CEO of Strings
Last month, I spoke wth Chris Baty from Figma - and we talked about how Figma is helping UX writers enter the design process. This month we continue that conversation with the creator of a copy management system. Jasper Platz is NOT a UX writer or content designer. He says that straight up. However, he quickly discovered a love for content design when building other products. So much so, that he decided UX writers need software of their own to manage the copy process. We talk about that in this episode, but we also talk about: How software can democratize design for UX writers What would product managers look like if they came from design? Why is content design getting so much attention? …and more. This was a great chat, so I hope you enjoy it! —————————- Get 20% off courses at the UX Writers Collective! Just use the code PODCAST20. UX Writing Fundamentals The Microcopy Course Chatbot Writing & Design Content Research & Testing Marketing Writing for UX Writers If you like this podcast, please leave a review!
38 minutes | Feb 8, 2021
How Figma's Principal UX Writer (Chris Baty) is helping build design software that UX writers love
One of the biggest challenges for UX writers is figuring out how to embed themselves within the design process. Tools like Figma are making that easier. After all, being able to edit a design without any specific software makes it harder not to give writers access. Which means it’s easier for us to do our job. Chris Baty is the Principal UX Writer at Figma, and was previously the head of UX writing at Dropbox. He’s also the founder of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). He’s a busy guy. He’s also an exceptional champion for all types of writers everywhere. Including content designers. In this episode we talk about him joining Figma, the work he’s doing there to make Figma an exceptional tool for UX writers and content designers, and what it’s like working as a team of one. And so much more. -------------------------- Get 20% off courses at the UX Writers Collective! Just use the code PODCAST20. UX Writing Fundamentals The Microcopy Course Chatbot Writing & Design Content Research & Testing CX Writing for Marketing If you like this podcast, please leave a review!
41 minutes | Dec 8, 2020
What we learned at the Button Conference, with Yael Ben-David, Vicki Siolos, and Duaa Osman
Originally, the UX writing and content strategy community was meant to descend on Seattle for the Button conference. That didn’t happen (obviously). What happened instead was even better. It’s crazy that digital conferences haven’t been a thing until now, but COVID really thrust this one upon us. Today, I’m speaking with some fantastic UX writers and content strategists: Duaa Osman from Google, Yael Ben-David from Fundbox, and Vicki Siolos from Kickstarter. The one thing we have in common? We all attended Button back in late October, probably the first major conference that’s completely dedicated to UX writing and product content strategy. I don’t want to get into detail, but if you missed the conference, let this serve as a reason to invest in the Button on-demand access pass, which is available now. Seriously, it’s worth the money. Enjoy the episode and find out why. If you did attend Button, well, let this serve as a great reminder of the good times we had - and the great things we learned. —————————- The UX Writers Collective is holding a holiday sale! Get 20% off ALL courses through Dec 31! Just use these codes: UX Writing Fundamentals FUN2020 to save $180 The Microcopy Course MICRO2020 to save $45 Chatbot Writing & Design CHAT2020 to save $110 Content Research & Testing TESTING2020 to save $110 CX Writing for Marketing CX2020 to save $85 If you like this podcast, please leave a review!
