Making the abstract concrete: The connection between UX writing, domain models, and cognitive linguistics

“Clever” microcopy like a “Whoops, something went wrong” error message isn’t UX writing. In fact, UX writing isn’t even about writing. Microcopy is just a manifestation of the decisions we make on the more abstract and strategic planes “below” the interface. UX writing therefore is about systems thinking and giving these abstract systems a concrete shape by using language.

In cognitive linguistics, we believe that the brain relies on language to make sense of abstract concepts by using metaphors from the physical world. We call this the “conceptual metaphor theory.” This talk will show you how this works using a real-life work example from an enterprise SaaS product.

In this session, you’ll learn how to:

  • Create a conceptual domain model to establish a ubiquitous language and a shared understanding among your stakeholders.
  • Use that model to future-proof your content in terms of terminology and localization, thus making copy consistent and helpful for your users in the long run.
  • Use that model to inform other aspects of your content strategy as well, such as visual language and marketing communications.

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