The big picture at Booking.com
One project of note was an initiative she led to auto-generate Booking.com policies across 43 languages. Her strategic approach to messaging, and her fluency in several languages, enabled her to easily troubleshoot issues for not only English but translations as well.
On top of being a great writer, Marie-anne is also an effective manager. No matter how challenging a project or encroaching deadline could be, she made sure that her team felt supported and capable of approaching the initiative with a smile.
Here are just a few of the other things I did – some by myself and others in collaboration with colleagues:
- Research, research and more research: You can find inspiration in competitor analysis, writing blogs, books or simply walking down the street, but I find my best writing comes from watching people use the product I’m working on. I regularly participated in user research, travelling around the world to watch users from various cultures use our live products and the prototypes we created. I also worked with other UX writers to create our own copy-focused activities for people coming to our in-house research lab, set the sessions up with our researchers and participated as a moderator.
- Presenting on copy strategies: When working on a product you can’t just focus on the 5 cm of screen space where your words will appear. The product needs coherence throughout the user journey, and any changes made need a strategy behind them. One part of working as a team is putting that strategy together and presenting the reasoning behind it.
- A guide to writing for 42 languages: For a website to look good in every language and to every culture, the person behind the original written words needs to be able to write in a way that can be translated. This includes clearly expressing the intention behind the words they have chosen, bearing in mind the complexities of various language groups and choosing when their copy should translated or transcreated according to its purpose and context. Most copywriters joining our team had not worked so closely with as many language teams before. I created a guide that introduced important concepts to them, and answered commonly asked questions.
- Tone of Voice for partners: For a long time the company’s focus was only on the customers booking accommodation on the website, but what about the people behind the accommodation? A colleague and I decided to dig deeper into what the company’s accommodation partners go through when they use the website to display their property. The result was a living document to help put writers in the partners’ shoes, and create considerate copy that responds to their needs and emotional states.