Find valuable UX writing tips on how to create a seamless user experience that keeps visitors engaged and coming back for more.
Designers and developers often find themselves tasked with writing copy for their projects, from website content to interface labels. However, writing may not be their area of expertise, and it can be challenging to create compelling copy that resonates with the audience. That’s where UX writing comes in.
UX writing is the art of creating copy that guides the user through an interface, and it plays a critical role in making sure users can navigate and understand a product.
You might not consider yourself a writer, but creating an effective user experience (UX) requires you to acquire many skills including writing your own copy.
In this article, we will discuss ten simple writing tips for designers and developers to improve their UX writing skills and create more engaging content for users.
Getting started with UX writing
Before diving into the best practices, it’s important to understand the role of UX writing in the design process. UX writing is not just about writing copy; it’s about creating a conversation between the user and the product. This conversation should be clear, concise, and helpful, guiding the user through the interface and solving their problems.
UX writers should have a deep understanding of the product and its users. They need to know what the user is looking for, what their pain points are, and how the product can help them. By understanding the user’s perspective, UX writers can craft copy that resonates with the user and creates a more engaging experience.
This is why designers and developers make a great one to write the copy because they build the product. They have created the ecosystem of the product, and nobody knows better about it than them.
10 best practices for top-level UX writing
As designers and developers, a copywriting job is not always your strongest suit. However, when it comes to creating effective user experiences, the right words can make all the difference. Here are ten tips for creating effective UX copy:
1. Set a clear message
The problem with UX writing for those who have never written one is making the message cluttered and confusing. This is like a really bad copy where the first thing people react to is raising their brows! Or, if that’s applied to pushed notifications, people are ready to swipe them off.
This is why the first and most important rule of UX writing is to set a clear message. Your copy should convey a single, focused message that aligns with the user’s needs right off the bat. Your message should be simple, easy to understand, and communicated in a way that resonates with the user.
For example, instead of saying “Our product is the best on the market,” try “Our product can solve your problem better than any other.” The second message is more specific and focused on the user’s needs.
Make sure to write your copy in an active voice. Active sentences are easier to follow as people can grasp the points right away. Check out another example below of how active sentences are used clearly in a food delivery app.
2. Concise is key
UX writing should be concise and to the point. Users don’t want to read long paragraphs or complicated sentences. Keep your copy short and sweet, using simple language and avoiding jargon or technical terms.
When in doubt, cut unnecessary words and simplify your message. For example, never say “We offer a comprehensive range of services,” but use “Get everything you need” instead.
Shorter sentences are always easier to digest and it takes less time to understand what your copy is about. Many writers consider a full explanation because it describes every benefit that people are looking for, while in fact, this can be quite frustrating for the readers.
Remember that you don’t create an article about your product or service because it’s a whole different topic. Your UX copy should help people navigate your website or app to get what they want in a short time. That’s the reason you should make a concise copy from the very beginning.
This is an example of what concise writing looks like. It doesn’t take much space but is clear enough for people to understand what you’re trying to offer.
3. Write as you talk
One of the keys to effective UX writing is to write as you talk. Use conversational language that sounds like a human is speaking, not a robot. This makes your copy more approachable and relatable, creating a better user experience.
Avoid using stiff or formal language and focus on creating a friendly and helpful tone. Instead of using this sentence “Please enter your email address,” try with “Let’s start with your email address!”
This may sound contradictory to the previous tip as the first sentence is technically shorter, but the latter copy works best on your page where you’re about to direct someone to sign up on your website. The former statement looks fine in a fill-out form although you can improve it by cutting the word ‘Please’ and adding ‘Here’ by the end of the sentence.
So, is it a tricky practice?
Quite, but you’ll get it just fine.
You can use conversational tones in product descriptions or upselling sentences. Check out how Mailchimp is using a conversational tone on this page.
4. Always bring solutions
Good UX writing doesn’t just describe the problem; it also offers a solution. When writing copy, focus on the benefits of the product and how it can help the user. This creates a more positive experience and encourages the user to take action.
So, instead of writing this “You can’t access this feature without an account,” try using “Sign up to access every feature!”
Doesn’t it sound different?
Both sentences indicate that you need an account to access a feature. A solution you can offer is to encourage people to register their accounts. The first sentence sounds very negative and unpleasing to read because it prohibits you from entering the app, while the second gives you an idea of creating accounts on your own.
5. Use positive statements
Speaking of positivity, it’s important to use positive statements in your UX writing. Avoid negative statements that make the user feel bad or discouraged. Instead, focus on positive statements that encourage the user to take action and feel good about using your product.
