How can stand-up comedians help designers write better UX Copy?

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How can stand-up comedians help designers write better UX Copy?


According to UX Planet’s, editor in chief, Nick Babish, “every word in your app is part of a conversation with your users”. These conversations tell stories, and who’s better at telling stories than stand-up comedians? Right?

If you’ve ever gone to a stand-up show, or watched a sitcom, you’ll probably be familiar with that feeling of coming out relaxed, at ease, or even of having your problems solved. Isn’t the purpose of using digital products the same? This makes me think, can the methods comedians use to write acts, help designers write better UX copy?

A method Kevin Hart uses is anamnesis, which means to recall something from the past. For example: in a set about his middle school, Hart recalled him sitting in math class and stated, “2 +2, I don’t know what that is.” The audience (including me) laughed as we could all recall our past of struggling at math.

I realised anamnesis could also be used in UX writing, and in ways, it is already being used in the digital products we see. For instance: Morning brew is a media company that sends five-minute newsletters for users to read along with their morning coffee. For its loader symbol, instead of saying “loading” it may say “brewing coffee”; this indicates that something is in the works and also helps users recall having a cozy cup of coffee on a Sunday morning. Through the use of “brewing coffee,” Morning Brew may create a positive association between its brand and its users.

I’ve also witnessed the laugh-till-you-cry phenomenon when comedians use punchlines. For example, in Hasan Minhaj’s Netflix show, Patriot Act, Minhaj debunks Asian stereotypes. Minhaj says, “I don’t want to be a doctor.” His parents respond, “But, what will people think?” Minhaj says, “I don’t want to marry so and so.” His parents respond, “But, what will people think?” Very soon, “But, what will people think?” becomes Minhaj’s brand. It is this punchline that makes the audience laugh.

So, can punchlines like Hasan Minhaj’s help our UX copy? The answer is yes. We know The New York Times, for example, uses “We seek the truth,” as its punchline. It is highlighted across all of its digital products. It helps keep its mission transparent with users and creates a strong identity.



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