The Ultimate Intro to UX Writing
UX Tips

Published on January 3, 2023

The Ultimate Intro to UX Writing

UX writing aims to help users understand and complete their tasks as easily and efficiently as possible. Good UX writing can significantly improve the user experience and increase customer satisfaction. It can also help establish brand voice and identity, since the language used in a product can reflect the values and personality of the company.

UX writing can take on many forms: blog posts, website copy, product documentation, white papers, even software user manuals. However, it all starts with clear communication between a designer or developer and their audience — the one who will use their product or service in the future.

Table of Contents

What is UX writing? 

UX writing is the practice of creating text that guides users through digital products and interfaces. It involves crafting clear, concise, and user-friendly language for microcopy, navigation labels, onboarding flows, help content, and more. UX writers collaborate with designers, product managers, and developers to create a seamless and engaging user experience through words.

UX writing

UX writing aims to help users understand and complete their tasks as easily and efficiently as possible.

In essence, UX writing is about solving problems for your customers. As a product designer or manager, you can influence how your product works, what it does, and how it can improve users’ lives. You’re in charge of defining the user experience (UX) from beginning to end — from conception to delivery.

If you’re familiar with the term “user experience,” it’s probably because you’ve heard someone describe it as “the sum of all interactions between humans and machines.” This definition is a bit fuzzy; think about how much work goes into designing websites or mobile apps, for example. Here at UXtweak, we believe that UX is more than just designing a product or app; it’s about taking the time to do the research needed to create an amazing product. 

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How is UX writing different from content writing?

While content writing focuses on developing interesting and educational written content for a variety of mediums and audiences, UX writing is concerned with producing a clear, user-friendly microcopy that directs users through digital products.

In a nutshell, UX writing focuses on assisting users in navigating and comprehending digital products, whereas content writing focuses on delivering informative and entertaining written content for a wide range of people.

Why is UX writing so important?

Good UX writing can significantly improve the user experience and increase customer satisfaction. It can also help establish brand voice and identity, since the language used in a product can reflect the values and personality of the company.

Here are some reasons why UX writing is so important:

1.) Improving the user experience

UX writing plays a crucial role in the overall user experience of a product or service. By writing clear, concise, and easy-to-understand content, UX writers help users navigate and interact with the product or service more smoothly, thus leading to a better user experience.

You can bring in a bit of humor and personality to your microscopy. For example, on a non-existing page, instead of a plain 404 error page, you can insert a funny sentence or a joke and lead the user back to your homepage. This way you can reduce their dissatisfaction at arriving at a page that no longer exists.

2.) Enhancing usability

Good UX writing helps users understand how to use a product or service intuitively, which consequently enhances usability. This reduces frustration and increases satisfaction with the product or service. If you spent a lot of money on developing and designing a digital product you certainly should not let it fail because of comprehensive navigating or instruction.

3.) Providing context and guidance

UX writing helps provide context and guidance to users, helping them to understand the purpose and function of different features and elements within a product. You can create simple and easily understandable pop-up messages for example, that explain more in-depth a purpose of a feature a user hovers over.

4.) Facilitating conversions

UX writing can also help increase conversions by guiding users towards specific actions, such as making a purchase or signing up for a service.

Simply look at the image below. Which button you would be more likely to click?

UX writing best practices

Source.

5.) Building trust and credibility

Clear and accurate UX writing can help build trust and credibility with users, which is particularly important for businesses that rely on customer loyalty.

To build trust via your writing you can incorporate these best practices:

  • Use plain language: Avoid using technical jargon or complex terminology that may confuse the user. Use simple and clear language that is easy to understand.
  • Be transparent: Provide clear and honest information about the product and its features. Be transparent about any limitations or restrictions, and avoid making false claims.
  • Use social proof: Incorporate user reviews, testimonials, and ratings to provide social proof that the product is trustworthy and reliable.
  • Provide help and support: Make it easy for users to find help and support when they need it. Provide clear instructions, tooltips, and help content that address common questions and issues.
  • Be inclusive: Make sure your language is inclusive and doesn’t alienate any part of your user base.
  • Design for accessibility: Ensure that your UX copy is accessible to all users. Use appropriate fonts, colors, and formatting to make the text easy to read and navigate.

UX writing traps to avoid

Using placeholder text

While it can be tempting to use Lorem Ipsum when creating the first prototype of your digital product – don’t. A good UX copy is developed together with the design. Delegating it to the next step in development makes it seem less important when it most certainly isn’t. Use real copy in your first design drafts – you can change it later if you test it and find out it doesn’t work as intended.

Using jargon and superlative

Jargon may be difficult for users to understand and too many superlatives make you seem less professional and trustworthy.

Trying to guilt trip the user

While a good UX copy should be engaging and keep the user interested in staying on your web or app, it shouldn’t go too far. If a user tries to close an app and a message pops up that by closing this window they make 10 puppies cry, they will not be more inclined to stay. Quite the opposite, it might inspire some negative feelings toward your product. You can include a “sad to see you go” message but don’t overdo it.

