5 min read

2 Feb 2021

Here’s How UX Writing Can Improve Your Product

Your product is ready to be shipped. Design? Top-notch. Elements? All are consistent. User flows? Seamless and frictionless. Well then, ready, set... hold on! Before you launch, stop and answer one question. How does my product sound?

When we use digital products and read through the screens, communication becomes crucial. Regardless of what the product is, a UX expert designs a conversation between the product and end-users. And the tricky part about it is to make the communication engaging – UX writing supports this by adding simplicity to the interaction with precise interface messages.

So, shortly speaking, UX writing is the art of crafting the text that lives inside of digital interfaces and products.  

When reading through the screens, we can literally “hear” the words on the UI. It’s as if the product was speaking to us and had a clearly defined voice and one. Words give character to your product. On one hand, it can be official and strict, or fun and motivating on the other. In this article, we will explain why the choice of words in your products is so crucial.

What UX Writing is NOT?

Before we jump into explaining what UX writing is, let’s focus on what it’s not. UX writing is not copywriting. It’s not fine-tuning the existing text that’s already been written by a designer. And it certainly isn’t proofreading someone else’s words. So what is it?

Design is all about communication. Every designer wants their product to have this special bond between its users – and UX writing supports it, by creating a conversation between the product and the end-user with words on the UI.

So what is UX Writing?

Stop for a minute and think of your product as ... the body of a human being. The design are the looks; if well-maintained, they will make you more attractive and alluring. Performance could be compared to both legs; it's what keeps us going, well...working. UX writing is what we say, how we sound, in what situation and when.

UX writing is every single word in your product
. It's the irreplaceable skill of designing the product’s character by means of words. These are all the labels, CTA buttons, menu items as well as error messages, info tips.

One may think that adding just a few words here or there on the UI is not a big deal. Nothing could be more wrong. Putting together a few words that make perfect sense may take even more than writing an entire paragraph.

Now, all these products (or rather, the people behind them) have an urgent need to get noticed. To succeed in that, great UX goes without saying. Gone are the days when designers had to write on their own or resort to the marketing team. UX writing is a completely independent field of UX. It's also no longer a nice-to-have, but rather a must-have, because of what it brings to the table, or rather, your product and the business.

Why Should You Create a Budget for UX Writing?

If you have ever googled "ux writing good and bad practices", you will eventually come across plenty of embarrassing examples of error messages or confirmation screens that make you cringe just by looking at them. You don't want that for your product, do you?

Why You Should Invest in UX Writing?

How many times have you left an online shopping cart just because the messaging on the screen wasn’t clear enough? Maybe it didn't give you a sense of security? Either way, this is what poor ux writing leads to.

With that said, UX writing can have a massive impact on your conversion and revenue.
Take the two most critical parameters when making a purchase decision: the arrival time and delivery fee. Without both, users are unlikely to proceed to checkout. Take a look at the example below:

Take the two most critical parameters when making a purchase decision: the arrival time and delivery fee. Without both, users are unlikely to proceed to checkout. Take a look at the example below:

It makes it clear why you ask for the things you want

Sometimes people will also stop using a certain product out of data privacy or security concerns, such as:
• Too many requests about their personal info.
• Credit card details just to start a free trial.
• Unspecified details that they see no point in giving away.  

So, instead of taking for granted that your users will give away everything that you ask them for, it’s better to explain why you need that specific piece of info about them with microcopy. Just look at how one sentence can change it all:

Or, usually people don’t want to start a free trial because they assume, they will be charged right after it ends. So why not assure them they won't?

It puts a face on your product and adds character to it

Always remember why you’re writing for your users – after all, empathy is at the core of anything we do. The art of apologizing and saying you’re sorry when you’ve done something wrong goes without saying - it's a must. Also, using the right words can make all the difference between a positive and a mundane experience.  

However, there is a thin line between being empathetic and ...pathetic. Using empathy in the wrong way can result in customers drifting away from your product. Just take a look at the example below, where empathy and humor have both gone completely wrong.

While a 404 page is the worst thing that a user can experience when browsing a page, there is a way to do it right. Carefully selected words can save the situation. Look at how Pixar turns it into a funny experience. This is how UX writing works.

Let Your Product Speak

What else is there to add? Words can make a tremendous difference in the way your product is perceived. Not only does it improve the overall experience, but it can also increase conversion. Main takeaway? Never, ever underestimate the power of words. There are studies that back it up.

Great design, meet story. You'll make a great couple.

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