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Anjana Menon, Senior UX Writer

August 2020

Article

Spotify Design Team

To showcase our band members, every now and then we put a Spotifier in the limelight. Today's headliner is Anjana Menon (aka Anji), Senior UX Writer for the Growth Opportunities team in London. Put on your headphones, hit play, and read along!

Questions & Answers

Why are you a writer?

I love words, language, design, and tech. As a UX writer, I get to mesh all these interests together. I want to say I like writing, but it’s a stretch as I really don’t like long-form writing. If you ask my family and friends, they’ll tell you it's because I am that annoying person who keeps editing and fixing everything they write.

The truth is, I fell into this field by complete accident while doing all sorts of comms and writing for a startup in India, and I’ve never thought about doing anything else since then. Waking up and wanting to work in the morning is a blessing, and I’m lucky to have it.

Describe your job at Spotify without using the words "write" or "writer."

I craft the text in the interface that guides users within the product, and/or helps them complete an action.

It sounds rather easy when I put it that way, but to find the right words, I need to understand the design, the problems we face, and dive into research so I know who I’m writing for before I can start. The words I choose have to be clear, concise, compelling, and on-brand. Finding the easiest way to say something is a fun challenge when you’re writing for everyone who uses your product.

Show us a picture of your desk, and explain why it looks how it does.

  1. My water bottle: I’m not very good with the water intake, so it’s right next to me so I remember to stay hydrated. It sits on a coaster I picked up from Portugal, it’s a mini azulejo tile

  2. Stickies and notebook: Can never have enough of these. The wall next to my desk (not pictured here) is covered in them!

  3. Mini artwork: An illustration made by a friend to add a bit of colour and a reminder that self-love is important :)

  4. Pen holder: To house all the pens I’ve gradually stolen from the office

  5. Moisturiser and lip balm: Need to keep my skin hydrated!

  6. Phones: Test devices at hand, whenever I need them

  7. Display: I prefer working on a big screen, so this is handy

  8. Keyboard and trackpad: I honestly don’t know how I spent several years just using my laptop, these things have changed the way I work

  9. iPad and Apple Pencil: Always useful for the sketching sessions 

  10. Heavily stickered laptop: To hold down the fort

  11. Baby monstera: It lives between my desk and the window, but it’s always nice to have a bit of greenery

Tell us about a time you beat an intimidating design challenge.

At my previous job, we were designing a flow where we sent a debit card by post. The challenge was the design and messaging for the edge cases. We had so many outcomes for this one flow, like successful card delivery, address reconfirmation, lost and stolen cards, etc. Money, cards, and financial standing are also pretty sensitive matters, so we had to take that into account.

Messaging and content strategy laid the foundation for this project. Every time we came up with a solution, we’d find something new that needed to be fixed. I think we spent a few sleepless nights on this! My designer and I spent a lot of time understanding how the postal system, cards, and financial security operates before we came up with a flow that worked. It was definitely one of the most interesting projects I’ve worked on, and it laid the foundation for how we’d collaborate for work. That set the stage for how I work at Spotify.

Name three non-UX writers you feel inspired by when you’re writing.

I’m inspired by storytelling, so my top 3 are:

Hasan Minhaj

For the way he tackles important issues in a creative, engaging manner. His storytelling is captivating, and I feel like it reflects who he is.

Dave Grohl

It’s no secret that I’m a fan of the Foo Fighters. I love their music! I’ve seen them live several times, and Grohl’s songwriting is brought to life with his charismatic performance style. It’s not just a concert when you watch them, it’s a journey. I really enjoy his stories on @davestruestories 

Beyoncé

I don’t think I need to say much here. Her latest release, Black is King, weaves music, history, tradition, and people together to create a spectacular narrative. It’s authentic and resonates with everyone.

What would your self-portrait look like?

Any final shout-outs or things you'd like to share?

I read a lot, and a book that I consider essential reading for work is Content Design by Sarah Richards.  As for shout outs, a massive one to my family and friends, who’ve kept up with me as I pop up in different parts of the world. They’re my biggest cheerleaders and help me become a better person every day. 

If you have questions or just want to have a chat, hit me up on Twitter: @anjimenon

Credits

Spotify Design Team

We're a cross-disciplinary team of people who love to create great experiences and make meaningful connections between listeners and creators.

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