It’s time to take a quiz Take a moment to think about the last app you downloaded on your smartphone and, in the ideal case, one you frequently use. Do you recall any of the texts within that app? Do you remember any button text? Menu text? Instructions? Notification messages?
There’s a chance that you remember a few words however, it’s not much. However, this word is the voice for the app. It guides you through the application to assist you accomplish your goal, regardless of whether you’ve completed the task a hundred or hundred times.
The importance of product copy is that there’s a job devoted to its writing and that’s it’s called the UX writer. In this article we’ll explain about what UX writing is as well as the types of content UX writers actually write (and what they do) and also what the typical UX writer does every day.
That’s right, UX writers determine how the products “sounds.” It’s a fairly large job, and is a field that’s rapidly expanding because software firms continue to put more resources in how their users experience their software.
Naturally, the text that users read when they navigate the product are crucial. If they’re not written well products will prove more difficult to use, and confuse and frustrate users and eventually discourage future use.
However excellent interface copy seamlessly blends with the application. If a digital application feels effortless and easy to understand as well, that’s in large part due to those who wrote the UX writers.
However, despite their title, UX writers aren’t just writers. While they compose the text, UX writers are also designers, who determine the way that users interact with a product and making the experience more pleasant (and even more enjoyable) in conjunction with the words they write.
What are the things UX writers compose?
UX writers create, plan and test the text that users view on digital goods. This can include text displayed on the screen or read by the voice (like using the smart speaker or text-to-speech software).
A UX writer writes the text for any (or all) of these components:
- buttons and other items that are interactive
- Tooltips and directions
- Menus and navigation
- Error messages
- Dialogs and modals
- onboarding screens
A different term for this type of content can be “microcopy.” Microcopy comprises the tiny bits of text that you can find on apps and websites which tell you what you need to do, ease your mind as well as encourage you to make progress. They also assure you that you are moving towards the target.
In one single screen taken from Sale Hub (one of HubSpot’s products) We can observe various examples of microcopy doing its job:
We can read text on menus with dropdowns, buttons toolstips, cards, and tooltips each one carefully designed for clarity.
In this instance, as well as in the other top-quality software you’re using you’ll see it’s minimal and there aren’t many paragraphs that can be read. UX writers are aware that the most effective UX copy is a minimal copy. This is because people do not consume microcopy as they read the pages of a book. They don’t get every word, and certainly do not read each word.
Instead, they scan for key words and other visual indicators that can help them reach their objectives — things such as headings, buttons lists, etc. A huge-scale study conducted by Nielsen Norman Group Nielsen Norman Group found that short, scannable content was rated to be more than two times as useful as a normal paragraph of the identical text. UX writers don’t write essays. They’re writing text that is simple, concise and easy to read.
Furthermore, many users adhere to “scanning patterns,” such as the F-shaped one. In the pattern of scanning that is F-shaped, users begin with reading horizontally across the high point of the text Then, they move to the vertical side as they scan less horizontally, finally scanning vertically.
UX writers are aware of patterns that scan and create copy for interfaces according to scanning patterns. They make text accessible by using shorter sentences, including lists and headings with bullets, and highlighting important information by using visual indicators, such as the use of bolding or colors, as well as placing important information at the beginning of a paragraph or sentence.
So, why do you put in the effort of making text accessible? The answer is easy It cuts down on efforts. The best UX copy is virtually invisible. It’s not literally, but certainly when the copy is performing its task properly, users shouldn’t be able to notice or think about it, and should be able to concentrate on their work.
Text on a screen might appear like quite a task however, navigating through many paragraphs of text is more effort than many users would like to commit. This leaves them feeling overwhelmed and more likely to leave the webpage. This is why scannable text makes the UX writer’s strength.
Other ways in which UX writers can reduce the effort of reading are:
- Avoiding long paragraphs and endless text
- avoid jargon and complicated language (i.e. industrial-specific language) whenever it is it is
- presenting to the user only the information they require to be aware of at any given time and giving it to them whenever they require it.
- Avoiding too many options that can lead to an overload of information
- maintaining a consistent voice through the entire product (more on this later)
- Make sure that interfaces are familiar with methods such as visual hierarchy and design patterns
It doesn’t mean that microcopy needs to be boring and devoid of character, however. Writers can inject some fun moments all through. A good example would be an amiable error message, or a quick celebration following the completion of the task, as in this one from Mailchimp.
UX Writer Responsibilities
Are you interested in exploring UX writing? Based upon the scale of your business You’ll need to manage a portion (or all) of the following tasks every day:
Let’s get this one over with:It is the responsibility of UX writers are accountable in generating and writing the product’s microcopy starting from the directions users see on their screen displays for onboarding to text on buttons and tooltips, to warnings and error messages.
To provide the best users with information writing, it is necessary to have an knowledge of the product as well as being able to present the information in a way that is digestible. The more difficult a task it is, the more effort will be required to make it seem effortless.
A UX writer can contribute to the copy on the website of the product and customer communications, such as emails as well as support documentation However, their primary focus is on the text within the product itself.
