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Frontitude Team
April 18, 2023
5 min read

How YouVersion Uses Frontitude to Streamline Collaboration and Reduce Copy Errors in Production by 98%

YouVersion, the world's largest religious organization with +565 million unique app downloads, uses Frontitude for product copy management and enhanced writer-designer collaboration. This is how they streamlined their process.

April 18, 2023
5 min read
USA
Headquarters
200
Employees
25
Workspace collaborators

Overview

YouVersion is one of the largest, fastest-growing religious organizations in the world. The company's Bible App has been installed on more than 565 million unique devices and offers a free Bible experience in more than 1,900 languages.

The app's rapid expansion caused the design and product teams to face many costly challenges in managing product copy across departments.

Matt Sawmiller, Principal Designer at YouVersion, discussed the team's past challenges. Matt explained how Frontitude helps them streamline the UX writing process, improve writer-designer collaboration for product copy, and ultimately deliver products faster.

How YouVersion Uses Frontitude to Streamline Collaboration and Reduce Copy Errors in Production by 98%

The challenge

The lack of a single source of truth caused the team to face friction in their UX writing process. Keeping track of each copy and its version history led to multiple back-and-forths within the team across multiple channels, resulting in uncertainty over whether a string was still in draft, or what had been approved and by whom. Human errors were bound to happen, leading to developers pulling the wrong copy and pushing unfinalized product copy into production.

“Copywriters would go into Figma and change the strings, often altering the designs. There was a lot of uncertainty in the source of truth.” Matt Sawmiller, Principal Designer

To get the design context and test their work, writers would craft copy in Figma, clashing with the designer's work, and often unintentionally breaking the designs. To avoid that, the team’s designers would dedicate about 5 hours every week just to prepare separate design files for writers to work on.

Since writers usually don't have editing access in Figma, the writers at YouVersion would add their copy suggestions as comments in Figma, and tag the designers once they were done. This would lead to lengthy copy discussions in the Figma comment threads, involving a lot of unnecessary back-and-forths and unclarity over the edited copy and a lot of time spent.

Once the copy was finalized, designers would have to manually merge each finalized string of text into the original Figma file before handing it off to localization and developers.

Either way, the process was time-consuming, leaving room for mistakes and confusion.

A product such as YouVersion Bible App relies heavily on copy and text for its success. That's why the team's principal designer, Matt Sawmiller, realized they had to improve collaboration across departments to eliminate friction and, eventually, reduce product time to market, maintain product copy consistency, and reduce copy errors in production.


The solution

The team integrated Frontitude into their primary design tool, Figma. This integration enables designers and writers to work simultaneously on the updated design files without interfering with each other's work. Using the Figma plugin, designers upload their designs to Frontitude's web app, where writers can draft and test copy against the designs in real-time, providing them with full design context.

YouVersion writers craft & edit product copy with full design context
YouVersion writers craft & edit product copy with full design context without interfering the designers in Figma

Using Frontitude’s web app, YouVersion’s team can collaborate on copy in a dedicated workspace while inviting team members to review and leave feedback using the shareable links feature. Using this capability has removed much of the background noise in Figma, which used to distract the designers.

YouVersion’s design team collaborate and discuss copy in a dedicated workspace
YouVersion’s design team collaborates and discuss copy in a dedicated workspace for copy

The design team can then pull the copy and integrate it into their design files in Figma with a simple click instead of manually merging the copy. Then, they share the Frontitude URL with the localization team, allowing them to kick off the localization process.

“Visualizing how copy and design will work together is very helpful! It gives me a great idea of what my word count should be and how things will look to the end user.” Kali Gibson, Copywriter

Once the copy is complete and approved, there is no need to use various back channels such as Slack or Figma comments, but simply use the status indicator to mark the copy as Final. Additionally, the status update is automatically reflected in the Figma layer menu which helps developers and other team members to understand when the copy is ready.

Frontitude is specifically engineered to enhance collaboration and streamline the UX writing process among designers, writers, translators, and developers. The team has expressed a marked improvement in each aspect of the UX writing process, primarily by reducing the time spent on handoffs and copy-related discussions.

YouVersion's copy collaboration process at the design stage using Frontitude

“When we discovered Frontitude, we immediately thought this is exactly the tool we needed. Very quickly, it became a pivotal part of our workflow.” Matt Sawmiller, Principal Designer

The result

Product designers at YouVersion estimated that Frontitude saves them about 20 hours each month, simply for the process of handing off the designs to writers and translators. Using Frontitude's shareable links, the team no longer has to prepare separate design files for the writing process and then merge them into the design.

"Handing off the files to the writers usually involved manual work on the designer's end. With Frontitude’s shareable links, writers could go in and out of the designs easily, test their copy, and push it to the design once it was finalized. Handoff time decreased from a few hours to a few minutes." Matt Sawmiller, Principal Designer

With a team of 8 designers, and 2 copywriters Frontitude has significantly improved collaboration between the two groups. The team reports that Frontitude has enabled faster collaboration and delivery of product copy. By offering a text-centered collaborative environment connecting seamlessly with Figma, Frontitude has reduced the need for time-consuming back-and-forths and helped the team maintain consistency in product language. Overall, the team credits Frontitude with a substantial improvement in efficiency and quality in their product development process.

“Frontitude is now our official source of truth. We can track every string's status easily. We have more assurance that the strings in Figma are updated, so developers can't pull un-updated or unfinalized strings into the code. It's a game changer for us.” Matt Sawmiller, Principal Designer

Also, due to the uncertainty regarding the readiness of each string, developers would often pull the wrong copy and push unfinalized or outdated strings into production. This would happen a few times each month. Since using Frontitude, YouVersion's team has reported a 98% reduction in copy errors in production. Establishing a single source of truth eliminated the uncertainty surrounding the status of each string, leaving no room for human errors to occur.


Summary

Like many growing companies, YouVersion's design team faced challenges collaborating on product copy at scale. As a result of the lack of a single source of truth for copy, the team struggled to track the status of every string and hunt down reviews and feedback. The uncertainty led to costly back-and-forths and manual work that slowed down the design process and, eventually, the delivery of their products. Using Frontitude, YouVersion has significantly improved its designer-writer collaboration process and reduced copy errors in the code by 98%. 

In addition, the company currently uses a proprietary tool to integrate copy with its codebase and is considering Frontitude's developer integration instead. Integrating Frontitude’s developer tools will fully automate copy delivery from design to production while saving the company substantial resources used for maintaining internal tools.

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