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UX Writing - what is it and why is it important?

The last time you opened an app, did you pay attention to the words used on the buttons? Probably not. The last time you saw an ‘error’ message within an app, you probably didn’t remember which wording was used and where it was positioned.

Yet the apps we use daily (and even hourly) have many important bits of UX writing integrated within the design. This text guides us intuitively around an app or website - so much so, that we often don't really need to pay attention to what it actually says.

A good UX writing template will be simple and easy to follow. It will be so simple that you won’t have to really concentrate while you read it. It can be easily skim-read so that it directs the audience to what they need to access.

UX writing: what is it?

UX writing is like a compass disguised as the written copy. It’s signage that helps users navigate information on a digital map. This leads to an easy user experience on digital platforms.

Get it right, and customers can find the information they need, shop through products easily, and gain instant gratification without any frustration or struggle.

Make it too simple, and your customers might get frustrated that they cannot navigate your site. If there isn’t enough UX writing, users will become confused and lost. For example, they might be led back to the same page all the time, unable to find the information that they need.

UX writing is often referred to as microcopy or interface writing. But microcopy is not to be confused with copy.

Where marketing copy is designed to sell, UX microcopy is designed to help your audience use your digital platforms. It’s integral to the structure of any app or website and improves usability. Microcopy is the signage that guides users through the site or app. It’s concise and meaningful so that the user can gain the right information quickly and easily.

Where would you see UX writing?

UX writing glues together the UX design in digital interfaces so that your audience are easily guided through.

UX writing is used in…

  • Error messages
    Sympathetic messages help to reduce frustration when there is an issue with the app or website
  • Navigation and guidance
    Simple navigation instructions and interactive labels can help newcomers to find their way through the app or website from the beginning
  • Tools/tips
    UX Writing continues throughout the usability. It can be integrated into informing your customer about new updates, new features, and offers/deals
  • Buttons
    Clearly written buttons will enable ‘intuitive navigation', so that users automatically know where the click will take them

Features of good UX writing

Good UX writing will direct your customer to wherever they need to go, quickly and efficiently.

Efficient UX writing is…

  • Concise, yet meaningful
  • Easy to understand
  • Simple wording not overcomplicated
  • Jargon-free
  • Clearly guides users through a digital platform.

Keeping on-brand

Even though microcopy is plain and simple, it should still maintain brand identity wherever it can.  Effective UX writing keeps the brand tone of voice so that the user can follow navigational tools and guidance that keeps in line with the tone or theme of the content.

Although it doesn’t have to be injected into every single bit of microcopy, brand tone of voice should still be used wherever it’s necessary.

For example, if your brand is fun and informal, you might use ‘oops!’ in an error message. If you’re a more formal, serious brand then you might use more sophisticated language. If you’re talking to niche audiences, you might throw in industry-specific keywords.

Keep your buyer persona in mind

It’s not all about writing. In fact, the wording itself isn’t effective without consideration of format. It’s also about timing, position, design, and style.

And of course, tailor your UX writing to your buyer persona. Consider who will be using your digital platforms. For example, younger audiences would need short and simple wording perhaps with imagery to point them. Whereas older audiences might need extra guidance with navigation and clearer buttons.

Easy usability = more conversions

When they’re navigating your website or app, your customers want to access what they need quickly and easily.

Keeping this usability super simple will help customers breeze through your website. UX writing is incredibly effective when intertwined with top standard UX design.

Better usability, easy-to-follow navigation, and an excellent user experience. It all leads to the same thing: more leads, and more growth.

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