UX Writing – Designing with Words
UX Writing is a crucial aspect of creating a successful digital product that resonates with users. It involves creating clear, concise, and effective content that communicates the product’s value proposition, guides the user through their journey, and ultimately leads to conversions. UX writing requires a deep understanding of the user’s expectations and can make a significant impact on the overall user experience. By involving UX Writers in the design process from the beginning and integrating them into company processes, businesses can streamline their content creation and documentation, increase efficiency and consistency, and ultimately achieve greater success in their digital products.
UX writing plays a crucial role in the Design Process
The first post in this two-part series will illustrate the many ways in which UX Writing can contribute to creating a successful digital product, outlining the practice of crafting words that appear in digital interfaces, and why it’s essential for creating usable and accessible products. A second post will follow, outlining the significant contribution UX Writing can make to the design process and the impact it can have within your company.
Visuals alone will not get you far
Imagine an app interface without any words – all you get are pictures and symbols. Chances are, you will not be able to use it, derive any kind of use from it, and you will certainly not enjoy it. That’s why words are essential to digital products, and why UX writing plays such a crucial role in the design process.
Why words matter
UX Writing is everywhere: you can find it on login screens, account settings, payment screens, push notifications, contact forms and confirmation emails. UX writing refers to any and all writing that shows up on an interface, be that a webpage, an app, or any other digital product.
UX Writing ideates and creates these words – turning a pretty product into a usable one. But UX Writing is more than simply making a product usable (as essential as that is): UX Writing can make your product accessible to people with disabilities worldwide. By 2025, all websites and apps will have to comply with the European Accessibility Act, and UX Writing can help make interfaces accessible through alt-text, extra information and the exact placement of words usable for screen readers, for example.
UX Writing creates accessible content
Take a look at the interface of a travel app. The texts on each side display the text that is read by a screen reader, which might be used by someone who has visibility issues, for example. Unfortunately, a screen reader reading out the German text version stumbles over a variety of issues. Looking at the image above, we can see that the date range, “10-15- Dec.” is read out as “10. minus 15. Dec”. Further, the gendered language, distinguished by a colon, is read out as two separate words (“Vermieter In”). Hardly conducive for easy comprehension.
By making your interface accessible, you enable the 1.3 billion people with disabilities worldwide to use your products. In Germany alone, around 13% of people have an officially recognized disability, while around 15.6 % have an impairment of some kind.
Importantly, words on interfaces do not exist in a vacuum. A UX writer working with a product ensures that all text is consistent and cohesive throughout the product, and even across all products of a brand. We distinguish between microcopy and long copy, where the former can be onboarding information, payment screens and logins (as mentioned above), while the latter can be app store listings, account recovery emails and privacy policies. This means that all copy across a digital product is ideated and created by UX writers to build a cohesive narrative across all interfaces.
Micro copy for macro impact
Let’s take a closer look at the impact of words on website visitors. According to the following graphic, 37 % of users leave a website due to poor design and navigation, 44 % leave because they cannot find the contact information they need, and a staggering 46 % leave, because they find the message on the page unclear.
Think about it for a moment. If a user cannot understand the message on your website, they will be left wondering why they should bother using the product or service. They will be confused about what to do to next. Similarly, if they can’t find the contact information they need, they’ll be left wondering where to turn for help and more information. With poor design and navigation, i.e. without clear direction, users won’t know what their options are or how to proceed. It’s clear that the right words, presented in the right way, can make all the difference when it comes to keeping visitors engaged and driving conversions on your website.
Happy users: From a functional to usable product
In order to make users happy, you need, at the most basic level, a functional and usable product. UX writing supports these goals, by creating texts that support core functionalities, clarity and readability, and users’ basic needs and expectations.
UX writing supports people in using the product as intended, helping them navigate the product with ease and confidence.
But UX writing can go further by creating words that are scannable and predictable, that support wayfinding and solve pain points. By making the user experience smooth and intuitive, UX writing can turn a functional product into a product that users enjoy.
UX Writing turns a functional product into an enjoyable one
The example on the left shows an appropriate, clear, and functional text. But take a look at the text on the right: in addition to being all of the above, it is now also useful. The text guides the user to the next possible step (Try again) and solves a pain point (recover password).
Take your product from surviving to thriving
Once you have a functional and usable product, attuning the tone of your words creates a product that is contextual. This means, your words meet the user’s moods and emotions. The tones of voice can range from being funny to serious, casual to formal, respectful to irreverent, enthusiastic to matter-of-fact. Text can create inclusivity and respect, and show the benefits to your user, which increases trust in your product. UX writing attunes the product to the user’s mental state and expectations.
With the right tone, you establish the context of your product, with the voice of your text you can infuse your product with personality. Unique and recognizable words support your brand character, reflect your customer values, and make the product overall more human.
In using a voice specific to your brand in UX Writing, your product becomes a trusted friend or partner.
UX Writing humanizes your product
In summary, UX writing is the ideation and creation of text that appears on interfaces, making a product usable and accessible to people with disabilities worldwide. The right words, presented in the right way, can make all the difference in keeping visitors engaged and driving conversions on a website. UX writing can turn a functional product into a product that users enjoy, by creating scannable and predictable words that solve pain points and attune the tone of the product to the user’s mental state and expectations. Ultimately, using a specific brand voice in UX writing can make a product a trusted friend or partner.
Stay tuned for the second part of this blog post, in which we will reveal how to make an impact within your company through UX Writing.
Interested in finding out more? Here Iconstorm, our team is uniquely equipped to implement all the advantages that UX Writing has to offer, improving not only your product but the process of integrating words into user interfaces. We further elevate your self-competency and your company’s practices around text. Our UX Writing team is composed of equal parts writers, editors, and user-centered designers, who bring a wealth of expertise in understanding of product and its processes, UX research, usability, design thinking, and psychology. With our extensive experience, we have helped some of the industry’s major players create better user experiences.
Contact us (firstname.lastname@example.org) to find out more!