Course Descriptions

ENG 3209

Writing as Design

Dylan Romero

W 6:00–8:30 p.m.

User Experience (UX) Writing involves the words used in a website, app, or other digital experience flow. The job of a UX Writing is to make sure those words help make that experience simple, conversational, and easy to use. We'll learn the voice and tone principles that drive great UX writing, and how to apply those principles to a variety of experiences.

For the English major, that means:

  • Applying the deep understanding of humanity you've developed from reading and writing to the "customers" of a given product or service;
  • Using your writing powers to steer readers in the right direction through crisp, clear text and a storyteller's eye for understand peoples' needs--all while balancing business objectives;
  • Finding ways to monetize poetry (or in UX: microcopy) by packing as much meaning as you can into buttons, calls to action (CTAs), and other tight spots where length is counted in characters instead of words.

For the Design major, that means:

  • Understanding a vital aspect of UX design: the words that make up the headers, body text, button labels, and other aspects of a digital experience;
  • Learning the power of storytelling in creating UX, and how to design with words in mind;
  • Incorporating words early in the design process to reduce design churn (no placeholder text!).
UX writing as a discipline is not new, but it is evolving and growing at major tech companies like Microsoft and Amazon, and just about any company that has a website or an app (so, you know, most of them). This class will use design thinking to guide you through solving complex UX issues using workshops, real-world examples, and creating your own unique UX writing flows. 

Writing on the window of an English classroom

How to Read a Poem

English Professor Susan Van Zanten gives you a quick guide on how to get the most out of reading poetry.

“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.”
Jane Austen
Pride & Prejudice