While companies are gradually becoming more and more aware of user experience design and its importance, UX writing still remains underestimated UX discipline or even it is simply mistaken with copywriting. At first glance, it seems natural that visual design as well as marketing texts are more noticeable aspects of digital product and take the stage. Well, they indeed are important. But are those enough to bring success to your product?
In fact, it is UX writing that can smoothly lead users through the whole digital journey – from onboarding instructions to error and success messages. Even if you don’t realize it, you will find it everywhere: in microcopy on buttons, menu, placeholders, notifications, hints, text headlines… and many other messages that help people use the product.
It won’t be overstated to say that sometimes even one carefully chosen word can change the entire experience. After all, what’s the meaning of beautifully designed or well-advertised app, if users don’t understand the message of the very first button?
The truth is that leaving UX writing in the shadows is simply a major mistake which can have significant impact – not only on overall user experience but also on business success of your digital product. If you still think this might not affect you, here are five arguments that should convince you to work on UX writing in your business.
1. UX writing supports marketing
Does marketing really need support?
Marketing is strongly sales-oriented, which means it focuses mostly on bringing people to product. Compared to that, UX writing is more user-centric and helps people get more positive experience during the product is being used. In result, while copywriters often reach out for fancy words to help people learn about the product, UX writers should keep it simple to clearly guide the users within it.
Even such short summary shows that copywriting and UX writing are quite different but also complementary disciplines. As a result, UX writers can become valuable support in gaining additional perspective and achieving better marketing results. What’s more, realising this might open new opportunities and become chance to gain extra advantage over your competition.
Reaching more users
First of all, since one of UX writing priorities is to make language as simple and neutral as possible, it helps product to be more inclusive. Such attitude not only allows you to make the product more available, but also creates welcoming experience for wider audience.
UX writing stays away from cultural references and avoids addressing only certain group of people. At the same time it takes into account needs of less educated and older population, which might not feel comfortable with complicated vocabulary. Since nowadays people get more aware of their diversity, and since mobile phones and Internet become more and more available, forgetting about any of such groups may become a waste of marketing potential.
Reaching the right users
On the other hand, when marketing work is done under sales pressure, a specific value of product can be lost in the process. That’s where UX writing comes in hand and allows to shift focus to users needs and their language patterns.
Adjusting words to desired audience makes it easier to communicate with the right people – those who we design for. This lets us concentrate efforts on the right direction and makes them more effective. It also allows to emphasise product value and functions in clear context precisely in the way and when needed – reducing chances that some of them would go unnoticed, misunderstood or ignored.
2. UX writing increases conversion
Guiding user to goal
UX writers are like invisible guides which lead users through product and its processes. With clear and concise messages, their texts make information easy to scan and tasks easy to finish, even without realising it. This consequently leads to more conversion into desired result and actual sale. Moreover, the less users have to concentrate on finding crucial information, possible interactions and necessary steps, the more seamless, better and successful experience they will have. Therefore including UX writers into the process of creating digital product can bring benefit for goals of both sides – the company and product users.
Wrong word no sale
Can really one word influence conversion? Definitely! Sometimes literally one or two words is what makes the difference between sale and loosing customer. While well-tailored communication can contribute greatly to completing task, badly written texts can lead users into wrong place or even dead end.
In one scenario this ends for user with confusion and negative impression of product, in another – with abandoning the process and product for good. Neither of these is desired outcome, which clearly shows how UX writing awareness is important if we don’t want to loose users on the way.
“Get Started” with everything
Good example of a phrase that might be problematic but is commonly used on ecommerce websites is “Get Started”. It seems convenient, generic call-to-action, that easily attracts clicks, which makes it very tempting option. However researches show that in this case, intentions of authors and users can completely miss each other. Sometimes while company wants people to click it to begin shopping, users do this only to know more about brand. And vice versa, sometimes when users need to learn more specific details about the offer, “Get Started” leads only to contact form. This shows that wrong phrase can be easily misunderstood and might interrupt whole process at its very beginning. Needless to say that as a result, this can make it difficult for users to reach their goals, and for company – to achieve expected conversion.
No value no sale
Finally it’s worth mentioning, that UX writing influence on conversion becomes even more visible nowadays, when world seems to gradually change from “first pay, than use” attitude to different business models, like freemium or pay as you use. Times when users are willing to invest their money before knowing if product reaches their expectation, may soon become just a memory. Modern trends can force companies to show their value to potential users even before earning first dollar, which makes UX writing even more essential. After all, at the end it might mean that without smooth user experience there will be no sale at all.
3. UX writing builds strong bond with users
Bound based on emotions
It probably won’t be any surprise when said that emotions rule many of our behaviours. In digital product, emotions can appear each time users read new microcopy, click button, open new page or take any other action. It means that with every single text UX writing can provoke either positive or negative feelings. More importantly, each of those can have impact not only on how gladly and how soon users will reach our product again, but also if they ever do it. So, if you want to keep your users returning, it’s worth to work on good UX writing to let them feel comfortable, understood and cared on each step.
Bound based on trust
Simplicity and honesty are two important aspects of UX writing which can build trust among users and make them choose your product over competitors. When used language is clear and familiar to the users it is easier for them to feel safe. What’s more, easy to navigate and understandable interfaces create vision of transparent situation with no hidden traps.