Apart from writing the microcopy in addition, UX writers are also responsible for writing the microcopy itself. UX writer is also responsible for generating deliverables to communicate their ideas and research to other users. These deliverables include:
The style guide can be described as a collection of rules and guidelines that guide a company’s written communications.
Style guides are an essential component of the UX writer’s toolbox because they make sure that all text within and outside the product is of high-quality and consistent. A style guide explains things such as grammar rules such as capitalization, how to spell specific words, as well as the proper terminology to describe features. As we’ve said before that when these elements are consistent, it allows an improved user experience.
UX writers work with other stakeholders to develop and update their style guide to their business. When a product or its clients change, its languages must be revised to keep up, since UX writers refer to their style guides frequently.
A style guide can also define the tone and voice of the brand. A brand’s voice is their character across communications, and tone is the range of emotions that the voice may take on during the course of a user experience.
A voice shouldn’t alter, and the tone should alter with the context. For example an announcement message could have a lighter tone that reflects the brand’s tone and a warning screen will likely take an edgier tone to help the user deal with the problem.
When UX writers develop the microcopy of their product they must organize the files into deliverables, which they’ll later hand over to developers, who then code the content in the final product. This is known as the handoff of developers.
The deliverables can take a variety of formats. Mockups of products are commonly usedto show how the text will appear on the user interface.
It’s also typical also for UX writers to distribute spreadsheets that contain common bits in written text (e.g., “Yes/No”, “Are you sure?”) along with codes. These texts are referred to as strings and are inserted into the product through the “find-and-replace” for the code and then replacing it for the appropriate string.
A UX team can conduct routine content audits, too. Content audits are an assessment of all the assets of a website or product in order to decide which ones to keep, alter and remove.
Businesses may conduct a content audit prior to doing a brand overhaul, or when they are restructuring the website or product. It’s also beneficial to regularly conduct content audits to ensure that you’re providing the best service to prospective and active users.
Working Cross-Functionally to Build Products
UX writers work with others on the team and with stakeholders to write content that is consistent with the vision as well as the user’s demands. As UX writers, you will be working with many other team members and stakeholders to create content that UX writers, some of the tasks you’ll have to collaborate with include:
UX designers who create the user experience for the product.
Interface designers create the visual components of the product. UX writers can place their content.
UX researchers that work to discover the needs of users by using tests, surveys focus groups, testing usage data.
Content strategists oversee the distribution of content from the brand as well as UX copywriting UX copy, to meet the business’s goals.
Product managers oversee the design, creation and launch for the products.
Brand experts and marketers could assist in the creation of public-facing content and offer feedback on microcopy to ensure that marketing and product copy.
Developers who develop the software code from the handoff deliverables that you have provided.
User Research and Testing
If you’re looking to better understand your target audience using various research methods, UX writing is a fantastic chance. UX writers act as advocates for users which is why they must spend time getting familiar with their customers.
Based what the dimensions of your business, the size of the company, a UX writer can work in conjunction with the UX research team and/or conduct research on their own.
User research is a key element in a variety of phases of the development process, from the initial design to prototyping and even after the launch of the product. The aim is to identify what pieces of copy really assist users, and which do not and also the major pain points which can be alleviated using UX copy.
UX writers use a variety of research methods to obtain an accurate understanding of their customers which includes surveys and interviews and focus groups and usage data, as well as A/B and multivariate tests and heatmaps. They also conduct usability testing using prototypes and mockups and then feedback after launch.
The UX writing team plays a crucial role in making sure that content is accessible. People may be affected by difficulties or limitations due to hearing, vision mobility, cognition, or mobility and UX writers must keep this particular segment of users with this in mind.
Accessible methods include adding alt text for images, making copying as simple as it is making pages with headings that are appropriate to identify different sections of an article, and ensuring that the your text’s color is sufficiently contrasted to the color of background.
What UX Writing Isn’t
In examining UX writer tasks, you may have seen a lot in commonality with different content and writing careers. Although the UX writer’s skill set is a bit alike with other jobs however, it is important to recognize the distinction between the two. So, let’s clarify:
UX writing isn’t marketing copywriting. Marketing copy is designed to get people’s attention to convince them to buy. Copywriters for marketing create content for items outside of the product like ads and landing pages. Although UX writers also communicate the benefits of the product but their copy is within the product.
UX writing isn’t technical in nature. Technical writing targets technically proficient users, and not to the typical user of a product. Tech writers provide detailed documents of complicated software. The documentation is usually separate from the software, for example in an instruction manual or on a help desk site.
UX writing does not involve writing. Bloggers write long-form content while UX writers produce microcopy.
UX writing isn’t a strategy for content at all, and not in a strict sense. But, it could be a part that of an UX writer’s work, since they assist in designing interfaces and plan ways to ensure they’re the most effective.
UX Writing: Creating the Voice of a Product
As we’ve said, UX writing is much more than writing the microcopy of a product could affect the user experience, which is why it’s not something you can give to your design team at the last second.
Devoted UX authors or UX Writing teams are increasingly common in the world of tech. If you’re unsure of what the reason is, think of a software you use that has very poor copy. I’m not able to.
Are you interested in UX research, writing UX research or UX generally, make ensure to get our no-cost UX study kit.