UX writing - cover

Why UX Writing Makes (or Breaks) Your Design

Design, Product
12 min
May 15, 2024

Standing out in the technological landscape is no longer about only creating a cutting-edge digital product. This is about the atmosphere you fill your brand with. Communication with the customers begins from the very first second of getting acquainted with the product. And depending on how clear and engaging it is, the user journey will flow.

The statistics reflect the following user behavior: the first impression in 94% of cases is design-related, and in 38%, visitors will stop interacting if they face poor content or layout quality. A significant part of the design relates to messaging: long reads to several-word notifications. That is why the UX (user experience) writing concept gains power.

Discover for yourself what UX writing represents, its main principles, and how they can be implemented into the product design process.

What Is UX Writing?

The definition of UX writing refers to crafting a copy for the textual design elements of a digital product. You can see its results when reading information on the buttons or receiving an error message.

UX writing is commonly associated with traditional content writing, such as copywriting or technical writing. However, while the goal of copywriting is to sell products and technical writing is to provide in-depth instructions, UX writing’s purpose is to guide users intuitively.

What Does a UX Writer Do?

A UX writer encompasses writing copy for all user interface (UI) elements. Thus, this specialist generates every piece of text you see on menus, buttons, cards, checkboxes, dropdowns, forms, icons, loaders, fields, notifications, bars, and other navigational components.

The text UX writers create can be of different types depending on the end-user needs and brand messaging. These can be UI text, copy, microcopy, content, instructions, interface copy, or in-product copy. Starting with onboarding and including all textual materials, the UX writer will fill them with concise and appropriate text.

Why UX Writing Is Important

UX writing is a content strategy for a company. And here is why it is now more important than ever.

Why UX Writing Is Important

Improved User Interface

A successful interaction between a product and a customer occurs when the latter achieves the desired result. Be it a Google weather forecast or ordering a pizza, logical and coherent copies will seamlessly guide the person. Thus, the users get what they have come for easily and quickly.

Improved User Engagement

If experience using the product only makes one’s hair stand on end from long messages and intrusive notifications, this will result in losing interest in using the service. Users are interested when they get what they want seamlessly and quickly. Clear messaging accelerates that process.

Increased Brand Consistency

The research shows that staying consistent across all channels helps businesses increase their revenue by up to 23%. Brand consistency is achieved by following UX writing principles. Being unique at all user touchpoints increases the brand’s individuality and awareness.

Increased Conversion Rate

If you want your users to take action on the platform, you can prepare the layout for them with clear messaging and intuitive navigation. Thus, you can keep visitors busy exploring your service instead of confusing and missing potential clients.

Improved SEO Rankings

Well-thought and optimized UX writing copy brings more organic traffic via search engines. Your product will become higher in rankings and more visible to customers.

UX Writing Principles

So, what are writing UX fundamentals? Let’s see below.

UX Writing Principles

Clarity and Brevity

The main goal of UX writing is to help people understand the content. This means that messages should be written in plain English without any technical jargon. You can leave it for your professional communication. Also, when instructions are needed, be sure to add them.

Crafting copies for websites or applications is always about limited space, as the text should align with the design. This is also to the advantage of users. Instead of reading that long and boring “Proceeding with the operation “Delete” will erase the contents…”, you can go with “The deletion will erase your data.” The meaning remains the same, but the semantic perception during reading differs.

User-Oriented Approach

Before explaining to users what actions they should take on the platform, the question should be, “Who are my users?” Sometimes, the UX writing copy might be good but not solve customers’ pains. That is why putting a client at the center of the UX writing process is crucial for aligning content with end-user needs.

Accessibility

One of the primary functions of UX writing is to allow as many people as possible to use the product. Designing with inclusivity in mind also benefits the business. This approach helps boost revenue, improve SEO, and increase brand loyalty.

Accessibility for UX writing is presented in many ways, such as adding descriptive text to all images, providing subtitles to videos, or offering a few more options for one action.

Active Voice and Positive Tone

Active voice makes the action performer’s language direct, clear, and understandable. Active voice is more powerful in calling the user to action and acting rapidly. As for the positive tone, it is quite simple: people love positive emotions, so even the platform instructions should set the mood.

Consistency

Consistency in UX design and strategic planning is often overlooked. However, consistency shapes your brand identity and makes you unique. When speaking to your customers, your tone of voice should be the same for every UI element.

