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7 Dec, 2020

Why UX Writing Matters to Your App

It matters. A lot.

Step into the shoes of a hiring manager for a moment. You need to dismiss an employee in a few days. You’re using an employee management app to do that in the system.

The flow seems to go smoothly until you reach the last screen where you enter the termination date, the effective date, and fill out the list of recipients who need to be notified about the dismissal. You scroll down to the bottom of the screen to complete the process, and then you see a button that says, “Save.” “Save for what?” you think, “What will happen if I hit Save? Will everyone get a notification now or later?”

Not a comfortable position to be in. 

Words matter. Clarity is crucial. Without clarity, frustration reigns.

What Is UX Writing?

UX writing is the art of crafting copy that makes it easy for people to interact with a product. Sound easy? It isn’t. In today’s user-centric world, it’s not enough anymore to provide people with simple directions in terms of functionality, such as, “Log in,” or “I understand.” Decision prompts must be delightful in tone and offer benefits to the user whenever possible.

Think of UX writing as an inner voice of the product that guides users through its most important points and reflects the brand’s personality.

What Does Good UX Writing Do?

While designers magically turn sophisticated concepts into simple forms, they sometimes treat words as little more than Lorem Ipsum. UX Writers bridge that gap between design and content.

Turns Data into Actionable Language

UX writers are advocates for the user. Their goal is to help product teams understand customer feedback and turn insights from user sessions into words that resonate with the brand’s target audience. For instance, when trying to explain a complex idea like insurance for a company’s FAQ page, it’s best to use plain English and simple metaphors. In other words, write as if you were explaining the idea to a child.

Instills Cohesion Into the Brand’s Voice

Just because designers are catalysts in the process of bringing a product to life doesn’t mean theirs are the only opinions that matter. 

Business, marketing, developers, and investors all have their respective visions about how things should work. And their visions don’t always align.

That is yet another gap that UX writing bridges. It provides a way to keep design and business on the same page, usually through a consistent Tone and Voice Styleguide. This spares users the confusion of coming across off-brand messages that only harm the experience.

Makes Products Sound Human

The days of awkward settings panels, cluttered models, and aggressive pop-ups are gone. Now, we value clarity, simplicity, and minimalism. Put simply, the role of UX writing is to convey to users a brand’s personality and humor using clear, concise language, so that everyone understands and enjoys a product.

What Does Bad UX Writing Do?

In contrast, when UX writing is bad, it can completely ruin a users’ experience.

Confuses Users

When users aren't confident in their actions while using your product, they're much more likely to leave it.

Dark Patterns

Dark Patterns are tricks used in products that cause you to do something you didn't mean to. Whether or not the bad copy is intentional, if a user ends up somewhere or subscribing for something they didn't intend on, it's considered a Dark Pattern. While it's not only UX copy that can land you on this website of what not to do, it's no excusable offense and leads to churn, or worse yet, a bad reputation.

How Much Does UX Writing Matter?

Words matter A LOT in the world of user experience. Carefully selected and well-thought-out copy impact the way people feel about your product and make them feel confident — or regretful — about their decisions. With the rise of UX writing as a career, we know that functionality is not the only thing to keep in mind when writing for products. Brands have to compete for attention; products have to engage and enchant.

That’s why hiring an experienced UX Writer who will make it all happen is crucial. Because you only know the real value of UX copy when it’s absent. Without the right words, frustration rears its ugly head, and the UX crumbles.

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