UX Chronicles #4: Writing in Design

Hi, welcome to another episode of my #uxchronicles. This week, I came to an intersection of two things I really love — Writing and Design, and how they relate to each other to make a better user experience.

In this article, I’ll be talking about UX writing, why it is important and how you should use it.

UX Writing is the practice of crafting copy which is directly used in user interfaces to guide users within a product and help them interact with it. It is a niche on its own, and some robust tech teams, hire UX writers who work with the UX team to provide microcopies for their products.

Image credit: uxdesign.cc

UX Writing differs from Content Writing because while UX Writing uses information from research to speak the language of their target audience and are heavily product-oriented as they work alongside product designers and engineers, content writers work mostly within a marketing team to highlight the key components of the product’s outcome to showcase it through campaigns that attract customers.

Simply put, UX writers help users achieve their goals when they use a product. They do this by writing the text that guides users as they navigate and interact with digital products, including calls-to-action, help content, onboarding flows, menu taxonomy, and more.

Image credit: Usabilitygeek.com

Here are some tips to implement while writing for user experience

  1. Be useful and concise: Although you are not your user, information gathered via research can you help you step into your users’ shoes and write in clear, succinct and human terms that are easy and simple for them to understand. Avoid the use of jargons and technical terms that might be confusing to them.
  2. Be clear: If the person who reads your copy doesn’t understand what we are trying to communicate, you have failed the task.
  3. Use brand’s voice: Write in a way that is consistent and in tone with what the company/products’s brand voice is.
  4. Start with the benefit/objective: People are more interested in what’s in it for them, than they are in the action they need to take. Hence, it’s advisable to begin a sentences with their benefits before action.
  5. Be consistent: Being consistent means paying attention to whatever style guide you’re using, so that you don’t mess up the grand impression. The style guide should confirm everything from tone of voice to which key terms to use and how to spell them (log in, login, or sign in?) and down to the other details like date and number formats.

I’ll end this article with this quote from Michael Metts:

Without words, apps would be an unusable jumble of shapes and icons, while voice interfaces and chatbots wouldn’t even exist. Words make software human-centered, and require just as much thought as the branding and the code.

Here, I allow my imaginations roll. This is where I pull off my shoes. Get in!