Excellent UX writing can solve a myriad of issues users encounter when navigating digital products. The overall objective is to simplify and streamline the user experience. A large portion of that task is to anticipate user behavior, expectations, goals, and sentiments throughout their journey.
One of the ways to ensure user delight is to consider and solve problems that may arise when looking at a website or an app. Visitors cite common problems that induce frustration, confusion, fear, or simple dissatisfaction. Find out more about these digital product issues below and how UX writing solutions can solve them.
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1. Content doesn’t catch or hold attention
Websites are more concerned with catching and holding attention than any other type of digital product. They need their content to appeal to users for more than just a few seconds, especially if they want them to stay on the page or keep navigating the pages. Unfortunately, as more and more content turns to image and video format, it becomes harder to perform with text. Consumer attention spans are short, and they want the information immediately.
While careful copywriting can take care of this issue with long-form content, skilled UX writing is critical for other areas of text. Focus on these attention-grabbing techniques:
- Short, eloquent sentences
- Scannable paragraphs
- Performance-based font type, size, and color
- Focus on consumer needs right away
- Direct instructions or to-the-point messaging
- Bolded, important information or directions
2. Lack of connection between clients and brand
Many digital products have trouble forming a connection with their users. Consumers download apps to satisfy a need or desire, they find web pages for information or to purchase products, they open emails to grab new offers or obtain discounts… the list goes on. However, they rarely look online to find connection, engagement, or relationship development in a digital product.
Yet, a connection is completely possible. Intuitive UX writing facilitates understanding when your users may encounter an unsettling sentiment and assuaging it immediately. For instance, reassuring your client will load quickly when it is taking its time.
It also anticipates when your user may have an additional need, and prompts them to fulfill it in some fashion. For example, consumers tend to add items to their cart and then leave the page, abandoning their cart for some time. A friendly, humorous message, before they click off the page, may draw them back in to buy the articles.
These interjections add human touches to your digital product, making consumers see it as more personable.
3. Clients do not understand the language
Designers and developers are accustomed to jargon used in the industry, their specific department, and amongst their close peers and teams. Unfortunately, it is too easy to forget that the target audience usually does not understand technical language or niche words. Great UX writing ensures consistent and clear messaging throughout a digital product, whether the user is on the home page or a support page.
Consumers can also run into another type of language problem, which is when directions or instructions are too vague. For instance, professionals may think it is common knowledge that passwords should have various characters for security purposes.
Yet, when a new user encounters an error message telling them to pick a stronger password, they may not understand why the one they chose is unideal. An empathetic error message with a clearly stated instruction would be best, such as “Oops! The password you chose is too short. Passwords should be at least 8 characters long, have at least one upper-case letter, and include numerical values such as 1 2 3 4.”
4. Not appealing to the right audience
The best digital products are developed to fulfill a consumer need or desire. Typically, understanding precisely who the target audience is, what that need is and how developers can accomplish it differently than competitors demands deep consumer and industry research. However, they may not realize that the way the digital product presents itself on every page or section needs to appeal to the target audience as well. Since this is the case, there is often a disconnect between the user and the product just from the writing.
Accordingly, UX writing solutions need to be tailored to fit the user Professionals need to use consumer data to back their writing choices and follow it up with testing options (such as A/B testing) on the audience. In this way, they can make the right writing and language decisions for their specific users. For instance, if they are appealing to an older generation, they may use more sophisticated language choices than if they were focusing on young adults.
Likewise, excellent UX writing should help consumers understand the brand, the company voice, or the value of the digital product. In this subtle way, they can indicate how they are different from competitor digital products. While some leave this job up to copywriters and content, it can actually be accomplished well within navigation bars, guidance, suggestions, taglines, titles, error messages, and more. Actually, it is in these noticeable, small touches that a brand can truly show through.
5. Accessibility barriers are overlooked
When developers create a digital product, they may overlook whole groups of people within their target audience. Unfortunately, accessibility is often a neglected element for websites and apps. Often, this translates to poor useability and an unsatisfactory user experience. UX developers and writers need to work together on this aspect, to ensure a great experience for people who have different perspectives, identities, and abilities.
UX writing solutions can help reduce accessibility barriers in simple ways such as using easily understandable language, indicating very clear instructions, acknowledging and confirming actions, and adding suggestions or warnings. Naturally, it also involves using inclusive language and avoiding stereotypes or discrimination.
Writers can also work on unique ways to relay information to users with hearing or vision impairments. For instance, it can be helpful to include voice-activated services, read descriptive text aloud, enable alt text of images and properly write out alt texts, or create descriptive calls to action.