Posted June 14 by Roman Kalina
Jun 14 by Roman Kalina

Evolution of design: 8 rules of
UX writing

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There is a crucial difference between UX writer and conventional copywriter. UX writer is involved in the design process, whereas conventional copywriter fills the space in the design with the texts. Copywriter is creating marketing and promotional content e.g. “20% sale on all selected goods”, or promoting the product itself. Oftentimes it's the kind of content that people are usually filtering and do not pay any attention to. The role of the UX writer is to catch the eye of the user and make his experience as smooth as possible.

“The role of UX writer is to catch the eye of the user and make his experience as smooth as possible.”

UX writing is a new term in the world of design and creates a confusion inside and outside of the whole design community. In today's world, in which people have to filter the most important information, writing has become a crucial part of the design process and it's evolving ever since. People don't have time to read and when they are not impressed by what they see either on their computer or smartphone, they will find it somewhere else. That's exactly where UX writer comes to play. Google defines UX writers as advocates of the Google design, who help to shape product experiences by crafting copy that helps users complete the task at hand.

PLATFORM's design of Homepage for Event Agency

 

What is UX writing?
Website or an app is basically a communication between your product/brand and customer/user. If a user or a customer doesn't understand what your product or a brand is “talking about”, he will simply leave. The job of a UX writer is to guide the user through the product and help him to interact. He has to make communication between the user and your product as simple as possible. The simplified text has to answer all visitor's questions. Every button, every item in navigation, error messages, terms and conditions, everything that has an impact on user experience is taken care of by UX writer. When the user's first contact with your product isn't his last, UX writer did his job.

“When user's first contact with your product isn't his last, UX writer did a good job.”

Since UX writer is a fairly new term, there isn't a universal set of rules for them to follow. We have decided to share some tips to maximize the effectiveness of your product's copy.

Tone and Voice
The very first step of creating a copy for any project is to define the voice and tone. Texts that are included throughout the project have to reflect brand voice. If you are funny, be funny. But if your brand represents serious business, don't include a funny copy to your page. Be consistent. Define the words that you will use and will not.

PLATFORM's Homepage

 

User-Friendly
You don't have to be friendly to be user-friendly. Use the defined tone and voice and user through your product. He uses it for the first time and he doesn't know what to do or he doesn't know what your product is about. Your text should grab his arm and show him the unknown place around. You don't want the user to get lost or make mistakes. If he does, encourage him to move forward.

PLATFORM's Recipe App Chatbot

 

Speak their language
Developers know everything about different error codes. If you have very deep understanding of the product, you understand every jargon related to it. Most of your users don't. Unclear copy can also result in user making a mistake. Use simple language, don't make the user feel stupid.

Be short
Whatever you write, cut it in half. Rule of thumb is shorter the better. Writing short, not confusing texts are not easy, but when you will bore your user with long texts he will leave. Make your text easily scannable, so users know what to read.

GUTHAUS Homepage by PLATFORM

 

Use creativity
You don't have to be funny at all times, but use your creativity a little bit. If user ends up on a 404 page, tell him that something went wrong. Instead of making him feel bad about your website, entertain him. Same process applies when he makes a mistake. Don't mock him for making a mistake, remind him that he did something wrong and cheer him up, so he won't leave.

PLATFORM's 404 Page

 

Explain
Every button recalls an action, that helps you to sell your product. Whether it's a signup or a checkout, explain every single action that's going to happen after user clicks button. For example, if user is adding his credit card, don't use the proceed button, but inform him what is going to happen. Is he going to be charged right away, or he needs to perform another action? Be clear and explain.

Credit Card Checkout by Arina

 

Use images
Humans are visual creatures. When you can't explain it with words, help users with imagery. It makes it easy for users to understand and it also makes the whole screen scannable. Images, photos or custom illustrations will make the website or app more interesting to the user.

PLATFORM's 503 Page

 

Test
Some texts don't work for everybody. Prepare different sets of texts and test them on various users. Users that will visit your website from a paid ad might want to see something else than users that will land on your page organically.

UX writing is now an essential part of developing a digital product. It doesn't complements the design, it's a part of the design. You have a perfect design, a lot of superlatives describing your product and you wonder why you are not selling. There is a huge possibility that the copy makes users confused. Answer to your problem is pretty simple - UX writing.

Roman Kalina
Roman Kalina is a product strategist and copywriter at PLATFORM.
He is a former journalist, editor-in-chief and has over 9 years of writing experience.