34 minutes | Nov 25, 2020
From technical to UX writing, working at Apple, and UX writing for electric trucks - Christie Fremon (Rivian)
If you want an anecdote about Steve Jobs and UX writing, then this episode is for you. But that's just the beginning. Christie Fremon is probably one of the most experienced UX writers in the industry. She started as a technical writer, working through companies like Yahoo and Cloud.com in the 2000s, before moving to Apple as a UI writer on iTunes, and then at Google. Now, she's writing for electric vehicles. Weird, right? Except UX writing for the digital aspects of owning an electric car are actually pretty complex...and that's exactly what we talk about in this episode. That, and: - Moving from technical writing to UX writing - What's the difference between the two? - What does it take to succeed as a UX writer at Apple? - What does the UX writing industry need more of? - How others can make the leap from technical to UX writing - UX writing for vehicles - And a pretty cool Steve Jobs anecdote... This episode is jam packed. with so much great information from one of the most experienced UX writers around. Check out Christie: - On LinkedIn - On Twitter - Her book recommendation: Designing for Cognitive Bias If you like this podcast, please leave a review! Listeners get 20% off all courses, including the UX Writing Fundamentals Course, at the UX Writers Collective. Use the code “PODCAST20”. UX Writing Fundamentals Content Research and Testing Chatbot Writing and Design CX Writing
37 minutes | Oct 27, 2020
Going global: UX writing and content strategy outside the United States, with Mario Ferrer
When I named this podcast, I chose to focus the title on “Silicon Valley”. Why? I don’t even live there. It comes down to bias. Today’s episode is about breaking that bias. Mario Ferrer was a senior UX writer at King Games, now he’s a senior UX writer at Skyscanner. He’s also one of the cofounders of the UX Writers Meetup in Barcelona - and he’s perfectly placed to help us understand the UX writing community outside the United States. Why do we focus so much on Silicon Valley? For a good reason - much of the activity happens there. But not all the activity. UX writing and content strategy is a global industry, and so we need to understand what’s happening outside of that sphere, as much as we do what’s inside it. Mario and I talk about his life as a UX writer in games, but we also focus on what it means to work outside of that tech-centric bubble. What does it mean for your work? Your career? Your life choices? I’m in the same situation as Mario, so we got along great. I hope you’ll enjoy what we have to say. Check out: Mario’s website Mario on LinkedIn Mario on Twitter Writers of Silicon Valley is on: LinkedIn Twitter If you like this podcast, please leave a review! Listeners get 20% off all courses, including the UX Writing Fundamentals Course, at the UX Writers Collective. Use the code “PODCAST20”. UX Writing Fundamentals Content Research and Testing Chatbot Writing and Design CX Writing
36 minutes | Oct 9, 2020
Think bigger: how UX writers can embrace content strategy, with Kristina Halvorson
First thing’s first: listeners to the podcast can get 15% of tickets to Button! Use the code “UXWC” at checkout to get 15% off: www.buttonconf.com. Kristina Halvorson is the CEO and founder of Brain Traffic, the coauthor of Content Strategy for the Web, the founder of Confab Events, and the host of The Content Strategy Podcast. Her seminal article, The Discipline of Content Strategy, was published in 2008 by A List Apart, the world’s most popular online magazine for web professionals. Needless to say, she knows her stuff. This month Kristina will launch Button - Brain Traffic’s first conference dedicated to product content strategy. In this chat, we talk about Button, why UX writers should be excited about it…but also, we pick up on something Scott Kubie and I discussed: what is the future of UX writing? Kristina makes the point that UX writers shouldn’t necessarily stay UX writers forever. They need to embrace content strategy if they want to move forward in their careers. And we talk about how to do just that. I hope you enjoy our talk! Check out: Button (Get 15% off with UXWC15!) Kristina on Twitter Contentstrategy.com Writers of Silicon Valley is on: LinkedIn Twitter If you like this podcast, please leave a review!
44 minutes | Sep 19, 2020
What UX writing and content strategy get wrong (and how to get better), with Scott Kubie
So many of the conversations on this podcast have been focused on the relationships between UX writing and content strategy. My guest today wants to help clear that up a little bit. Scott Kubie is one of the most well-regarded voices in content strategy. Currently a free agent on contract at Mailchimp, Scott's worked previously as the Lead Content Strategist at Brain Traffic (alongside content strategy expert Kristina Halvorson). Before that, he worked as a content strategist and interface writer at Wolfram Research and a mobile app startup. To put it bluntly, Scott and I talk about some things that really annoy us about UX content and content strategy in this episode. But, we also talk about how we think things can improve. So stick around - the future looks good. Check out: Scott's book, Writing for Designers His newsletter, UX writing events Scott on Twitter Scott on LinkedIn If you like this podcast, please leave a review! Listeners get 20% off all courses, including the UX Writing Fundamentals Course, at the UX Writers Collective. Use the code “PODCAST20”. UX Writing Fundamentals Content Research and Testing Chatbot Writing and Design CX Writing
41 minutes | Aug 5, 2020
Ditto: the two Stanford grads creating UX writing software
