The best books for copywriters looking to move into UX content design

Rachel McConnell Author Of Why You Need a Content Team and How to Build One
By Rachel McConnell

Who am I?

I moved into content design from a career in brand and marketing, at a time when the discipline was emerging and not many people really knew what it was. Much of my time since has been spent educating people and organisations and sharing knowledge to help them make better content decisions. Throughout this time, I’ve learnt most of what I know through the experience of working with the design teams, but so many books have also helped me along the way and made my work so much better. I love content design – having the power to improve people's experiences with brands through words is so rewarding, and these books will inspire others to do the same.

I wrote...

Why You Need a Content Team and How to Build One

By Rachel McConnell,

Book cover of Why You Need a Content Team and How to Build One

What is my book about?

Over the last decade, organisations have started to realise that content extends beyond marketing and advertising and into all parts of the customer experience – from how content is structured through to the microcopy elements on a website or app – everything must work together cohesively.

Creating strategic content depends on the right people with the right skills, and this book is designed to help you create and build a team. You’ll understand the different content roles for user experience design, how they can work together in any organisation, and how to hire the right people.

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission.

The books I picked & why

Book cover of Strategic Writing for UX: Drive Engagement, Conversion, and Retention with Every Word

Why did I love this book?

For anyone just starting out in content design or UX writing, this book is a must-have. It focuses on the technicalities of creating user-centered microcopy for web journeys, and includes frameworks and guidance to help you get it right. It also features one of my favourite exercises to try with designers – a conversational design workshop to help everyone consider the content before jumping into visual design. Torrey’s extensive knowledge comes from designing content for companies like Google and Microsoft, so she knows her stuff!

By Torrey Podmajersky,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Strategic Writing for UX as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

When you depend on users to perform specific actions-like buying tickets, playing a game, or riding public transit-well-placed words are most effective. But how do you choose the right words? And how do you know if they work? With this practical book, you'll learn how to write strategically for UX, using tools to build foundational pieces for UI text and UX voice strategy.

UX content strategist Torrey Podmajersky provides strategies for converting, engaging, supporting, and re-attracting users. You'll use frameworks and patterns for content, methods to measure the content's effectiveness, and processes to create the collaboration necessary for success. You'll…

Book cover of Nicely Said: Writing for the Web with Style and Purpose

Why did I love this book?

I’m picking this book because it’s actually useful for anyone in content, whether you’re a marketing strategist, UX writer, or content designer. It’s easy to read, and a lovely overview of creating more effective content – with guidance on how to adapt tone for different scenarios, and a brilliant exercise for proposition development. It was one of the first books I read about web content, and still one of the books I refer back to again and again.

By Nicole Fenton, Kate Kiefer-Lee,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Nicely Said as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Whether you're new to web writing, or you're a professional writer looking to deepen your skills, this book is for you. You'll learn how to write web copy that addresses your readers' needs and supports your business goals.

Learn from real-world examples and interviews with people who put these ideas into action every day: Kristina Halvorson of Brain Traffic, Tiffani Jones Brown of Pinterest, Randy J. Hunt of Etsy, Gabrielle Blair of Design Mom, Mandy Brown of Editorially, Sarah Richards of GOV.UK, and more.
Topics include:

* Write marketing copy, interface flows, blog posts, legal policies, and emails
* Develop…

Writing Is Designing

By Michael J. Metts, Andy Welfle,

Book cover of Writing Is Designing

Why did I love this book?

I first read this book as a technical reviewer and loved how the book almost felt like a double-act, with both Andy and Michael sharing their tips for great content design. The book takes you through the design process for good content, from creating the content itself to testing and measuring with your team. It’s simply written and laid out, so it doesn’t feel like a technical read, and you’ll feel well-equipped to approach even the trickiest content design challenges.

By Michael J. Metts, Andy Welfle,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Writing Is Designing as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Without words, apps would be an unusable jumble of shapes and icons, while voice interfaces and chatbots wouldn't even exist. Words make software human–centered, and require just as much thought as the branding and code. This book will show you how to give your users clarity, test your words, and collaborate with your team. You'll see that writing is designing.

Book cover of The Content Strategy Toolkit: Methods, Guidelines, and Templates for Getting Content Right

Why did I love this book?

Despite this book being a few years old, it’s as valid today for anyone who works in content strategy or design as it was when it was published. In fact, in many ways, I think it was ahead of its time. It features a number of tools and templates for content designers and strategists to strengthen the rigour and process behind their work. I like it because it helps anyone in a content role to think more operationally too, whether that’s putting a value on the content, or prioritising content creation. My copy was given to me for my first content design role, and is full of bookmarked pages I’ve returned to many times since!

By Meghan Casey,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Content Strategy Toolkit as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In this essential guide, Meghan Casey outlines a step-by-step approach for doing content strategy, from planning and creating your content to delivering and managing it. Armed with this book, you can confidently tackle difficult activities like telling your boss or client what's wrong with their content, getting the budget to do content work, and aligning stakeholders on a common vision. Reading The Content Strategy Toolkit is like having your own personal consulting firm on retainer with a complete array of tools and tips for every challenge you'll face. In this practical and relevant guide, you'll learn how to: Identify problems…

Book cover of Don't Make Me Think: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability

Why did I love this book?

My final pick isn’t like the others, because it’s less of a technical content ‘how to’ book, and more of a broader look at the main principles of web design. It’s relevant because when we move from traditional copywriting or marketing content into content design, our work becomes less about ‘selling’ and much more about writing for usability. This is a classic and a book that many user experience designers have relied upon to understand the heuristics of a good experience. It was recommended to me when I first moved into web design, and despite its age (it was first published over twenty years ago!) it’s as relevant as ever. 

By Steve Krug,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked Don't Make Me Think as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Since Don't Make Me Think was first published in 2000, hundreds of thousands of Web designers and developers have relied on usability guru Steve Krug's guide to help them understand the principles of intuitive navigation and information design. Witty, commonsensical, and eminently practical, it's one of the best-loved and most recommended books on the subject.

Now Steve returns with fresh perspective to reexamine the principles that made Don't Make Me Think a classic-with updated examples and a new chapter on mobile usability. And it's still short, profusely illustrated...and best of all-fun to read.

If you've read it before, you'll rediscover…

5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in design, copywriting, and management?

9,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about design, copywriting, and management.

Design Explore 48 books about design
Copywriting Explore 17 books about copywriting
Management Explore 123 books about management