It’s worth to mention that pretty much opposite of these mechanisms are so called “dark patterns” – designed to manipulate the user to do something they didn’t intend to. This might seem quick way to get what you want from the user. However, every time you are tempted to use it, you should remember how short-sighted strategy is that. After all, would you return to product which misled you?
Based on brand personality
Although UX writing should be simple, this doesn’t mean it has to be boring or carry expressionless message. Sometimes it is quite the contrary. When creating custom tailored texts, UX writer can fit them to such aspects as user needs, character of your digital product, the context it will be seen by users, discussed topics or even audience mood. Texts tailored from such combination can add uniqueness to your product and helps to create memorable brand personality.
One of the most popular examples of such out-of-the-box approach to UX writing are 404 error messages, standing for “page not found” situation. As it is one of the most common mistake pages that Internet users see, these are often created in humorous style.
What’s precious, such move can not only reduce users frustration or even bring smile to their faces but even increase brand recognition. And most importantly, good UX writer can achieve all this without loosing message clarity or usability.
4. UX writing reduces costs of implementation
Basically, consistency in the area of UX writing means that within product there is one style of language and one basic structure of text content.
What’s more, many people don’t realize that precise content hints can become part of bigger creation – content design system. Having clear pattern on what and how things should be written, lets us not only to improve product environment on many levels but also to optimize whole process, including the time and costs of implementation.
For UX writers such consistency gives clear guidance and makes the work much faster. For whole team it allows to have more cohesive collaboration, to reduce number of necessary meeting and to avoid decisions making every time a question rises again.
One of essential rules of user experience design is to solve potential concerns even before users realise that they have any problem. In the field of UX writing this can be seen for example in help texts, notifications, buttons copy, form fields validation and many more. It seems quite natural that all these can be helpful for users. However this also brings one more less obvious benefit – for the implementation and maintenance teams. Those professionals sometimes waste a lot of time reacting to problems only because the answer isn’t easily accessible for users. The more hints audience gets on the go, the less will have to look for help and engage others’ time.
Reducing extra work
As UX writing is part of user experience design, it naturally benefits from all its researches, methods, tests and observations. Because of that, UX writing can also perfectly support other UX team members.
Sometimes, however, only writing precise texts on specific screens can make UX team members realise potential problems and corner cases.
Therefore, having the right carefully-created copy on designs before handing them over to client or programmers, can save extra time necessary for further feedback, dedicated communication, corrections or usability tests. Not to mention the cost of implementation team born before any problems would come to light…
5. UX writing improves the product
Make it pleasant
We’ve mentioned already that UX writing adjusts language to the audience. Let’s imagine now a specialistic app for lawyers. Would it be necessary to make all app communication in complicated legal language and jargon? No. Would it be desirable? Not really.
This specific example shows where UX writers stand when two worlds meet in one user – one being well educated professional, the other a regular person who simply uses a digital product. It’s true that such users might need professional language in some areas of mentioned app, but at the same time they’re like anyone else and they want their work to be smooth and pleasant. A successful combination of those two words is again possible thanks to another specialists – UX writer and his search of user needs and plain language.
Make it useful
One of the most known summaries of UX writing (by Google) is “clear, concise and useful”. Of course in the context of whole user experience design, the word “useful” can be explained in various ways, but for this moment let’s say that users have useful product when it enables them to reach their desired outcome. In terms of Google’s UX writing idea, “useful” would stand for “directing next action”. Both ideas correspond with one of already mentioned UX writing functions – guiding users comfortably thorough all steps of an digital product journey.
Having those in mind, let’s mention some statistics. If we take that most smartphone users have more than 80 apps installed on their phones, and use 9 of them per day, 30 per month, this means every app has to compete for users attention.
What can you do to let your app survive the moment when users clean their phones? Make it useful! Make it help user reach his goals and use UX writing strengths to gain priceless advantage over other products.
Make it better with feedback
One more observation that can help you develop your business in UX writing context, is that every digital product needs feedback to improve. Of course users interviews, usability tests and many other UX methods are important source of feedback regardless of whether positive or negative.
However, users who see that your product gives them not only value but also guidance and satisfaction from use, might go even further. There are forums and other official communities, where people gladly share their opinions and ideas for new functionalities – simply as they want to contribute to the development of the product they like and want use more. A chance that would be pity to miss.
The business power of UX writing is waiting
Hopefully, this article proved how UX writing can improve whole user experience and lead to greater business outcome. Knowing all this, it might be now surprising, how easy it is to miss amazing business potential just by overlooking the power of small words. However, this gives perfect opportunity to organisations, who are aware of UX writing and use it consequently for building strong advantage over competition.
It’s also good to have in mind, that the earlier you start, the easier it is to reach the top results. The best is to have guide from the very first step of the journey and, as we could see here, UX writer can be great support from the beginning of digital product design process.
But don’t worry if you’re not there yet. Since you’re reading this article, you’ve already made the first step. Now you just need a good guide. There’s no bad timing, if you want to use the exceptional power of words. After all, can there be bad timing for increasing users satisfaction and making your product successful?