Writing for App Development

In the world of business, the writing process is often ignored. Complete thoughts are shortened to bullet points. Proofreading is considered a luxury, resulting in spelling errors or missing words. Content requirements go overlooked.

This video for a large healthcare nonprofit started with a great vision and the outline of a several unique stories. The director created story boards with captions describing each scene but since there were no speaking parts in the video, a script was never written. The models in the video were merely supporting characters to the story’s real stars: the mobile apps. We used the app development process as a proxy for the writing process. The “script” was written into wireframes.

However, the words that appeared on the mobile devices needed to be written as a separate document. But because a writing process was not followed, copywriting was done directly in the wireframes, resulting in overly complex wireframes in a format that was inaccessible to the producers. Too often, producers are more concerned with headlines and big pictures, not details. But just as in any app development process, each button needs a label, each alert needs a message, each form field needs a caption, each instruction needs words. None of that should be written into a wireframe.

Just as video production follows a process, so does the app development process, both requiring a writing process. A good one includes a writer, editor, proofreader, and fact checker working on a content document, separate from wireframes. Approvals for brand messaging and legal requirements also may be needed. Only then is an approved content document delivered to designers and developers for integration with the design.

From mblisher.com