3 Must Have Resources for a UX Writing Career

Originally published on LDavidWrites.com

It’s amazing when I see job postings for UX writing positions and part of the requirements are “3-5 years UX writing experience”. I don’t think it’s dawned on most companies yet that UX writing isn’t exactly an ancient profession. In fact, it’s so new that as of last check, Glassdoor doesn’t even recognize it as an official job title.

So what gives? UX writing is a new discipline combining some elements of copywriting, content writing, and a little UX design. The definition, or at least my definition, is that it’s the art writing professional copy for a digital product with a purpose to engage and interact with the user.

That means that every piece of content a UX writer creates has to have a distinctive purpose to keep it’s user engaged through a design process; in most cases this means the copy you see on an app or mobile platform.

Because UX writing is such a new profession, there is a limited amount of resources or references for how to develop the craft. After all, there’s no UX writing degree, or even certification at this point.

HOW DO YOU BREAK INTO UX WRITING?

The most obvious answer is to work in house at a company that engages with digital products. If you’re working for a company with an app or website, it’s likely that you already have a UX writer (even if it’s not exactly called that). For many people, it usually starts by accepting a role as a digital marketer, copywriter, or even UX designer, and gradually shifting the focus or responsibility to UX writing specifically.

But what about the people just trying to break into the field from a clean slate?

Many design and technical schools now offer UX Writing specific courses to educate people on the craft of UX writing. Some colleges now offer it as well.

But if you’re looking for some online material, here’s the best I found personally:

3 ONLINE RESOURCES ON UX WRITING

  1. Microcopy: The Complete Guide by Kinneret Yifrah. This is the definitive UX Writing copy book according to many others in the field, including myself. Kinneret does a masterful job breaking down the purpose behind each UX strategy, and how UX Writers can maximize their impact.
  2. Facebook Groups. This might not sound like the best place to go for writing tips, but there are a few solid Facebook groups dedicated to UX writing that I think pay off wonderfully. I have not only received a job offer through connections I’ve made in one, but have also learned valuable insight and expertise by some of the best in the field.
  3. Medium. Hands-down the most important and viable platform to receive helpful tips, industry expertise, and staying ahead of current trends and news, Medium has something for everyone, at every skill level. Their articles on UX writing far surpass anything you’ll find currently whether in a text book or classroom. I have some articles I’ve written myself which you can read here: https://medium.com/@leonardraymundo

As with anything, UX Writing is a discipline that requires a little of professional insight mixed with a little first-hand experience and experimentation. Thankfully, there are a number of ways to get professional expertise without the need to fork over thousands to a university. I suggest starting out by networking on Facebook or LinkedIn, and take at least an hour each day to learn about the process of UX writing, depending on how serious about it you want to get.

Hopefully you’ll find these as useful as I have.

Travel Gear for the Adventuring Pet Owner

Originally published on LeonardRaymundo.org

Travel-Gear-for-the-Adventuring-Pet-Owner

Pet owners of all kinds understand the joy of bringing their animal companions along with them on trips, whether that is to the beach, across the country on a road trip, or flying overseas. However, this can come as a challenge depending on certain travel requirements or restrictions. For example, not all hotels are pet-friendly, and most airlines require a hefty amount of paperwork to accommodate for your furry friend.

Thankfully, there are plenty of different types of travel gear specifically designed for cats and dogs on the go that could make traveling much less burdensome for both pets and pet owners. The following are a number of convenient items you can find anywhere online.

The Bubble Pet Carrier

Allow your pet to travel in safety and style while also giving them a nice view to enjoy. U-Pet created the Bubble Pet Carrier for cats and small dogs to be carried around safely in the comfort of a backpack that includes ventilation holes, mesh panels, and a security leash. The small bubble-like window also gives them a view of their surroundings for added enjoyment.

Ellie Dog Wear Raincoat

Perfect for inclement weather, this bright yellow raincoat is designed to keep your dog (no matter how big or small) dry and comfortable. All sizes are adjustable and come with a removable hoodie depending on your dog’s personal preferences. Pockets are included should you be traveling with any treats or toys. Rain, sleet, or snow, your dog will be able to endure all types of conditions.

The Paw Plunger

The outdoors can get dirty, especially when you’re hiking, camping, or venturing off the beaten path. Your pets should have the option of showering off just as you do. This is where the Paw Plunger comes into play. A portable mini-shower completed with removable brushes, this tool is perfect for traveling pets. The only steps necessary include filling the plunger with water and dipping your pet’s paws in. After all, walking around with mud, dirt, or sand is uncomfortable for all species.

Portable Water Tray

Another great device for campers and hikers, portable water trays are ideal for keeping all pets hydrated. These are made by a number of different companies, so feel free to do some research to find the best one for you and your furry companion.

