Do you ever feel like you need a set of guides when browsing a new website? Like when you start off on a road trip and roughly know the way but you put Google Maps on (just in case.) Well, a good UX should already give you guides in the form of microcopy or ‘UX writing.’ In this post, we explore UX writing and how it impacts the user experience.

What is a UX writer

A UX writer, you guessed it, writes for the user experience. They write to guide the user in a clear, concise and useful manner. Whether it be a website, mobile app or piece of software, UX writers are responsible for choosing the right words to accompany a product or aid an action.

Essentially UX writing is microcopy, a small body of text on the interface. Good microcopy understands the needs and feelings of the user, lending a helping hand in situations where you might feel unsure.  

The role of a UX writer

The role of a UX writer is to make the users experience a positive one. From the moment they land on the site, the user flow should be seamless, a UX writer makes it their business to eliminate pain points with words. Think about when you fill in a form or book a room, UX writing encompasses all words and phrases that make the actions you see on a website or app straightforward. 

What do UX writers actually do – on Medium

The impact of UX writing 

The word ‘useful’ is key in UX writing because you are essentially presenting the user with useful suggestions to make sure they head in the right direction. It’s all about balancing function and emotion, yes your end goal is for the user to submit a certain action, however, you should allow them to flow through the UX and make decisions naturally, rather than using obtrusive messages to force their hand. The balancing act doesn’t stop there, you also need clear and concise yet still incorporating your brand voice. And most importantly, making every character count. 

To put it into context, here are some examples of great UX writing:

Tone of voice 

MailChimp is a perfect example of good UX writing. Why? Because they understand how to connect with the emotional state of their users. And their tone of voice is bang on. 

Sending mail – with MailChimp

If you already use MailChimp, you’ll know that their onboarding experience is a pleasant one. At points where you might feel uneasy about a certain action, they offer reassurance and praise at just the right time when sending out that all-important newsletter (which is always nerve-racking.)

Boring notifications are now a thing of the past, so take note!

Keep it simple 

It’s important to keep the copy for your interface simple. You need to get the message across to your users in as few characters as possible. Bulb is a great example of this, affordable, renewable energy made simple. Getting a quote for your property couldn’t be easier when you are presented with clear steps and none of the technical jargon that, let’s face it no one really understands. 

Energy quotes – with Bulb

To ensure that the user continues to feel at ease, you should never make them feel they have made a mistake. Think of error messages as ‘friendly reminders,’ there to give you a gentle nudge. But put yourself in the shoes of the user, we all know that those messages can be annoying at times, so why not lighten the mood.

Registering – with Bulb

Final note: UX writing needs to be human-oriented, no one likes to be interrupted by an offensive error message, get creative! Be assertive but not pushy, it should be there to help the user take a certain action…but more like a friend not an annoying coworker.

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By Megan

28 / 06 / 2019

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