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On Copywriting

Reviewing design portfolios is my favourite thing to do. Now that I am hiring actively, I also get to see a lot of portfolios every day. Outside of the usual quirks I notice in portfolios (misaligned text, wrong icon colours, padding issues…), poor copywriting is what jumps at me the most. It’s very difficult to ignore. The disregard for something so important is concerning.

But I think the issue lies in its poor understanding. In my experience, it’s not emphasised enough – not by peers, by seniors, or even leaders. It remains mostly an ignored skill. So designers are never encouraged to spend time improving it.

To those who’re reading this, I’d like to change this for them.

The dialogue

Let’s say you’re given a problem to solve. As a designer, you start thinking about the series of steps. This series of steps is an exchange. Like a dialogue. You need some information from the user, and you’ll be presenting some information in return, to the user. All problems can roughly be broken down as information exchange between the software and the user.

The process of designing a flow is writing this script for the exchange between the software and the user. And that script forms the basis of the UI you’ll create. Copywriting is the manifestation of that exchange, that dialogue. It’s not something that one can add in the empty spaces at the end.

Good copywriting becomes the coherent binding that keeps the flow of the dialogue going.

Copywriting isn’t words you fill into the space that your UI left you with.

The importance of good copywriting

Good copywriting humanises user’s interactions with your product. It adds to user’s clarity, comfort and confidence – three immeasurable yet very critical attributes you want to maximise as a designer. Copywriting has the power to elevate a good experience to a great experience i.e. imagine a Michelin star restaurant. They not only perfect the art of cooking great food but also spend enough time and effort in designing a great interpersonal experience by training the staff to say the right things at the right time, to greet you, and to respond to you the right way.

Copywriting is that layer of professionalism and care that you can and should incorporate into your product.

Do not discount copywriting.


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