Auto Zip Line

Driving isn’t exactly a walk in the park for most pets, both literally and metaphorically. Some dogs may find it difficult to stand or stay balanced in a moving vehicle, which is why the Kurgo Auto Zip Line for dogs is the perfect solution. This product attaches a leash to two fixed points in the backseat of any car while also giving your dog the freedom to move back and forth. It is secure enough to prevent any sudden movements from the dog in the event of a sudden stop. Keeping canines secure since 2003, Kurgo’s mission is to make exploring the world better, safer, and more fun for dogs.

Overnight Economy Flights: How to Survive the Long Haul

Originally published on LeonardRaymundo.org

Flying does not come easy for all travelers, especially for those flying for 10-12 hours or more. Overnight flights can be difficult for even the most experienced economy flyers, and not having an actual bed to sleep in like those in first class doesn’t help. However, there are a number of tips and tricks you can use to make the trip itself much easier, the following being just a few.

Take Advantage of Upgrades

This does not mean immediately upgrade to first or business class. Not only is that often an extremely expensive decision, it would contradict this entire blog. But, if you can pay a little extra for additional legroom or a recliner seat, take advantage of those small opportunities to maximize your comfort and chance to actually sleep on the flight.

These upgrades might also come with priority boarding, allowing you to beat the rush of everyone else joining you on your flight. Knowing how long and taxing immigration lines can be, this perk alone is usually enough to convince economy flyers that the small bump in price is worth it.

Eat Beforehand

Almost everyone has heard the cliche line from standup comedians, “What’s the deal with airline food?” The reason being, airline food is not always that great. It’s even lower quality in economy. To avoid getting on a long flight with an empty stomach, essentially relying on the in-flight meals, eat in an airport restaurant or at home before your flight. This can also help you fall asleep sooner and faster while you’re up in the air.

Do Not Drink Beforehand

Unlike food, drinking liquids right before the flight will only result in you having to stand up and use the restroom more frequently. The same goes for drinking one too many alcoholic beverages mid-flight. While there’s nothing wrong with a glass of wine or two to help you sleep better, pounding several drinks will have adverse effects and can also prevent you from being able to sleep for longer periods of time.

An effective strategy is to hydrate as much as you can the day before your flight. This will prevent feelings of extreme thirst the day after while allowing you to casually sip before your plane departs, also preventing one too many bathroom breaks.

Block Out the Sound

The final piece to the puzzle of falling asleep on an overnighter is making sure that too much noise is not the reason you spend your entire flight awake. Invest in a nice pair of noise cancelling headphones to block out the sounds around you, which are sometimes unavoidable. Smaller children don’t often take kindly to air travel while their parents don’t want the attention. Let everyone be and create your own quiet space with headphones and an eye mask for added effect.

Budget Travel Hacks For Your Wallet’s Sake

Originally published on LeonardRaymundo.org

There is nothing quite like traveling the world. No classroom, movie, or book can compare to the real-world experience of having one’s own adventure. That being said, many of life’s sweetest travel experiences can come at a cost.

The main decisions surrounding any adventure are usually focused on transportation, accommodation, activities, and dining. In every one of these cases, the choice comes down to convenience versus savings. With savings, there is usually more effort involved and less luxury. However, as an added benefit to choosing the frugal path, you end up with a more authentic experience than the distance that comes with a more comfortable option. With convenience, there is also a slight disconnect.

Transportation

The first journey will be about getting to the destination. After that, many smaller travel decisions will need to be made. For the initial trip, travel experts recommend using one of the many discounted airfare sites such as kayak, and tips and tricks from world travelers like NomadicMattcan help with all other decisions as well. The best advice out there is from people who have done the research for you, so listening to them is literally getting free advice from experts.

Once you are in the destination city, research any local options, such as public transportation. While car services and taxis might be cheaper, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons before making a decision that could prevent future spontaneous adventures that come from hanging out with locals. There is also the question of safety, which should be taken into account in any decision you make when away from home.

Accommodation

A nice hotel might seem like the perfect option when visiting a faraway land, but the truth is that everything you experience will be a sanitized version of reality. For a really authentic, more inexpensive, total-immersion experience, try the pedestrian route. Room sharing sites such as Airbnb or CouchSurfing offer up residences closer to the local flavor. Hostels are a wonderful way to meet friendly strangers and get tips for the current and next stops along your journey.

Activities

Depending on your purpose for visiting a specific locale, it’s always a good idea to shoot for package deals or off-peak times to visit. Google Maps’ popular times tool is a great resource for checking the busiest times of popular places and tourist attractions, but there are also apps like TripIt that help you plan itineraries in advance, including any necessary paperwork.

Food and Drink

Street vendors may be the ultimate hidden gem when it comes to experiencing the world. Nothing relays the tastes and flavors and history of a specific culture more accurately than the typical street food of the local inhabitants. Research can be done either in advance or on the fly by talking to residents. If you prefer to sit down, you can still take advantage of the priceless resource that is small-talk with locals.