The Contenda Blog

Live, Laugh, LLMs

Salsafying Your UX

The Secret Sauce to Contenda's User Experience.
By Sally Chen

I was in the middle of a writing workshop when my phone dinged - and to my delightful surprise, a box of fresh tacos and nachos was waiting at my doorstep! The tangy tomato salsa, the crispy corn tortillas, and the smooth guacamole all blended together in a heavenly lunch experience that transported me straight to Mexico. I felt like I was on vacation!

Wait, why did you order tacos?

As I reminisce about my wonderful food experience, I can’t help but wonder what sparked this journey in the first place. Was it the tantalizing taste of the cuisine, or was it something else that motivated me to order it?

To my surprise, it was the latter. When I was placing my order, I wasn’t even thinking about Mexican food. But then, like a magical spell, the phrase most ordered near you appeared on my DoorDash app and immediately drew me in. I knew I had to give these dishes a try. They are frequently ordered for a reason, right?

Where I spotted tacos

So what do tacos have to do with UX?

As UX designers, many of us are guilty of neglecting the writing aspect of our job. At schools or bootcamps, we were taught to focus largely on the visuals, typography, layout…the list goes on (but rarely includes writing). In Figma, we fill designs with boring placeholder content and devote our time to finetuning the visual aesthetics of our creations.

Have you ever noticed how many times you’ve seen “Lorem Ipsum” (or better yet, AI Ipsum) in a design mockup? Definitely more than zero, right?

However, writing is crucial for a good user experience. There’s even a whole field devoted to UX writing and specialized roles like UX writers. The Nielson Normal Group defines UX writing as “the practice of writing carefully considered information that addresses people’s contexts, needs, and behaviors”. Take DoorDash, for example, their cleverly worded prompts convinced me to try new dishes, and boy, was I happy I did!

How does UX writing play out at Contenda?

Last week, after finishing some designs, I put on my detective hat and conducted a series of user testing sessions for Contenda’s Beta Platform. And let me tell you, it was a wild ride. Some users were left scratching their heads and wondering whether they can only submit specific types of videos, all thanks to the unexplained “blog post” and “tutorial” selections on the submission page. Don’t even get me started on the editor’s hidden gems, like the regeneration icon that transforms paragraphs like magic, that less than half of the users were able to discover.

After diving deep into the root cause of these usability issues. I discovered that a key culprit was dull UX language. In all stages of the user flow, the overly-technical terms and boring captions hindered people from discovering key values that Contenda had to offer and resulted in magnitudes of confusion.

With this in mind, I went back to Figma and turned my inner detective mode on again to investigate every text-filled nook and cranny - from tooltips to form placeholders to headers. After lots of googling for inspiration, I sprinkled some friendly and playful language and emojis to make each page more approachable and fun. 

It was eye-opening to see, for example, the signup page radiating with so much warmth and friendliness just after changing a few phrases. Take a look at the two versions below and tell me: which one would make you more excited to fill out?

Before vs after

As a taco-lover, I believe that top-notch UX writing is the salsa and guac to the taco that transforms a mediocre user experience into an extraordinary one. At Contenda, we are constantly spicing things up to give our users the same magical experience. After all, just like how the right salsa can bring a taco to life, the right UX writing can bring a product to life!

Even today, Sally is trying out more delicious tacos at Contenda.