UX writing is shorter and sweeter than other types of writing, but notoriously difficult to nail. That’s because UX writing isn’t just about looking good, it’s also about ensuring that the user experience is seamless. In a nutshell, great UX writing means great design.
Let’s go over what exactly UX writing is and why it’s absolutely critical for audience engagement on your online site or app. Plus, we’ve included some best practices for UX writing for any digital product — including online courses.
What is UX writing
UX writing is also called microcopy. Basically, it includes any copy related to guiding users through a product, such as buttons, menus, errors, terms and conditions, etc. It’s all about making interaction easy, so that users don’t get stuck on the pathway.
When done right, UX writing also strengthens brand voice and trust. The primary purpose of UX writing is to guide, but it also supports the brand style by choosing simple language that inspires trust. It can also be used to achieve business goals by writing CTA buttons or purchase-driven copy.
For example, a web page for buying tickets will ask how many tickets you want to buy. There are many ways to phrase this concept, depending on the brand. It could be written directly as the number of tickets (“How many tickets?”) or something more friendly (“Are you going with a friend?”).
How UX writing boosts audience engagement
The concept behind UX writing is to improve user interaction and thus engagement. A UX writer should be asking “how can the user experience be improved?” for every line of copy.
For example, there’s nothing worse than getting stuck on a payment page. As a user, you may not understand what’s wrong — perhaps you missed a required field, or you need to click the “next” arrow, or the website simply timed out?
In these critical moments, UX writing is vital — it guides the user towards finishing the payment without any problems. However, UX writing isn’t just about making sure things don’t go wrong, it’s also about driving users to certain areas of your page, site, or digital product.
User engagement is all about making actions easy for users. According to SEO guru Neil Patel, making content easy is key to getting user interactions like purchases.
The UX role of writing is to do just that. A user browsing a pharmacy app may know exactly what he/she is looking for. If that’s the case, your menu, search and buttons should all work to make this interaction as streamlined as possible.
At the same time, a UX writer tries to predict what else this user could be interested in. A CTA button with an offer for free delivery may pique the user’s interest, especially if it’s easy to understand and click on.
How UX writing differs from other writing
UX writing is a unique type of writing. It’s distinct from other digital writing, such as marketing copy or blog content. In many ways, UX writing distills content to its simplest form. For this reason, UX writing is often simple, product-oriented, and goes hand-in-hand with great design.
UX writers come from diverse writing backgrounds, but they all share an understanding about what makes user interaction easy. This doesn’t mean that UX writing isn’t creative. It’s quite a skill to guide users with few words and using an on-brand voice!
Tips for getting UX writing right
UX writing is centered on the user, which means best practices for UX writing are related to user experience. As in other types of writing, the guiding principle of UX writing is to think from the user’s point-of-view. Here are some tips to help you get it right:
Keep it conversational: UX writing should be straightforward, but also friendly. It’s important to imagine you’re talking to a friend. Use clear language and opt for command forms whenever possible (i.e. click here, learn more, etc.).
Cut, cut, cut: Try to shorten your word count without changing your message. Cut unnecessary words so that the copy pops. Imagining that you are addressing a virtual assistant may help you cut to the chase.
Make it scannable: Time is of the essence for online users. Copy should be easily scannable. That means key information at the top, breaking up text into logically distinct sections, and using numbers/bullet points to assist focus.
Bring brand into it: Brand voice should always be a part of UX writing. Whether your voice is bubbly and fun, or sleek and professional, UX copy should fall in line.
Stay positive: Don’t be a Debbie Downer. Whenever possible, phrase copy in a positive way. That means avoiding “don’t” as much as you can. In general, UX writing should be casual, not demanding.
Use visuals: Visuals speak louder than words. You can couple UX writing with images to enhance or simplify the message. Just don’t overdo it.
Do user research about the target audience: You absolutely need to know your target audience to tailor UX writing accordingly. Often microcopy steers away from “voicey” writing, but this will depend greatly on your audience.
Write UX copy alongside design: Design and UX writing go hand-in-hand. Often, when something goes wrong with the UX copy, it means the design isn’t quite right. Incorporating UX writing early in the design phase is ideal.
Use analytics data to improve copy: Nobody can see the future. Be sure to check out analytics to see how users are doing. If you’re seeing high drop-off rates, you might want to take a second look at the copy.
As you can see, these tips all fall under the principle of thinking user-first. You can also get more UX writing guidelines from UX Planet. When in doubt, put yourself in the user’s shoes to find the right writing solution.
At the end of the day, UX writing is essential to ensuring users are easily interacting and engaging with your digital product.
If you’re looking to boost audience engagement, you’ll need top-notch UX writing to accompany your website or app. In essence, UX writing is what keeps users happy and makes their engagement organic and seamless.
Remember that UX writing means little if your web design isn’t good. As you’re building your website, ensure you’ve got great design by using top templates or, even better, hiring a designer. If you’re building on Wix, you can check out our Wix tutorials to create high-quality design.
About the author:
Hey, I'm Dale! I've helped hundreds of thousands of people just like you around the world learn how to create a website over at CreateAProWebsite.com. Whether you want to make a beautiful blog, portfolio, or business website, we’ve got you covered with our easy to follow guides and tutorials!