“Text might be its own vertical in the product stack.” I don’t think I’ve ever been so impressed by people so young. I’m 33, so I’m allowed to say that now. For a while, guests on the podcast have asked me: is there a way to manage our copy end-to-end? For a long time, the best answer I’ve had to give is something like Airtable. But now, Jessica Ouyang and Jolena Ma have created Ditto - and it’s the answer to a lot of prayers. In this episode, I speak with Jessica and Jolena about their product Ditto, what it means for UX writers and content strategists, how they developed the product, what it’s like going through the Y Combinator process, and where they want to take it. If you’ve been on the search for a way to manage your copy within a full system, this interview is for you. If you want to get a briefing on what might be the most important tool to hit UX writing and content strategists in some time, this interview is for you. If you want to hear from two talented product managers about what they feel are some of the biggest trends in UX writing and content strategy? I think you get it. Enjoy. -------------- - Ditto (dittowords.com) - The Dash newsletter (Sign up here) I hope you enjoy the podcast, and as always, please leave a review on Apple Podcasts if you enjoy the content! It helps others find the pod. Listeners get 20% off all courses, including the UX Writing Fundamentals Course, at the UX Writers Collective. Use the code “PODCAST20”. UX Writing Fundamentals Content Research and Testing Chatbot Writing and Design CX Writing
31 minutes | Jun 21, 2020
12 essential pieces of UX writing wisdom
Please donate to these national organisations in the United States advocating for racial justice: The Bail Project National Bail Fund Network Act Blue (Donation split between 39 community bail funds) Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law NAACP Legal Defence Fund ACLU LGBTQ Freedom Fund ------------------------------------------------------------------ It's been just over a year since I started Writers of Silicon Valley. In that time I've interviewed 12 expert UX writers and content strategists from around the world. They've worked at companies like Google, Spotify, Facebook, Netflix, Uber, and more. And I've tried to share as much wisdom as I can from these interviews - but listening to 12 episodes can take up a huge amount of time. So, today I'm doing something a little special. I've gone through the past year's worth of episodes and I've combined what I think are among the 12 best pieces of advice for UX writers, both beginner and veteran alike. My aim here is to give you practical tools that you can take away, and put into your everyday work. Plus, I know that more people are finding the podcast every day - and it can be a slog to go back through a podcast history! So I'm helping you out - maybe you'll hear something you like and then find that episode and listen to it in full. Either way, I hope this episode gives you something useful. The wisdom comes from: Roy West Sophie Tahran Kathryn Strauss Hillary Black Annie Adams Ryan Farrell Angela Gorden Tamara Hilmes Gordon Macrae Andy Welfle / Michael J Metts Ben Barone-Nugent Shayla Byrd ------------------------------------------------------------------ Looking to upskill? The UX Writers Collective offers the world's leading training in UX writing and content strategy - from expert UX writers who have worked at companies like Google, Amazon, Intuit, MYOB, and more. Listeners to the podcast get 20% off ANY course. Just use the code PODCAST20 at checkout: - UX Writing Fundamentals - Content Research and Testing - Chatbot Writing and Design - CX Writing for Marketing Engagement
40 minutes | May 6, 2020
Accessibility and diversity in UX writing, with Google's Shayla Byrd
Ever wondered what it’s like to work at Google? Sure you have. In today’s episode, I speak with Shayla Byrd, a UX writer at Google, about what it’s like there - and so much more. This might be one of the most illuminating conversations I’ve had in a long time. Shayla has an extensive history, ranging from poetry to journalism. Shayla Byrd is a New York-based writer who works at Google as a content strategist and UX writer. Before working in tech, she used her words to tell stories (People, InStyle, VIBE, and The Source magazines) and sell things online (macys.com, armstrong agency). Now she uses her words to help people all around the world understand and engage with cool tech. In this episode, we talk about: Accessibility and diversity in UX writing What it’s like to work as a Google UX writer How UX writers can make sure their copy is truly accessible This conversation truly opened my eyes. I hope you enjoy it. Shayla mentioned this book: Articulating Design Decisions Listeners get 20% off all courses, including the UX Writing Fundamentals Course, at the UX Writers Collective. Use the code “PODCAST20”. UX Writing Fundamentals Content Research and Testing Chatbot Writing and Design CX Writing
40 minutes | Mar 3, 2020
How to be a successful UX writer at Netflix (and anywhere), with Ben Barone-Nugent
Early Bird tickets for the UX Writing + Content Design Summit are now on sale! Buy now and save $100. Don’t miss out! Visit www.uxwcdsummit.com ————————————————————————- Streaming media is the big war right now in tech. Apple wants a piece, Amazon wants it, Disney is hitting out in a big way. But Netflix was there first, and so I was fascinated to have this conversation with Ben Barone-Nugent about the design challenges there. Specifically, the design challenges associated with words and language. Ben Barone-Nugent has been everywhere. Facebook, Whatsapp, creative agencies like R/GA. He even hails from my own home town of Melbourne, Australia. Instant bonding. Lovely. In this conversation, we cover: what’s it like to work at Netflix? How do you succeed as a UX writer there? What are the specific design challenges you have when it comes to using words in an app like Netflix? And what is A/B testing like there? ————————————————————————- I hope you enjoy the podcast, and as always, please leave a review on Apple Podcasts if you enjoy the content! It helps others find the pod. Listeners get 20% off the UX Writing Fundamentals course at the UX Writers Collective. Use the code “PODCAST20”. Check it out!
