The practice of UX writing is something that’s been around for a few years with gradual evolution. It is known as the practice of crafting UI copy to help users interact with a webpage or app. In other words, it’s a more artful way to use words over imagery to improve UI and UX.
When web designers started using it, a long rule sheet existed on making it effective. Many of those rules still apply, including being concise, the avoidance of double negatives, and writing in active voice.
In 2020 and beyond, UX writing is still trending, yet with more involved than creating attractive words on a screen.
Other Ways to Define UX Writing
UX writing is responsible for both microcopy and macrocopy in creating a top-tier user experience. One should also distinguish between UX Writing and writing for marketing. When writing for marketing, it involves using keywords most people search for on Google. The words used for UX writing involve finding words that help people use digital products.
Differentiating these proves UX writing is still an art form. Still, this type of writing is also more challenging since one has to explain how to use a webpage or app with the proper word choices.
Part of the job involves looking at user research sessions when testing an app or website. Based on how the user responded in their web experience, the UX writer creates or edits existing words on the page. It might come down to editing just one word on a site button that does not quite work.
Plus, UX writing usually works as a cross-collaboration project. Since words affect the entire user experience, everyone in the company gets involved in finding what works.
Some Other Rules
Being concise and clear is a given, if overly basic in what makes UX writing a more thoughtful web design subject. Also important is to remember the F-shaped pattern users typically employ as they scan a web page. Keeping this in mind means prioritizing the most essential words first at the top of the page.
All words should also be easily understandable across all languages. Keeping this consistent proves the most challenging of all, particularly when having to use an offbeat word to indicate something.
One key to avoiding any misunderstandings on an international scale is to remove all jargon from UX writing. Using a thesaurus might need doing here to find a simpler word for something overly technical.
Plus, staying in active voice maintains all user attention. Staying in this mode also helps provide a feeling of urgency to click on certain icons or buttons.
How Have Larger Companies Used UX Writing?
As noted by UX trend analysts, Google is one of the best companies to study on how to do UX writing right. They designed search words that get to the point of what people want rather than being ambiguous.
A good example cited in the above link is search copy when people search for hotels. Google discovered most people search for room availability rather than using the keywords “Book a Room.” Thus, Google changed their UX writing to “Check Availability” for all hotel room searches.
Taking from Google’s approach offers a good little tutorial on how to approach UX writing for any website or app. In addition, it offers a roadmap to better engagement overall with users, the entire point of the user experience.
Think of UX writing like a conversation with the user. In some cases, perhaps this means using a graphic once in a while to communicate how to navigate. A mix of this, of course, with UX writing provides a balanced way to keep users coming back for more.
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