Improve your UX design with copy docs

“Copy docs stem from the advertising world, where they’re typically called copy decks. A copy doc is a single document created in a word-processing tool like Microsoft Word, Dropbox Paper, or Google Docs. It holds all the copy for a single project: a landing page, a series of mobile screens, a set of onboarding emails, or anything else.”

How to improve your design process with copy docs (Dropbox Design)

Something that’s irks me to no end is when I see product mockups or screenshots with filler text that makes no sense.

Text is just as important to the product experience as everything else (arguably even more important for things like dashboards).

If I’m drafting a product announcement or a guest post about a product, I don’t want the embedded screenshots or demo videos to have lorem ipsum filler fluff.

Enter copy docs.

Riffing from the source article:

“Many user experience writers (UX) and content strategists are familiar with design tools like Sketch, InVision, and Balsamiq. These are great resources for a team to share feedback on wireframes, mockups, and prototypes.

But what about the copy? How do you and your team decide on in-product copy to place in those wireframes, mockups, and prototypes? For many teams, the answer is something like, We copy and paste from an email or a Slack post. It’s scattershot, without a straightforward process. There’s no single place for copy iterations to live or get feedback, the way there is for design.

If this sounds familiar, your UX team could benefit from using copy docs. These are also known as copy decks, content templates, or copy platforms. A copy doc is a one-stop “source of truth” for all the copy in a project.”

I think copy docs are something that product marketers and product developers should jam on together. Why? Because if these designs are going to make an appearance in marketing assets, the text should fit the context.

E.g. if you’re going to use a scenario, telling a story about a fictional user trying to complete some task, the text in the example screenshots should feel like they’re part of that story.

Visual storytelling in meetings

“Story telling matters as a foundational part of communication between people. You can tell stories by writing, speaking, filming, drawing, coding, and much more. […]

By adding visuals to your communication, you invite others in to participate and understand. You’re able to focus on the idea rather than each other, which is disarming and makes communication smoother.”

The value of quick visual storytelling (Automattic Design)

Shoutout to Joshua Wold for this blog post on visual storytelling.

I’m also a visual thinker. On the rare occasions that I’m meeting with folks in person I’m usually hitting the whiteboard.

Unlike Joshua, though, I rarely lean into this skill during virtual meetings.

It’s not that I don’t have the tools — I have a small Wacom tablet on my desk at home — it’s just that it feels so… weird?… to initiate this sort of thing over a Zoom call.

Maybe I need to change that?

Make time management a habit

No matter what time management method you choose, you have to continue it until it becomes a habit. Only then, when you do it without even thinking about it and by focusing on your work, can you start experiencing all of the benefits of managing your time.”

How I Manage My Time To Be More Productive (Rafal Tomal)

As a remote worker, I’m constantly struggling with time management as I try to nail down a more perfect schedule. That’s why I appreciate other folks, like Rafal, sharing their experiences and approaches.

Sustainable Web Manifesto + Contract For The Web

“We all share and use the web, just as we all share and live on this planet. This manifesto is a public declaration of a shared commitment to create a sustainable internet. […]

If we embrace sustainability in our work, we can create a web that is good for people and planet. By signing this manifesto you declare your commitment to create a greener web.”

Sustainable Web Manifesto

The sustainable web manifesto covers five areas:

  1. Clean – Services we buy/create use renewable energy
  2. Efficient – Use the least amount of resources possible
  3. Open – Accessible services, users control their own data
  4. Honest – No misleading or exploitation
  5. Regenerative – Support an economy nourishing people & planet

Related, Tim Berners-Lee and his “contract for the web“:

The Contract for the Web was created by representatives from over 80 organizations, representing governments, companies and civil society, and sets out commitments to guide digital policy agendas. To achieve the Contract’s goals, governments, companies, civil society and individuals must commit to sustained policy development, advocacy, and implementation of the Contract text.

Contract For The Web

It covers nine principles:

  1. Ensure everyone can connect to the internet
  2. Keep all of the internet available, all of the time
  3. Protect fundamental online privacy & data rights
  4. Make the internet affordable & accessible to all
  5. Respect & protect peoples privacy and personal data
  6. Develop tech to support the best in humanity, challenge the worst
  7. Be creators and collaborators with the web
  8. Build communities that respect human discourse & dignity
  9. Fight for the web

I don’t agree with all of the above, but I do appreciate that these movements are taking shape. Internet governance is an incredibly important topic, and I feel like we’ve managed to dodge it for the last 20+ years.

Presenting? Make your slides obvious

Make it legible. – Make it simple. – Make it obvious.

If you just do these three things, you’ll have a presentation that anyone can probably understand. And since understanding is the foundation for getting someone excited enough to want to talk to you afterwards, it’s a good place to start.”

How to Design a Better Pitch Deck (Y Combinator)

Kevin Hale at Y Combinator wrote this blog post with tech startups in mind, but the takeaways are applicable to any sort of presentation, whether it be to a local meetup group or big ol’ conference audience.

See also: The YC Seed Deck Template

Your presentation is a Netflix series

Your presentation is an event, just like a Netflix series premiere. Build some hype leading up to your presentation, get the anticipation and interest going. Give your audience something to participate in during the presentation. Then keep the conversation and activity going afterwards.”

More than a presentation (WordCamp Miami 2020)

I contributed a guest post to WordCamp Miami 2020. It’s part of a series for new WordCamp and WordPress meetup speakers.

Rather than focusing on the talk itself, I offered some suggestions for how speakers can make their presentation part of a larger conversation or initiative.

+ Check out this follow-up post from David Bisset, a compilation of tips and reminders for new speakers.

++ WordCamp Miami is always a blast. The next one is on February 28th. Early bird tickets are on sale until December 31st. Crossing my fingers I’ll be able to make it down again…!

The uneven playing field of Open Source

“In Open Source, there is a long-held belief in meritocracy, or the idea that the best work rises to the top, regardless of who contributes it. The problem is that a meritocracy assumes an equal distribution of time for everyone in a community.”

The privilege of free time in Open Source (Dries Buytaert)

Great piece from Drupal founder Dries Buytaert.

The playing field isn’t even. Saying that “everyone is welcome to participate” and not acknowledging — or adjusting — for additional factors means everyone isn’t welcome to participate. It isn’t enough.

Take monthly meetups, for example. Always meeting at the same time is great for establishing a routine, e.g. the third Thursday of every month. But then you exclude everyone who works on Thursday nights.

Or what about the location? Maybe it’s somewhere that’s hard to reach by public transit, or inaccessible to wheelchairs. You’re excluding people who can’t make it to the venue, or who can’t even enter it.

As for the counterpoint of “well we can’t please everyone”? That’s true! But you can provide more options. Moving the date around. Trying different venues. Giving folks a way to join remotely.

And as it goes for meetups, so it can go for open source projects. Give people options to participate, and then make it easy for them to discover and learn how to participate.

As Dries puts it:

“While it’s impossible to fix decades of gender and racial inequality with any single action, we must do better. Those in a position to help have an obligation to improve the lives of others. We should not only invite underrepresented groups into our Open Source communities, but make sure that they are welcomed, supported and empowered.”

How school boards can help the housing crisis

“When it comes to excess lots, the board shouldn’t sell the land; it should instead negotiate long-term leases with rental-apartment builders or such non-profits as Options for Homes, with the requirement that the projects be designated affordable.”

How school boards can help fight Toronto’s affordable-housing crisis (TVO)

This goes for excess public land in general. Put the property to use for the public good. Plant trees, lease to affordable housing developments.