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User Assistance Development / Copywriting in SAP

I recently took a course in openSAP on Copywriting. Since I have been blogging about my experience in openSAP, I decided to take the free course on copywriting as I also wanted to improve my skills in technical writing. The course was very informative and I was glad to know the difference between copyright and copywriter. Copyright is something done by lawyers and not just any writer, while a copywriter writes for advertisement, commercial content, and even for search marketing.

However, a copywriter is not only limited to writing ads and marketing material. Copywriters have recently broadened their job scope which now includes software development and design. Copywriters today are also known as technical writers and in the world of SAP, are called User Assistance Developers.

A team of user assistance developers (UA Developers) is responsible in making sure all text (as in all – from text labels to content) found in an application – whether mobile, website, or desktop application – are appropriate and understandable for users. Often times, there really is a language gap between software developers and users. As per experience, developers carry over programming language into their design prototypes. This is honestly understandable, because developers are usually focused on creating the functionality of an application. The wordings and sentences they use to impart these functionalities come as a lesser priority for them in development. Technical writers or UA Developers fill in this communication gap between the app makers and the users, allowing the application to make more sense to the customers.

What’s Considered “Good Copy”?

UA Developers are usually involved in all phases of the project especially if the project is agile. This means they spend their time talking and meeting with the design team, developers, and eventually the users and customers. Engaging with these different teams allow them to see the big picture on what the application is and how it works. In turn, they would be able to create a good copy that guides, instructs, and informs the user. UA Developers also see to it that text, labels, and navigation instructions are properly placed within the app. Being intentional in the placement of these texts and labels also contribute to a good copy.

It is critical that copywriters know their audience and write for their audience. Some users are tech-phobics or are simply not at ease in using technology. Hence, a good copy must be able to emotionally motivate and engage the user in using the app. Researching on the demographics of the app also help in writing a copy that embodies the communication style of the users. Users are much more comfortable using an app that speaks or communicates with them, using their own lingo. A great copy should be able to carry out a natural conversation with the user, sounding less automated.

A copy that relays clear and concise instructions and content contribute to the overall user experience. Taking a step back and reviewing the design and copy of an application would lead to good feedback and better user engagement. As a developer, I have often brushed off text and labels in my development work. I have used popular words like ‘Submit’, ‘Invalid’, and ‘Error’ without giving much context. For me, as long as my program works, then I did a good job. My understanding of a good quality application development is incomplete and I’m quite glad to have been enlightened about copywriting. I wouldn’t mind shifting to this role in the future, if given the opportunity. J

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