The UX writing process

The process of a UX writer typically begins with a review of the user’s needs and goals. This involves analyzing user data and conducting user research to understand the product’s context and the challenges users may face. Based on this information, UX writers create content that guides users through the product and helps them achieve their objectives.

As part of the UX writing process, writers also work closely with designers and developers to ensure that the language used is consistent with the overall design and functionality of the product. They may also collaborate with other stakeholders, such as product managers and marketing teams, to ensure that the language used aligns with the company’s messaging and branding.

The UX writing process typically involves these 4 steps:

1. Research

The first step is for UX writers to familiarize themselves with the target audience and the goals of the product. It usually involves user research, stakeholder interviews, and analysis of competitors.

2. Content strategy

UX writers work with designers and other team members to create a content strategy that aligns with the overall product goals and brand voice. This may include content research, creating a content inventory, defining tone and style guidelines, and identifying content priorities.

3. Content creation

During this step, UX writers write the actual content that appears in the product, including headlines, labels, error messages, and in-app copy. Designers work closely with them to ensure that the content is visually appealing and easy to understand.

4. Review and iteration

As UX writing is an iterative process, writers should expect to review and revise their work multiple times before it is finalized. This may involve testing with users or gathering feedback from team members.

Responsibilities of a UX writer 

responsibilities of a UX writer

Source.

UX writers create and refine the written content users encounter when interacting with a product or service. This includes user interface text, error messages, in-app copy, and online help documentation. A UX writer’s goal is to create clear, concise, and easy-to-understand content, helping users navigate and interact more smoothly with the product or service.

Some of the responsibilities of a UX writer include the following:

Crafting user interface text

UX writers create text on interfaces and their elements, such as buttons, menus, and error messages. They ensure that this text is clear, easy to understand and helps users successfully achieve their goals with the product.

Developing in-app copy

Another responsibility of a UX writer includes creating the copy that appears within the product or service, such as in-app messaging, tooltips, and help documentation.

Collaborating with design and development teams

UX writers work closely with design and development teams to ensure that their written content aligns with the product or service’s overall user experience and design.

Conducting user research

They are closely involved in conducting user research to gather feedback and insights about the effectiveness of the written content they create.

Managing content style guides

UX writers may be responsible for developing and maintaining content style guides, which outline the tone, style, and formatting guidelines for the written content within a product or service.

How do I learn UX writing?

  1. Take online classes: Udemy, Coursera, and Skillshare, among others, all offer a variety of online courses with a focus on UX writing.
  2. Read books: “Don’t Make Me Think” by Steve Krug and “Microcopy: The Complete Guide” by Kinneret Yifrah are two publications that can help you learn more about UX writing.
  3. Join a community: An excellent approach to learning from experts in the area, sharing resources, and receiving comments on your work is to join a community of other UX writers. The UX Writing Hub and the Content Design & UX Writing community on Facebook are just two examples of the numerous online communities devoted to this topic.
  4. Obtain practical experience: Writing for actual products will give you the best chance of learning UX writing. To put your abilities to use, look for an internship or volunteer opportunity.
  5. Study design, user research, and testing principles: These are essential for comprehending the user’s requirements and figuring out how to write in a way that is understandable and beneficial to them.
  6. Study the rules of effective narrative and writing: These are crucial abilities that will help in your ability to write compelling microcopy.
  7. Finally, always be willing to experiment and receive feedback in order to learn new things and develop your talents!

Final thoughts

From crafting user interface text to developing in-app copy and conducting user research, UX writers are responsible for creating and refining the written content that users encounter. By creating clear intuitive labels, UX writers help improve usability, provide context and guidance, facilitate conversions, and build trust and credibility.

Register for your free account at UXtweak, a UX research platform that helps brands understand their users and improve their experience. With UXtweak, you can gain valuable insights and feedback from real users, helping you to create better products!

People also ask (FAQ)

What is the difference between UX writing vs copywriting?

UX writing is the practice of crafting text that helps users interact with digital products, whereas copywriting focuses on creating persuasive marketing messages. UX writing aims to make the product users’ experience more intuitive and efficient. Copywriting is intended to attract, engage, and persuade potential customers to take action.

What does a UX writer actually do?

A UX writer is responsible for crafting text that helps users navigate and understand digital products. They collaborate with designers, product managers, and developers to ensure that the language in the interface is clear, concise, and user-friendly. UX writers create content such as navigation labels, button labels, and error messages, and conduct content testing to iterate and refine their writing.

How do I start UX writing?

To start UX writing, you need to understand the fundamentals of user-centered design, learn about the user’s needs and goals, and have a strong command of language and writing skills. You can start by researching the principles of UX writing and practicing writing microcopy for various digital interfaces, such as buttons, forms, and error messages.

Eniola Olaniyi
January 3, 2023
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Eniola Olaniyi is a Content Writer at UXtweak, where she focuses on creating informative and engaging content related to user experience and design. With a background in UX design, Eniola is on a mission to help businesses create products and services that meet the needs of their users.

In her role at UXtweak, Eniola works closely with other writers to apply her UX expertise, research the topics and come up with valuable content pieces. When she's not working, Eniola enjoys reading articles and case studies on UX design and exploring new ways to enhance her writing skills.

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