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Strategic Writing for UX by Torrey Podmajersky

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Chapter 1. Why: Meet the Goals of People and the Organization

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Why: Meet the Goals of People and the Organization

If you think good design is expensive, you should look at the cost of bad design.

—Ralf Speth, CEO of Jaguar Land Rover

“We need to hire someone to fix the words!” I have heard this phrase from multiple people on teams I’ve worked on and UX leaders I’ve talked with. In each case, the person can point to the places in the experience where the words are “broken.” These people have recognized that fixing the words would help their organization or the people who use their experiences advance in some important way.

In each case I’ve seen, there is enough “fixing” to keep a person busy for years, but fixing the words will never be enough. Consider this metaphor: an experience with broken words is a house with broken walls. Fix the words as you would repair the walls.

If there’s only one broken wall, and it was built robustly, and the hole doesn’t affect the electrical, plumbing, or architectural support the building needs, we can fix it cheaply. When an experience is built with consistent terminology, voice, information architecture, and ways to find, maintain, internationalize, and update its content, all we would need to do is fix the words.

When those things haven’t been considered, and the breaks go through electrical, plumbing, or supporting timbers, then words can’t fix the hole by themselves.

We will need a strategic approach to fix the underlying experience. ...

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