UX writing — when content creates an enhanced experience

And some good examples of it.

Person working with a computer and editing text.
Image by vectorjuice on Freepik.

Almost everyone I know today knows what are both User Experience — UX for friends 😉 — and copywriting.

But I bet you are not quite familiar with the term UX writing.

Am I right?

When considering any digital product, we all are mostly focused on a design by describing it as something visually attractive and easy to use. However, there is always something invisible and crucial — and we tend to completely underestimate it.

The Content.

Let’s discover together what is exactly UX writing and why content is key to getting an enhanced UX! 👇🏻

The essence of user experience design is that it’s centered on creating a great user experience. UX writing does the same — but for writing. While it may seem a bit boring, and what most copywriters may define as easy, UX copy is a branch of copywriting as vast as copywriting itself.

UX writing mainly aims to craft clear, concise, and most importantly, useful copy. UX writing’s ultimate goal is to guide users within a product and help them interact with it, allowing communication between users and the digital product.

You can see bad user experience copy when you’re confused about what to do next, or when you’re afraid to follow a link because you may get charged.

Different examples of good and bad practices in UX writing.
Image by halo-lab

If you want to know more about how to design good UX writing, I strongly recommend reading the following article by Halo Lab.

However, good UX copy is almost always invisible. This is an intrinsic characteristic of any UX-related field — when it is well done, it is hard to be perceived. That’s its ultimate goal.

With all of this said, answering the question of what is UX writing isn’t straightforward. That’s why we will try to understand what UX writers do, and what’s the main difference with copywriting.

UX writers work exclusively on identifying where the user is, what are the next steps they should take, and how to make it crystal clear for that user. If a product is confusing, it can generate frustration.

Frustration is anything that makes tasks harder or users feel confused and less likely to continue using the product.

This is why they are usually involved tightly with user experience teams and product designers and are even involved throughout the various design stages.

It’s worth noting that UX designers and writers work together to create a great UX, and they don’t replace one another. Designers design and writers write, but they do it united to optimize the message behind the other.

Content is an integral part of the design. It makes flows simpler, actions clearer, and choices easier. It also reduces complexity and makes sure nobody gets lost or confused.

Employing UX writing best practices can help you build products that are more human-oriented and less confusing for your users.

Great UX writing is more efficient — it doesn’t overwhelm users’ screens or minds.

Google at its annual 2017 I/O event brought the following information to serve as a guide for UX writing professionals:

User First: Focus on Your Users

Clear: Write in jargon-free language with context

Concise: Write in a style that is efficient and scannable

Helpful: Write in a way that drives the next action

On Brand: Define your brand voice and apply an appropriate tone

UX copy can help with pinpointing those problems and fixing them before whatever you’re building goes live.

Let’s see 4 good examples of UX writing:

The top 1 priority when it comes to understanding UX writing essence is clarity. No matter what, users must always be clear on what action they are taking and what outcome will come after.

Let’s take for example Google and how they increased hotel bookings for their Find a hotel on Google feature. Maggie Stanphill — senior UX copywriter at Google — shared in 2017 how they increased engagement rate by 17% with a single simple change. They simply made the text on the button less committing.

How you might be wondering now…

They changed Book a room to the less commital Check availability. If you really think about it, most users aren’t exactly ready to spend money on booking a room as they’re still researching prices and availability.

Image showing the before and the after of Google Booking a Room button.
Image by BRIEF-ER.

It’s the UX writer’s role to make communication as simple and easy to understand as possible. Users are much more likely to respond and connect with a voice that sounds human — and responds so.

This is why you should always keep in mind how you might talk to your customer if they were standing in front of you.

In the following examples, we can observe how the app Duolingo tries to retain its users by using messages with a friendly tone. On the other part, Spotify motivates its users to stop listening to music and start exploring themselves by listening to a wellness playlist to celebrate the World Metal Health Day.

A first image showing Duolingo being happy that user is back. A second image trying to persuade user to keep learning Japanese. A third image of Spotify motivating its users to listen to new music.
Self-made picture.

There are many opportunities for humor within the standard buyer’s journey. One place, in particular, has appealed to many companies: the error page.

This page is innocuous in its seeming lack of importance but it’s also a place that can be used to allow users to recover from frustration, keep them on your website or app for longer, or even convert them to clients.

You can observe this on the following 404 pages found on Spotify, Tripadvisor and Heura. These are clever, on-brand examples with a touch of humor and humanity.

404 error page examples of Spotify, Tripadvisor and Heura.
Self-made picture.

Tune into why carrying out certain micro-actions, such as sharing your product or using it daily, might appeal to your customers.

Will they receive a reward or discount?

Will there be benefits they can pass on to their friends?

Will it be something to show off?

Express this motivation clearly. Your reward will be increased product exposure.

Some good examples are Duolingo rewarding its users to keep using your product daily, Glovo telling its users to share their location so they can order whatever they want or Revolut giving 40€ to every user that invited another one to the app — and thus optimizing the mouth to mouth method.

Three different examples of motivating users by Duolingo, Glovo and Revolut.
Self-made image.


Read the full article here

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