25 minutes | Jan 22, 2020
#11: The essential book on UX Writing, with Andy Welfle and Michael J Metts
There have been a few books on UX writing published, all of them very good, but I think this one might take the cake. Andy Welfle and Michael J Metts have written "Writing is Designing". I think it advances the conversation as it approaches writing as a design tool, and builds on the great work that has already been published by other UX writers. Listen to our conversation and you'll see why. A few things: 1. Buy Writing is Designing from Rosenfeld Media 2. Andy and Michael are hosting a launch event in San Francisco on January 27. You should go. 3. Follow Andy and Michael on Twitter. 4. The UX Writers Collective and San Francisco UX Writers Meetup are hosting a conference: The UX Writing and Content Design Summit 2020. Check it out and propose your talk! 5. As always, listeners get 20% off the UX Writing Fundamentals course and the Content Testing & Research course at the UX Writers Collective with the code "PODCAST20".
45 minutes | Jan 4, 2020
Episode #10 - How to get hired as a UX writer in 2020, with Gordon MacRea
Are you looking for a job as a UX writer in 2020? Then no hyperbole: you need to listen to this podcast. Gordon MacRae is an instructional designer, product manager, UX writer, and more. He started the UX Writing Jobs newsletter in 2018 to collate all the opportunities for UX writers around the world, and he's learned more along the way about the market than just about anyone else. After all, you don't talk with hiring managers and read job ads every month without understanding a thing or two about the UX writing job market. In this podcast, we talk about everything to do with hiring UX writers in 2020, and getting hired. We talk about: - What skills you need - The trends in UX Writing job descriptions - What managers are looking for - What to avoid - How the standards are rising for good UX writers - How to stand out to hiring managers - And so, so much more Seriously, this discussion is gold for anyone who's looking for a job. We talk about the trends you need to know in order to get hired in 2020. Even if you're happy in your current role, you should listen to understand what the market is doing. After all, who knows what 2020 will bring. What better way to start the year? I hope you enjoy the podcast, and as always, please leave a review on Apple Podcasts if you enjoy the content! It helps others find the pod. Listeners get 20% off the UX Writing Fundamentals course and the Content Research and Testing course at the UX Writers Collective. Use the code “PODCAST20”. Check it out!
37 minutes | Nov 26, 2019
Episode #9 - UX Writing at Spotify, with Tamara Hilmes
Spotify! Do you use it? Probably. Remember when we owned CDs? Crazy. Actually, you know what’s crazy? Paying for stuff I don’t have in my hands. I’m 32, so I still want to read that lyrics sheet damn it. No, streaming is better. And Tamara Hilmes is one of the people making it better. She’s a UX Writing Manager at Spotify, and she and I spent some time talking about her background, what makes working at Spotify so great, and the skills she needs to succeed at a major company there - and how to succeed as a UX writer, specifically. Her experience is impressive. Foursquare, Vimeo, and she’s written a ton about UX writing in general. Say hi to Tamara on Linkedin. Many thanks to the team at Spotify for featuring Writers of Silicon Valley on their Events page! I hope you enjoy the podcast, and as always, please leave a review on Apple Podcasts if you enjoy the content! It helps others find the pod. Listeners get 20% off the UX Writing Fundamentals course and the Content Research and Testing course at the UX Writers Collective. Use the code “PODCAST20”. Check it out!
36 minutes | Sep 4, 2019
How does UX writing work at Dropbox? With Angela Gorden.