For example, do not say “You must complete this form.”
You can use a sentence like “Fill out this form to get started.”
See the difference?
Positive statements always work because they empower you to take action instead of warning you with a popup message. You can combine positive reinforcement with emoticons or funny characters that give a warm emotional appeal to your audience.
6. Straight to the main points
In UX writing, less is often more. Users have limited attention spans, so it’s important to get to the point quickly. Start with the main message or action and keep it concise. Avoid lengthy introductions or unnecessary information that may distract users from the core message.
This sentence is too long and boring: “We offer a wide range of products and services that can help you improve your business,” compared to this one “Improve your business with [your business product/name].”
Why the second sentence works, you may ask? Because first, it’s way shorter and that’s just how people read nowadays.
Have you ever heard of F-shaped pattern reading? It’s a reading technique where users read the first few sentences in the horizontal line and then scan across the message down on the left side. Hence the F-shaped.
But, people don’t always read the full sentence from left to right. They tend to read the beginning and the end sentences. This is why beginning and end sentences should be powerful and easy to remember in the first few seconds.
You can use this F-shaped technique when you have a longer copy and blog post on your website. Otherwise, people won’t pay attention to any of your messages.
7. Build a consistent style
Consistency is key in UX writing. Using consistent language, tone, and style across all touchpoints can help users navigate your product or service with ease. It creates a sense of familiarity and trust, making users more comfortable interacting with your brand.
Before you start writing, define your brand voice and tone. Are you friendly and approachable? Professional and authoritative? Use this voice consistently across all your copy, from the website to the user interface.
When building a consistent pattern, make sure to pay attention to the font and color used in your copy. People always remember the visible things including shapes and colors. Creating a patent style will help people remember your brand for a longer time. They may as well associate a ‘copy’ of your UX writing style with your company whenever they see a similar one from your competitors.
8. Work with humor and puns
Adding humor or puns to your writing can make it more engaging and memorable. It can make users feel more connected to the product or service they are using. It also creates a sense of personality and humanity behind the brand, which can be appealing to users.
Moreover, adding humor and puns to UX writing can make the experience more enjoyable for users. Humor breaks up the monotony of a long process or adds a light-hearted touch to a serious topic.
However, be careful not to overdo it or use humor inappropriately. It should align with your brand voice and tone and not offend or confuse users. Humor shouldn’t detract from the clarity and effectiveness of the message being conveyed. If done correctly, adding humor and puns to UX writing can be a great way to engage your audience.
9. Align copy with the design
UX writing and design go hand in hand. Your copy should align with the design of your product or service, creating a seamless and cohesive user experience. Use typography, color, and layout to guide users through the content and highlight the most important information.
For example, use larger font sizes and bold text for headings and calls to action. Use color contrast to make important information stand out. Also, make sure to add white space to create visual breathing room and break up the copy to build greater content readability.
A mismatched design with the copy gives an awful experience for the reader because they are simply not compatible. Like if you’re using a picture of tragedy to promote your new product, this will sound tone-deaf for those who are suffering no matter how cheerful your copy is. And, nothing is worse than tone-deaf marketing as it hurts your audience and your brand’s image.
10. Don’t be pushy (and salesy)
We should never be salesy in UX writing because it can make users feel like they are being manipulated or pressured into taking a certain action. Instead, UX writing should focus on providing clear and helpful information that enables users to make informed decisions based on their own needs and preferences.
You can improve UX writing by focusing on user needs. Instead of emphasizing the benefits of a product or service, focus on how it meets the needs of the user. This can involve highlighting the features relevant to the user, or explaining how the product or service can help them solve a problem.
Be transparent about the limitations of the product or service. This allows you to help build trust with users and ensure that they have realistic expectations.
Also, avoid hype and exaggeration in UX writing. This creates a sense that they are being sold to, and may lead to skepticism or mistrust. Provide information about your product without making exaggerated claims or false promises.
So, instead of writing, “Our product will revolutionize the industry and change your life forever,” use “Our product can help simplify your workflow and save you time and money.”
Effective UX writing is essential for creating a seamless and enjoyable user experience. By following these ten simple writing strategies, designers and developers can improve their UX writing skills and create copy that resonates with their audience.
Remember to keep it concise, consistent, and aligned with the design. Use a sense of humor and always provide value without being pushy. Using positive statements can also help improve the brand’s image and build a strong connection with your customers.
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