The Complete Guide of Building Better Products With UX Writing
New trends and new ideas are continually reshaping UX design. One of the latest changes in UX design is a new role - UX writer. Tech giants like Amazon and Google are looking for people who will take this role. But still, there is a lot of confusion regarding the role itself.
* What is a UX writer?
* Why does this role become important now?
* Does your team need a UX writer?
UX design is a continually evolving field. New trends are popping up with increasing frequency. One of the latest changes in UX design is the introduction of a new role — UX writer. Tech giants like Amazon, Google and PayPal are looking for people who will take this role. As with most digital trends, when big companies start the movement, and smaller ones follow it. At the same time, there’s a lot of confusion regarding this role. What is a UX writer? Why does this role become important now? What are the responsibilities of UX writer?
In this article, you’ll find the answer to all those questions.
What is a UX Writer?
In simplest terms, UX writer is a person responsible for all of the copy and content of a digital experience, both microcopy (button labels, error messages, notifications, etc.) and macrocopy (instructions, confirmation emails, etc.)
Why the Role of UX Writer Suddenly Became Popular?
For a long time creating a copy for user interface was an afterthought for product teams. Usually, writing a copy was an extra task for front-end developers — they had to write something just to publish the solution. This often resulted in situations when users had to deal with dreadful copy like in the example below.
When no one truly owns the words that make the product, users have to read the message like this.
Today when we have intense competition for user attention, companies realize that it’s essential to create products that will be focussed on humans. The right copy can influence the business (increase profits). A role of UX writer is to introduce the humanity in digital experiences product teams create. A company who hires UX writers wants to switch from clumsy, scattered texts to plain, concise, and easy-to-understand copy.
Are UX Writing and Copywriting Are the Same Things?
No, they are not. The difference between UX writer and copywriter becomes evident when we compare their goals. The primary goal of a copywriter is to attract new people to a product or service. That’s why copywriters are often employed in a marketing role — they are good at describing the benefits of using a product, and they usually incorporate SEO practices into their writing. The primary goal of UX writer is not to sell a product to prospective clients, but to create a better user experience for existing users.
So what do UX writers actually do?
Even after reading all the information you still might wonder what UX writers actually do. While it’s impossible to define a specific list of responsibilities, it’s still possible to define the areas where UX writer usually work.
To write a good copy, you need to know your users. Understanding your users start with the user research. UX writers should have strong research skills — they should be able to conduct user research to find out who product’s users are, what problems they face and what expectations they have.
UX writer is a person who writers a copy of products. When UX writers work on a copy, they should prioritize clarity — ensure everything on an interface is clear, informative and doesn’t make users ask the question like “What's that supposed to mean?” But clarity isn’t enough for good copy, UX writers should also need to focus on user’s emotions. They should always try to understand what emotions they copy conveys.
UX writers are expected to work in a truly Agile multi-discipline environment. When UX writers work on a project, they interact with designers, developers, marketing and sales team, business analysts, and many other people involved in creating a product. UX writers should be ready to take on cross-functional tasks such as adding a real copy to prototypes or take an active part in user research.
With Mockplus it’s easy to add a real copy to prototype.
Practical Examples of How UX Writing Improves User Experience
The goal of UX writer is to find a language that will simplify the process of interaction with a product. Here are just a few areas when UX writing can improve user experience:
Simplify decision-making process
During the Google I/O 2017, Maggie Stanphill of Google, explained how adjusting a copy can result in better user engagement. After the team responsible for creating a booking service changed ‘Book a room’ to ‘Check availability,’ the engagement rate increased by 17%.
The team found that having ‘Book a room’ at the time when users still considering different options was far too committal. So they switched it to ‘Check availability’, and they found that the new copy worked better for their users.
Alleviate users fears
Imagine a situation when you have to send an email campaign to 1000 subscribers for the first time. Most probably you’ll check the content that you want to send dozens of time, but still, you’ll feel anxious about the fact that something might go wrong. You push the ‘Send’ button and hope that everything will go smoothly. To alleviate the stress you feel at that moment, the MailChimp designed a success message that makes you feel better.
Mailchimp does not just report a status; it congratulates the user.
Support users during a journey
When we use a product, we embark on a journey, and sometimes we need guidance during this journey. Imagine you try to book a house for a vacation using Airbnb. You found a perfect house, and now you need to say something to the house owner. You might ask yourself “What should I write? ” You can spend 5/10/30 minutes in the attempt to find the right words. Airbnb knows that it’s not that easy to find the right words and it simplifies this task for you — it provides a placeholder text for the contact form which suggests that you should say a simple “Hello” to the house owner. While adding placeholder text doesn’t seem too much from developer or designer point of view, it invests in creating good user experience.
Copy must embody the voice of the organization. There’s a clear reason why companies like Tumblr or Slack feel so tangible — they add informal microcopy that reflects the human side of their products. It’s really not that hard to add a little bit of personality to make your product stand out from the crowd. Good microcopy can turn even the boring tasks such as loading into the bright and memorable experience. Consider the copy that Slack shows to users during the loading. Such messages became a design signature of Slack.
Slack makes boring interesting.
Now when you know what benefits UX writing brings to the company, you shouldn’t have any doubts why writing-focused user experience is so important. The role of UX writer will only become stronger. The rise of AI and voice user interfaces (VUI) will put in high demand people who can create meaningful conversations with users.