Vivek first wanted to be a standup comedian. He uses basic comedy rules to improve UX writing.
Premises, punches, and p*
A joke starts with a premise, but then the punch is the twist. But UX writing shouldn’t have a punch. It should have a p* (the opposite of a punch). It needs to take a premise and then move forward.
In comedy you subvert the expectation. In UX writing you satisfy the expectation. It’s not funny, but it’s successful.
It’s more like improve – always use “Yes, and.” In improv you want to make your partner look good. In UX writing, your partner is the end-user.
The four attitudes
People pay attention to the punchlines in comedy, but it really only works if the premise is good. Understanding the premise is empathy.
Here are 4 premises of comedy:
- Weird: (when commedians start a joke with “you know what’s weird about…”) In UX we demystify the weird.
- Scary: In UX we reassure against the scary.
- Stupid: In UX we simplify what seems stupid.
- Hard: In UX we clarify what’s hard.
These aren’t required responses, but whatever your responses are, those are your brand values.
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