Anyone who has worked on a web, product, or any other form of digital design has probably discovered the importance of leading the design process with content, the power of words in interfaces, and the similarities between UX design and writing.
What is UX writing?
UX writing (user experience writing) is the process of creating a similar version (copy) of a website, in order to make the site more informative and making it more simple to use.
So, what is the difference between UX writing and other kinds of website writing? Primarily, it’s a difference in terms of goals and approaches. For example:
- Copywriters create website and landing page copy with the express purpose of attracting leads and turning them into revenue.
- Content writers create guest blog posts, articles, and other informative content that educates and sometimes entertains readers for the purposes of marketing and thought leadership.
- UX writers create website copy that makes websites more intuitive and enjoyable to use, which in turn increases users’ confidence and satisfaction with the entire experience.
It’s important to note that all three of these can work together. UX writing can add to other website writing in a number of ways, including by ensuring that deep research and testing have been done to ensure the best possible content.
The Importance of UX writing
Writing copy for your website is not an easy task. While you might know your brand inside and out and can explain your offering well, you also need to have a perspective and think like one of your visitors, think about how they are going to feel when they read your copy. This in turn helps users to create a positive association with your website and brand and can ultimately lead to notable business growth.
More practically, a user needs to understand the flow of your site and what will lead them to where they want to be. So for example, if a user is looking to make a purchase on your website but has misunderstood what will lead them to the checkout page, that can prevent a purchase from going through. This can have an immediate impact on your business. It is therefore crucial to take the time to consider the copy and placement of all content on your website.
UX writing also forces you to look closely at who your brand serves, what pains them, what they need, and what they want. This can produce writing that is targeted towards your ideal customer, making them more likely to buy from you and increasing the chances that you’ll be satisfied with your users.
The Usual process of UX writing:
In order to have a better understanding of how the UX writing process goes, we will mention the general steps that should always be followed.
A. Doing the necessary Research
All parts of UX design require user research to understand the typical user’s behavior. And UX writing is just one piece of the larger UX design puzzle. Because of this, UX writers are just as involved during the initial research and discovery phases as the designers and researchers are.
General research into the industry and audience is a must. However, it’s critical that UX writers be involved in the user research and interviews that take place upfront. Not only will this help them gain a better idea of who they’re writing copy for, but it allows them to hear the users’ actual voices and to get a sense of the language they use.
B. Planning a Strategy
UX writers are experts in the field of communication. Even if they haven’t mastered their skills in terms of web design, they understand how the formatting and flow of language can impact a person’s ability to comprehend and relate to the message. UX writers should therefore be involved in determining the larger strategy of a given website or brand.
In addition to being involved in the website strategy, UX writers are also often responsible for creating the content strategy for the blog.
C. The Writing
The most important step is the writing itself. UX writing is generally related to the smaller components of a website. For example: Success messages, Error messages, Button text, and other options.
While it’s true that UX writers look carefully into the process of microcopy, they can’t ignore the rest of the copy on the site. All site copy comes together to form a complete image that the user receives when they visit a website. Therefore, when thinking about the writing itself, consider both the microcopy as well as the more long-form content. Think about how the two will work together to create a complete message.
D. Final Checks (Testing)
UX writers select the words they would like to use very carefully, considering the data they receive from the users’ research.
This is why UX writers are always testing variations of their copy through A/B testing. The goal is to make the website more simple for visitors to use, and even the smallest adjustments to menu labels or form instructions can help them accomplish that.
Before we dive into the tips we would have an honorable mention which is an alternative solution.
As we all know, creating your own UX messages can be a daunting process.
Therefore, you can save a lot of time and effort by using EverXP API, which provides thousands of UX messages that are viable for everyone and can be used according to specific guidelines and preferences.
Our expanding database keeps on adding new messages that you can also adjust and customize at any time.
Now, here are tips on how to improve your UX writing:
1. Make it easier to scan your long content by using structural elements
Give your readers a hand finding that one important line by giving your content a clear structure.
There are a couple of things you can do in order to make your content have an easier scannable structure:
- Mark or Bold important lines.
- Creating bulleted/numbered lists when wanting to state reasons/suggest tips and any other format that can be listed.
- Using headings and subheadings.
- Spacing between paragraphs.
2. Deliver a clear message of the benefit
Readers are generally avoiding using any kind of effort unless they know they’ll get something in return for it.
They also tend to focus most of their attention on the beginnings and ends of sentences — usually, the beginnings are really where you have most of their attention.
So if you’re trying to get someone to do something, don’t start by explaining the action. Start with why they should take that action. Explain what they’ll get out of doing something, and they’ll often be more inclined to do it.
3. Targeting the right words for empowering the reader’s emotional response.
Think about how would you like your visitors to feel when they read your content.
The proper use of powerful words can create an emotional response from your reader, making your copy more persuasive to them. This can help you elicit the response you want from visitors. OptinMonster has a list of over 700 of them known to increase conversions that you can take advantage of while writing your UX copy.
Using a quotes API can be a great way to trigger an emotional response, by sharing quotes about happiness, inspiration, or any other non-serious quotes that will make your users to have laugh.
It is important to note that UX writing needs to improve the visitor’s experience, not put them on edge or make them feel bad in case they decide not to take any action. So, pay attention to what kinds of emotions your word choices make them feel, and focus on positive and encouraging messages.
4. Avoid Using Past Tense
Oftentimes businesses are successful when they are innovative and can help customers or clients get away from their past. So, when you write in the present/future tense, you address the needs of your clients and suggest them a solution according to their present situation instead of asking them to look backwards.
Even if the number of clients has been left out of the present tense statement, it’s still a stronger and more confidence-building approach.
5. Write In an Active Voice
The importance of writing in active voice over passive voice is that it gives the visitor a confidence boost knowing that you’re in control. Active voice also tends to deliver a clearer message and doesn’t force your visitors to think too hard about understanding what you have written.
6. Don’t force yourself to write lengthy content
Even though it is important to be informative and deliver as much information as possible, sometimes it is better to keep it short.
Keeping a message short and simple is an important principle in both design and writing. When writing UX copy, at the end of the day the most important thing here is to ask yourself and see if what you’ve written accomplishes what you set out to do.
It might not seem like a big deal, but you can remove a lot of frustration, confusion, and unnecessary customer concerns by writing more specific copy instead of worrying about the length of the content.
Using clearer calls-to-action can be a way to make your content shorter while reducing the customer’s frustration and improving the user experience as well.