UX Writing Tips

To make your UX writing copy successful, follow the next solutions in the daily development process:

UX Writing Tips

  • Research the audience. UX writing is aimed at your future audience. UX writers spend dozens of hours selecting the combination of necessary phrases and words to make the user’s journey as convenient as possible. Therefore, to increase the efficiency of UX writing, it’s crucial to thoroughly know all your customers’ pain points.
  • Include A/B tests. A/B testing is widespread in the UX writing process as well. It’s one of the core instruments that helps the developers understand which test variants are better perceived by the audience. The outcome of A/B testing helps the team collect the necessary data and make the necessary changes to the development process.
  • Simplify the writing. UX writing is the opposite of wordy writing. Therefore, to create simple yet clear content, it’s crucial to avoid complex phrases that may confuse your future audience. Instead, it’s necessary to use simple phrases and words aimed at actions. For instance, if some interface button should contain a COT phrase, it’s vital to shorten it.
  • Use spaces. Spaces are friends of qualitative content writing. It helps to separate and define logical sections of the content. We are talking about micro-spaces that are necessary to create the required gaps between the text elements of the interface. Moreover, a single spacing can create a visual hierarchy of all the visual components.
  • Focus on error prevention. Another important principle that should be followed in the UX writing journey is preventing complications in the audience’s journey. While experiencing the product, the user can be easily distracted by large amounts of information. That’s why the writing staff’s task is to minimize any complication and, in case of occurrence, provide the user with an understandable way to solve the issue.

UX Writing Best Practices

Crafting compelling and useful UX writing copy goes only by trial and error. The samples below will show you what UX copy works well and what UX copy to learn from to avoid making the same mistake in the future.

Best UX Writing Examples

Duolingo

Those learning a new language are definitely familiar with Duolingo Owl. It’s the brand’s identity. Even in the closing message, they use their symbol and a note of human touch. That is what people are missing in these days of evolving technology.

UX Writing - Duolingo

Bumble

An aspect Bumble is showing in its UX writing text is inclusiveness. The role of a digital product is to welcome everyone, no matter what age, gender, ethnicity, or race they are.

UX Writing - Bumble

Bad UX Writing Examples

LinkedIn

Despite being a popular platform, LinkedIn includes a lot of jargon in its copy. For example, how will a new user know what “Premium Early Access” or “Focused Inbox” is? At least, there should be some additional buttons leading to the terms’ explanations.

UX Writing - LinkedIn

Microsoft

The error message from Microsoft gives no value to the user. It is a combination of characters that is somewhat confusing. If you are an engineer, you can deal with it, but an ordinary user will fail to understand it, and in the best-case scenario, just close the message (in the worst case, switch to another service).

UX Writing - Microsoft

UX Writing Future

UX writing doesn’t stand still. As the technology develops, it aligns with the changes. With more modern tendencies entering the digital product development landscape, the workflow of UX writing processes changes. This is what UX writers should be prepared for in the future.

  1. Writing with AI. One significant artificial intelligence (AI) ability is to analyze a huge amount of information and give a personalized analysis within minutes. This function can be applied to tailoring solutions to every user. Thus, the role of the UX writer will be to ensure the instructions are clear and personalized.
  2. Writing for voice experiences. Voice user interface (VUI) already facilitates the interaction between a user and a computer. So, the challenge for UX writers will be to learn how to write for such technologies. This will include optimizing call-to-action buttons, including frame prompts, conversational markers, and many other aspects.

Conclusion

UX writing is an integral part of the product creation process. It is the voice of the brand that guides users during their user journey. UX writing fills all the UI elements that contain text.

Working conscientiously on UX writing pays off. The result is an improved conversion rate, SEO ranking, brand awareness, and overall user satisfaction.

by Ivan Klyzhenko
UX Startup Advisor, Uitop

FAQ

What is UX writing?

UX writing is the process of writing text for the product’s UI elements, such as buttons, bars, fields, forms, error messages, and others. It is not the same as content creation, as it aims to make the user journey easy and smooth with clear messaging.

Why invest in UX writing?

This is not about just text creation. It is about speaking the brand’s voice. Clear communication via text can bring many benefits to the company, including increased user engagement, satisfaction, loyalty, and conversation.

What are UX writing principles?

The process is built on the following fundamentals: clarity and brevity, a user-oriented approach, accessibility and inclusivity, an active voice, and consistency.

How do I write for UX purposes?

UX writing consists of several steps. It starts with researching the future target audience and finding the users’ pains. Then comes writing a copy. When the text is ready, it undergoes a testing procedure. The results show how the text should be simplified and optimized before reaching the end-user.

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