The Power of UX Writing: How to Craft Impactful Website Copy and Dodge Common Mistakes
UX writing is the art of producing copy for digital products. Not to be confused with copywriting, UX writing's primary goal is to effectively communicate with the user, so they can interact with and navigate through your product with ease.
Examples of UX writing can include button labels, navigation menus, or error and success messages. Many of these elements only require small amounts of text, or 'microcopy', meaning UX writing is often taken for granted by users, or goes completely unnoticed as it blends in effortlessly with the product. However, users will notice the absence of UX writing, as poorly written copy can impede navigation, and disrupt their flow. Therefore, if you want to boost user adoption, feature activation, and user retention, UX writing is critical to consider.
#1 Be concise
In a world where time is of the essence, verbosity is the enemy. Users tend to skim content, as generally they're seeking quick answers. So the key is to try and embrace brevity without sacrificing clarity. UX writers believe every individual piece of website copy should serve a purpose, if it doesn't aid your user in some way or contribute to the overall message, then it needs to be improved or removed.
#2 Jargon Jitters
Steer clear of industry jargon and technical terminology, your aim is to communicate, not confound. It can be easy to assume your users understand all the terminology you and your stakeholders know, but this is a common misconception. Instead, use language that resonates with your audience, ensuring that your message is easily understood by everyone, not just experts.
#3 Voice Matters
Craft your content in an active voice. This means the subject of the sentence comes first and performs the action that the rest of the sentence describes. This infuses dynamism and directness into your writing. Whereas, a passive voice reverses the sentence order and often makes the sentence harder to follow.
Active voice: The dog chases the ball.
Passive voice: The ball is being chased by the dog.
It's also crucial to stay true to your brand's tone and personality. If your copy sounds robotic and repetitive, it's probably devoid of life and lacks any personality. Therefore, the first step is to identify your brand's voice, this will ensure you sounds authentic, then the next step is to keep the voice consistent across the website and all digital channels. This is because consistency builds familiarity, and familiarity forges a stronger connection with users.
#4 Escaping the Overused Phrase Trap
There are only so many times a user can read phrases like "revolutionary solution" or "cutting-edge innovation" before it sounds hollow and cliché. Instead, focus on conveying your unique value proposition clearly and authentically.
#5 The Importance of Content Hierarchy
Users are scanners. They want to find what they're looking for, or grasp the overall message quickly, so they can continue on with their next step. Employ a well-defined hierarchy with headings, subheadings, and bullet points. This not only facilitates comprehension but also makes your content more visually appealing.
#6 Embracing Inclusivity and Accessibility
Digital content should be accessible to all users, regardless of their abilities. Using alt text for images, ensuring a colour contrast ratio of 4:5:1 is used, and writing error messages that guide users gently rather than frustrating them are all things that can be implemented to make a product more inclusive and accessible.
Why is UX writing important?
Your website's copy can significantly impact your user experience, so it is essential to optimise it. With a focus on conciseness, clarity, authenticity, and inclusivity, effective UX writing can transform a casual visitor into a loyal user. By understanding its nuances and evading common pitfalls, you have the potential to craft experiences that resonate, engage, and endure.