Let’s get right into it. Today’s apps and websites are solving more consumer problems than ever before, raising customer satisfaction levels to all-time highs, and improving user experiences with every update. Developers can pinpoint small issues and design complex infrastructures to support fantastic solutions. Users jump on, and learn how to use apps within minutes or navigate websites with ease.
New companies may wonder how design and development teams pull this off so flawlessly, especially when they create complicated applications or other digital products. The answer is UX writing. Find out more about what UX writing is, why it is important, and how to get started with UX writing below.
What Exactly Is UX Writing?
UX writing is copy that informs and guides the reader through web and mobile interfaces, and digital applications and other products. It includes everything from navigation buttons, to prompts, to notifications and error messages, to more rigorous guidelines. UX writing is typically short, precise, and clear. Underlying it all is an intuitive understanding of how the user will navigate, explore, and experience the digital product and an immediate response to their needs in those moments. As a result, the user will be able to use the application or website easily and seamlessly, without interruption or frustration.
Why Is UX Writing Important?
UX writing has the power to influence the entire user experience, and consumer impression of the digital product and company behind the work. It is important for many significant reasons, namely:
- UX writing can make a digital product fluid. Effectively, the user can easily and seamlessly move through the product, from landing page to final objective. Naturally, consumers appreciate tools that make their lives easier. If the product is challenging to understand, or clunky to move through, it is fair to assume they will not like using the product.
- UX writing is a form of communicating with the user. It can show that the company understands exactly how they are feeling at the moment. For instance, when a customer may be second-guessing entering their personal information, they may be reassured by a note indicating their information is completely private.
- UX writing can offer the human touch. In an increasingly digital world, there is one thing that truly stands out in digital products: a human touch. Encouraging prompts, empathetic messages, or even non-technical language may be a welcome addition.
- UX writing can reduce frustration. We’ve all encountered instructions that didn’t quite add up, making us feel more and more frustrated as we attempted to accomplish a task. It can be even more upsetting when dealing with a computer, as there may be no one to turn to for help. Anticipating a user’s needs and providing clear, simple instructions can avoid this issue.
- UX writing can entertain consumers. Depending on the company and the product, UX writing can also add a touch of entertainment or fun to a user’s experience. Interjecting humor, making light of errors or mistakes, and using conversational language are easy ways to make users feel at ease, and reduce any negative feelings.
- UX writing informs the user about the brand. Language and how the company uses language informs consumers about the brand. It clearly displays culture and values. It also shows them exactly what they think about their customers. As such, UX writing needs to be intentional and extremely careful.
How to Get Started with UX Writing
It is clear that UX writing can make or break a digital user experience, which is why it is so important to get it right. Although it is complex, there are a few key ways to start off on the right foot. Below, you will find the most critical elements to focus on when developing UX copy.
- Perform User Research: Designers and developers know and understand digital products better than the average user, especially a product they had a hand in creating. It is crucial to understand why and how the user will encounter and handle the application or website. This way, you will be able to understand where they may need help, support, or guidance and how to best respond to them in those moments. This knowledge begins with comprehensive consumer research and analysis.
- Hire Professional UX Writers: Professional UX writers will understand the elements behind UX writing, know which data is necessary to make copy decisions, and be able to adapt or change copy according to testing results. Keep in mind that UX writers are different than copywriters, as copywriters consider the needs of the business more than the needs of the consumer.
- Use Simple Language: Consider language that is appropriate for a general audience, rather than a knowledgeable audience. While designers and developers may be tempted to use technical jargon, as it is natural to them, it is best to use words everyone knows. Additionally, users prefer short and sweet so cut any additional words, unnecessary adverbs, and superlatives. It is important that users can scan the text and understand what to do, rather than have to concentrate to understand what to do next.
- Make it Human: Get creative with UX writing by imaging a real conversation with your user. You will start to use more conversational language, which can help your digital product engage and connect with the consumer.
- Start with Functional: A great rule of thumb is to draft UX writing. The first draft should focus on functional and useful information. Slowly, develop that draft to meet more objectives such as pleasing the user or creating meaning for the user.
- Test It: It is always important to test UX designs and writing. A/B testing is a fantastic way to see how users will respond to a few different options. In this way, you can select the copy that performs the best with your customers or continue to change the text to meet their needs. Additionally, it provides you with measurable results that you can present to management, key stakeholders, and clients to show why the UX copy went in a certain direction.