Dropbox is one of those fascinating companies. Steve Jobs wanted to buy it at one point. Now it's huge. HUGE. With that growth comes a need for UX writing, and that's why Angela Gorden is here today. Angela Gorden is all about making big ideas easy to absorb. Currently a UX writer and manager at Dropbox, she studied design thinking at Stanford University and creative writing at the University of Iowa. Angela blogs about product, design, and writing on Medium. Angela is a big thinker in the UX writing community, and today we talk about how UX writing works at Dropbox - particularly in such a large team. If you want to learn how UX writing works in a team, this is the pod for you! As always, listeners to this podcast get 20% off the UX Writing Fundamentals course at www.uxwriterscollective.com. Resources mentioned in the show: - On Writing Well - San Francisco UX Writers Meetup - Daily UX Writing - UX Writer Jobs - UX Writing Fundamentals at UX Writers Collective- UX Writer Salary Survey Say “hi” @angiegorden or reach out on LinkedIn. I'm on twitter @pdstafford.
30 minutes | Aug 5, 2019
BONUS: Be a better UX writer, think like a journalist
Yep, I get it. You signed up to listen to other UX writers, not me. In that case I say, skip! Delete! Burn! Destroy your phone, even. Last week I gave a presentation to Content Melbourne, at General Assembly. I spoke about how journalism skills can help you as a UX writer. It’s just a piece of bonus content, so I hope you enjoy it. Resources mentioned in this episode: - Elements of Style - Strategic Writing for UX
45 minutes | Jul 20, 2019
Episode #6 - Good UX writing is boring, with Ryan Farrell
We spend so much time and effort thinking about UX writing that’s “delightful” we often miss the point: form over function. Good UX writing should be…pretty boring, actually. That’s what i discuss in today’s episode with Ryan Farrell. Ryan is a content strategist at GoodRx, but you might very well know him as the creator of the Daily UX Writing Challenge. As of the time this episode went live, the free course had over 2200 students. That’s crazy. Crazy good. In today’s episode, we talk about the newsletter, why Ryan created it, the skills we think are underrated in the UX writing community, and whether Neil Armstrong should have been told “good job” by his onboard computer when landing on the moon. Stuff we mentioned: The Daily UX Writing Challenge The Elements of Fucking Style Find Ryan online: Twitter Enjoy wherever you get your podcasts: Apple Podcasts Google Podcasts Spotify Stitcher I hope you enjoy the podcast, and as always, please leave a review on Apple Podcasts if you enjoy the content! It helps others find the pod. Listeners get 20% off the UX Writing Fundamentals course at the UX Writers Collective. Use the code “PODCAST20”. Check it out!
35 minutes | May 26, 2019
Episode #5 - UX writing in the fashion industry, with Annie Adams
I am terrible at fashion. Well, maybe not too terrible. I can dress myself. I look nice on occasion. But I definitely don’t know the ins and outs, let alone from a UX writing context. That’s why I enjoyed my conversation with Annie Adams so much. At the time we spoke. Annie was working as a UX writer in the fashion industry (she’s still a UX writer, just in a different industry now). Our conversation covered so much - best practices for testing copy, the nuances of the fashion industry, and much more. You’ll just have to listen to find that all out. Enjoy!
49 minutes | Apr 19, 2019
Episode #4 - How to create chatbots that people actually use, with Hillary Black
Yo, chatbots. They’re all the rage, but are they actually going to be a necessary tool for UX writers and content strategists in the future? How essential are they to your arsenal? If they are, what skills do you need to learn? That’s the crux of today’s interview with Hillary Black, VP of Strategy & Conversation Design at Black Ops. Her company has created multiple chatbots for clients in the insurance, finance, and retail industries. She brings a wealth of knowledge to the podcast about what UX writers need to know about this exciting field. Hillary has actually published a fantastic ebook about how to create chatbots, and Writers of Silicon Valley listeners get a free download! Use the code “Podcast” at Gumroad to download your copy. I hope you enjoy the podcast, and as always, please leave a review on Apple Podcasts if you enjoy the content! It helps others find the pod. Stuff we mentioned: Hillary’s ebook on Gumroad Chatbot Conversation Design Club on Facebook Find Hillary online: Twitter
47 minutes | Apr 5, 2019
Episode #3 - Kathryn Strauss, Senior UX Writer - Square
Kathryn Strauss is currently a Senior UX Writer at Square, but her background extends far beyond that with roles at Wells Fargo, US Bank, WebEx, Glassdoor and Weebly. It would take hours to speak about everything she’s done at those roles, so I tried to keep our conversation high level. We spoke about how writers can participate in UX research, the future of the industry, and the types of skills it takes to be a really, really good UX Writer and Content Strategist. Stuff we mentioned: The San Francisco UX Writers Meetup Microcopy: The Complete Guide John Saito on Medium
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