Why Does UX Writing Matter? Perspectives from the User, the Business, and the UX Writer.
When it comes to web and app design, the visual aspects of user interfaces steal the spotlight with their ingenious layouts, stunning colour palettes, and eye-catching animations. Meanwhile, the impact of the written words on these design components often goes unnoticed and unappreciated. While most companies recognize the importance of having a great UI or UX designer on board, they generally overlook the importance of professional UX writing.
In this article, we will explain what UX writing is and explore how expert UX writers approach their job. Moreover, we will examine the question 'Why does UX writing matter?' from 3 perspectives: the end user, the business, and the UX writer. Continue reading till the end to discover the key benefits of UX writing.
What Is UX Writing?
User experience writing, commonly known as UX writing, is a distinct discipline focused on creating written content specifically for digital interfaces. But wait, isn't it just content writing? The truth is, the two often get confused as they both require similar competences, like excellent writing skills, creativity and research proficiency. Let's take a look at the differences between the two disciplines to better grasp the nuances that set UX writing apart from similar practices.
Content writers specialise in creating longer forms such as website or landing page content, blog articles, e-books, and social media posts. On the other hand, microcopy (navigation labels, buttons, CTA's, error messages) and macrocopy (notifications, invitations, confirmation pages) all lay in UX writers' expertise.
UX writers aim to create content that facilitates user navigation and interaction with digital products. Through the expert use of words, they provide easy-to-follow instructions and guidance. Content writers, on the other hand, prioritise informing, entertaining, and engaging the target audience, while also considering on-page SEO for better results.
While content writers excel in descriptive and contextual content, UX writers tend to write copy that is shorter, more concise and action-oriented. As a result, microcopy is usually more direct, as opposed to the more conversational style of longer-from texts. Moreover, UX writers may deviate from the brand's tone of voice if necessary for precise communication. Whereas, content writers must always adhere to the established tone of voice.
When it comes to content writers, they can be involved before, during, or after the product design process, and still deliver a cohesive result. However, UX writers should be part of the design team from the start to provide their valuable written input and elevate the interfaces with their expertise.
Best Practices From Great UX Writers
The purpose of this article is not to delve into UX writing fundamentals or provide tips – that's a topic for another day! However, by showcasing you a snippet of Google's three UX writing best practices, I aim to illustrate the impact of good UX writing.
Let's break down how Google's UX writers refined the original message by applying the principles of clarity, conciseness, and usefulness:
- Clear: They cleared up the error message from any technical jargon that might be unintelligible to regular users, opting instead for a user-centric active voice. Notice how much clearer the message becomes when you frame it from the user's point of view.
- Concise: Our eyes follow the F-shaped reading pattern, which means that we pay the most attention to the first two lines and scan through the rest. By removing the unnecessary heading and condensing the message, they managed to convey the same information in just 2 words.
- Useful: Effective UX writing goes beyond providing information, offering instructions and guidance as well. By transforming the call to action from a simple 'OK' into two actionable options, users are now empowered to choose a solution to the problem.
Now that we have explored the essence of UX writing and how professionals approach it, it's time to examine its importance from 3 key perspectives: the user, the business, and the UX writer.
Perspective #1 – User
As the name suggests, user experience writing is all about putting yourself in the end user's shoes. Firstly, let's explore the importance of UX writing from this perspective.
Improved Usability and Accessibility
In a dream scenario, the UX writing process begins with conducting user research and ends on usability testing. However, projects often face limited budgets and tight schedules. Nevertheless, UX writers should prioritise inclusivity and accessibility in the digital experiences they help to create. Through clear language, inclusive terminology, and following accessibility guidelines, UX writers can improve readability and enhance user experience for individuals of all backgrounds.
Seamless Navigation Through Clear Communication
Step one: Eliminate friction.
How often do we come across convoluted error messages that leave us puzzled and frustrated? To avoid negative interaction, it's essential to remove any potential obstacles that users may encounter on their journey through the product. Good UX writing first and foremost reduces confusion and streamlines the learning curve.
Step two: Apply positive force.
Make sure that every tiny piece of microcopy clearly conveys the purpose and instructions for a specific interaction. By offering guidance in a user-friendly manner, UX writers assist users in effortlessly navigating even the most complex workflows. After all, this is what the user expects from a product they're using – intuitive, informative and engaging messaging.
This is what sets apart exceptional UX writing from merely functional microcopy or macrocopy. Professional UX writing has the power to captivate users, make them laugh, or empower them to reach their goals. Through the expert selection of words, UX writers create a sense of connection with the product or a brand. Those meaningful interactions elevate the overall user experience from good to truly exceptional.
Perspective #2 – Business
The truth is, most digital products are created with certain business objectives in mind. The UX writer's job is therefore to strike the right balance between delightful copy and aligning with the company's goals. Let's delve into why UX writing matters from a business perspective.
From persuasive microcopy to effective calls-to-action, the written word's impact on conversion rates cannot be underestimated. Each piece of content acts as a useful guidepost that helps individuals smoothly navigate through the user flow and reach the conversion point with ease. Skilled UX writers excel at reducing bounce rates and encouraging user actions, ultimately resulting in increased revenue for the company.
Strong Digital Presence
At times, UX writers may neglect the brand's tone of voice in favour of crystal-clear messaging. However, even something as unassuming as a CTA button can contribute to conveying the company's unique character. By establishing a cohesive writing style, user experience writing reinforces the brand's messaging and strengthens its digital presence. This consistency across all touchpoints plays a crucial role in fostering customer loyalty and building trust.
Think of companies like Slack, InPost, or Airbnb. Their straightforward, engaging, and at times witty tone is precisely what sets them apart from more traditional competitors. In today's ever-changing business landscape, investing in great UX writing proves to be crucial to gain competitive advantage and in turn achieve commercial success.
Perspective #3 – UX Writer
Are you a UX writer yourself, or maybe considering entering this field? It's high time we make a case for why the expertise of UX writers is invaluable in creating intuitive, engaging, and memorable digital products and experiences.
Simplifying Complex Processes
User workflows can vary from straightforward to complex or downright overwhelming. The UX writer's role is to simplify complex or difficult tasks by providing clear guidance. Through the expert selection of words and messaging, they break down intricate processes into intuitive interactions. This simplification mindset, combined with strong technical writing skills, is precisely what makes UX writers indispensable members of the product design team.
Design and Language Synergy
Even the most visually stunning user interfaces would feel incomplete without well-crafted microcopy and macrocopy. UX writers collaborate closely with UX designers to shape the user experience through the synergy of design and language. They ensure that all visual elements effectively communicate their purpose through expertly written content.
Making an Impact
Lastly, UX writing is an essential component of human-centred design. Thoughtful and engaging language holds the power to create meaningful experiences, while clear and concise writing helps users effortlessly understand and navigate the product. By placing the user at the centre of the UX design process, UX writers and designers foster inclusivity, accessibility, and usability.
As we reach the end of this article, I sincerely hope that exploring all 3 perspectives has provided you with a comprehensive understanding of the influential role of UX writing. We have delved into how UX writers elevate the user experience through thoughtful and human-centred communication. We have analysed the significance of involving them in the product design process for business success. Lastly, we have gained insights into why UX writing matters through the point of view of UX writers themselves.
If you're seeking a company that integrates UX writing into their processes to achieve more impactful results, don't hesitate to contact us today! Hero/dot's Engagement Design team is here to assist you in enhancing your digital product or service into a truly memorable experience.
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