Note

“Editing is integral to this thought process.” – Cennydd Bowles

1 minute read

Good writing conveys information more clearly, of course, but the reader isn’t the only beneficiary. Writing also makes us better thinkers. Even a talented wordsmith must first clarify his thoughts and eliminate ambiguity to make a convincing argument.
— Cennydd Bowles (2011) Editing tips for designers

This is a really good reading to… have some tips on how to write. He gives a few very interesting advice, and the article is a very nice summary of techniques.

Some good advice he gives:

  1. Read lots: reading others helps build your skills, and even more helps to identify and study good writers (and UIs) and bad ones.
  2. Make every word matter: or, in other words, remove the superfluous.
  3. Cut adjectives and adverbs: this is a great advice, suggesting to use more descriptive verbs instead of generic ones.
  4. Active verbs, not passive: this is a simple rule to put the reader at the center
  5. Monster sentences: short sentences, to the point. Avoid lots of conjunctions.
  6. Singulars and plurals: this is simple, you just have everything match.
  7. Occam’s Razor: prefer simple explanations over complex ones, simple structures over complex ones, avoid buzzwords.
  8. Vary pace: use paragraphs well, alternate their length and tempo.
  9. Proof your work: reading aloud is very helpful.

This writing reminded me a very interesting and basic rule when you design interfaces buttons and interactors: always use subject and verb, at minimum.

This is very simple, and helps create a better understanding. To give an example, to you think it’s clearer to have a button that say “Add” or “Add post”? As any rule, when you master it you can break it, but it’s always important to keep it in mind.

Read Cennydd’s article here.