UX writing, whether that is done by a dedicated UX writer, the UX designer or by the copywriter, is about creating copy that makes the product or service more intuitive and enjoyable to use. The UX copy also supports the user in making the right decisions while navigating the user journey.
UX copy is not about filling up a given space in the design. It is content with a purpose, it should help the user and also reflect the brand. The content can make the difference between a clear user experience and one that leaves users confused or makes them drop-off in the journey.
In the infographic below, we present a 4-step strategy that will help you create consistent UX copy, true to your brand values and your users.
Get involved in user research
The UX writer needs to be involved in the research process. It is vital to have knowledge about the user profiles. This includes having an understanding of not only the demographics of the users but also having knowledge about the user pain and gain points will tremendously support when writing UX copy. It will help create a visual image of who you’re trying to affect, their characteristics and struggles. This will in turn make the UX copy more coherent, specific and targeted. A persona study can complement the user studies and further be used by other teams in the organization, such as the Sales team.
Know the brand toolkit
The brand toolkit, sometimes also referred to brand guidelines or brand style guide, is your brand’s communication playbook. It includes the details of your brand identity in one place, such as the logo and color palette, and the principles and guidelines that ensure your brand is showing up holistically across channels. Although the focus is the visual elements of the brand, a brand toolkit many times also includes the vision, values and brand personality.
It is easy to get lost in the user studies for a specific product or service, and forget to keep that common thread across all channels, products and services. When writing UX copy, a brand toolkit will help you to stay on-brand.
Respect the tone of voice
The tone of voice is what happens when you combine your brand personality and adapt it to the people you’re expecting to use your product or service. When adapting it to the users, it’s important to remember that every situation in the user journey, whether they are experiencing an error or a success message, will trigger a certain emotional response. Your tone of voice is how you decide to interact with that situation and emotional response. Will your message be funny or serious? Formal or casual? Respectful or irreverent? Enthusiastic or matter-of-fact? These examples of tones are on a spectrum and the brand can either be on the extreme ends or somewhere closer to the middle. But the key is avoiding to mix these tones too much as it will be confusing for the user.
We also expect certain tones from certain industries, and can be taken aback when it’s not how expected. A bank is more likely to keep it formal and serious rather than funny and casual. We take our finances seriously and happen to find the serious approach more trustworthy.
Play with the wording and sentence structure, but don’t mislead
It might seem obvious to be concise and avoid using long blocks of text, but it’s one of the main mistakes people make when writing UX copy. In addition to keeping it short, bear in mind that most of our focus goes to the beginnings and ends of sentences. So instead of leading a CTA with what someone should do, lead with the benefit of their action.
One common mistake in UX copy that risks confusing the user is using synonyms in different places for describing the same action. It’s preferable to use the same word throughout the user journey. Another example that often confuses the user is using double negatives. This makes the user spend more time trying to understand the message. Having misleading UX copy can also nudge the users into making a decision they didn’t intend on making. In this article we go in-depth on the topic of digital nudging and the ethics of it.
Stop guessing, start testing
What’s great about UX copy is that it’s easy to experiment with and make changes to. If you have followed these steps you’ve come a long way by having a strategy based on user research, your brand toolkit and a clear tone of voice that suits your type of business. The final thing to do that will calm your nerves before pressing that go live button is making different versions of your UX copy, where you experiment with wording and sentence structure. There’s an abundance of tools that will help you conduct A/B testing. In this way you will get more clarity of how to adjust the wording and ensure you’ve got the optimal copy for every step of the user journey.
Do you want to know more about how we work with UX design? Reach out to us to schedule a virtual coffee.