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Lessons on UX Writing from a Café

In Polish coffee shops, I'm not Autumn.

The few times I've tried giving my name, it always follows the same formula: a look of confusion, me repeating it then saying "Jak jesień" (Like 'autumn'), and a scribbled name on the cup.

So, to skip this whole dance, I use my middle name. It's easier for non-native English speakers to understand and pronounce.

Am I giving my accurate name, the thing they've asked me for? Not really, but it doesn't matter: the purpose of asking my name is so they can call me when the order's ready.

It's an important lesson for UX, too. While being accurate is important, it's not always the top priority. We need primarily to be understood, and for the end goal to be realized.

I'm not advocating for lying to our users or giving faulty info. But don't choose a term just because it's technically the right one. As an example: if you're trying to explain certain errors related to API, "logic flaw" is the technical term. But if your users aren't likely to know that, giving the specific phrase isn't helpful. Explaining why they're seeing an error and how they can fix it will do the trick.

I'm currently drinking a venti iced chai latte with my middle name misspelled on it. And that's okay, because it tastes delicious.


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