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Strategic Writing for UX by Torrey Podmajersky

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Chapter 5. Edit, Because They Didn’t Go There to Read

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Edit, Because They Didn’t Go There to Read

I try to leave out the parts that people skip.

—Elmore Leonard, writer

Editing is the process of iterating the text to make sure that it meets its purpose, it’s concise, it’s conversational, and it’s clear to the person using the experience.

Although spelling and punctuation are important, we are not limited to these basics. Instead, by imagining even radical changes to the text, we can edit our way to achieving the goals of the organization, the brand, and the people who will use the experience.

It is essential to edit text inside the designs, seeing the text in place on the screen as you edit. The text will be read and be understood differently if it is moved in the apparent hierarchy of a screen or even if it wraps differently. By working in the design, we can vary which words have prominence and keep our eyes on width and length, and leave enough space for translated UX text to grow longer. More information about the tools and process of editing text in the design is in Chapter 7.

Editing can be a fluid process in which many variables are changed as inspiration strikes. But this isn’t a book about how to make inspiration strike, so in this chapter, I present the structured process that works for me—even when inspiration is taking a break.

Editing in Four Phases

We want the text to meet at least these four goals:

  • Purposeful
  • Concise
  • Conversational
  • Clear

It is possible to ...

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