Product text is so vital that a job title is dedicated to it: UX writer. This blog will explain UX writing, what UX writers create (and how), and what a UX writer performs daily. But let’s start at the beginning and get your basics clear first.
What is UX Writing?
Creating customer-facing language and copy for user interfaces is known as UX writing. UX writers, also known as microcopy writers, plan and produce the language that directs users through a digital product, application, or website. UX writers, in other words, determine how a product “sounds.” It’s a massive profession, and it’s a rapidly growing field as software businesses continue to invest more resources in their products’ user experience.
The words that customers read while exploring a product are, of course, extremely significant. If poorly written, the product will be more difficult to use, confuse and frustrate the reader, and eventually discourage future use. Great interface copy, on the other hand, blends in with the product. When a digital product feels smooth and straightforward, it is largely because of a UX writer.
UX writers aren’t just writers, despite their professional designation. While they create the content, UX writers are also designers, molding how users experience an entire product and how to make those experiences easier (and even more enjoyable) to complete with the language they write.
What Exactly Do UX Writers Write?
Text that customers see in digital goods is planned, created, and tested by UX writers. Text displayed on a screen or read out by a voice is included (like from a smart speaker or text-to-speech software).
A UX writer is responsible for writing the text for some or all of the following elements:
The wording for some or all of the following elements is written by a UX writer:
- Buttons and interactive elements
- Instructions and tooltips
- Menus and modes of navigation
- Notices and error messages
- Dialogues and models
- Screen for onboarding
This type of text is also known as “microcopy.” Microcopy refers to small pieces of information on websites and apps that teach you what to do, reduce doubt, stimulate progress, and reassure you that you’re on the right track.
Scanning patterns are recognized by UX writers, who build interface copy accordingly. They make the content more scannable by creating shorter phrases, using bulleted headings and lists, stressing vital material with visual indications such as bolding or colors, and inserting key information at the beginning of a sentence or paragraph.
So, why go to such lengths to make text scannable? The solution is straightforward: it reduces effort. Excellent UX copy is imperceptible. Of course, not literally – if the content is doing its job properly, the user should not notice or have to think about it and can focus entirely on their work.
Reading text on a screen may appear to be difficult, but reading through numerous paragraphs of text requires more effort than most people are willing to expend. That makes people feel overwhelmed and makes them more likely to abandon the page. That is why scannable text is a UX writer’s specialty.
Other ways UX writers reduce reader effort include:
- Avoiding extended paragraphs and text walls
- When feasible, avoid sophisticated vocabulary and jargon (i.e., industry-specific language), and show the user only what they need to know at any given point and when needed.
- avoiding too many options, which can lead to information overload
- maintaining a steady tone throughout the product (more on that later)
- maintain interface familiarity through strategies such as visual hierarchy and design patterns
Duties of a UX Writer
Do you want to work in UX writing? Depending on the size of your organization, you may be asked to undertake some or all of the following responsibilities on a daily basis:
Let’s start with the obvious: UX writers are in charge of creating and writing product microcopy, which includes everything from onboarding screen instructions to button text and tooltips to error messages and notifications.
To best serve users with copy, the writing process necessitates a solid understanding of the product as well as the ability to communicate that information in an understandable manner. The more difficult a task, the more effort is required to make it appear simple.
A UX writer is responsible for providing deliverables that communicate their designs and research to other stakeholders in addition to writing the microcopy itself. These deliverables are as follows:
A style guide is a set of rules and words that regulate a company’s written communications. Style guidelines are an important tool in the UX writer’s arsenal since they ensure that all copy within and outside the product is consistent and high-quality. A style guide clarifies grammar norms, capitalization, how to spell specific terms, and product feature nomenclature. As previously said, when these factors are constant, the user experience improves.
UX writers work with other stakeholders to develop and maintain their company’s style guide. When a product’s and its customers’ needs evolve, Because authors commonly refer to their style guide, language must be changed when a product and its clients change.
A style guide also establishes the voice and tone of the brand. A brand’s voice is its overall personality across communications, whereas tone is the various emotional degrees that the voice might take during a product experience.
When UX writers create microcopy for their product, they must organize it into deliverables that will be handed off to developers, who will code the copy into the product. This is known as the developer handoff.
These deliverables might take a variety of forms. Product mockups are frequently utilized since they demonstrate how text should appear in the interface.
It’s also usual for UX writers to hand along a spreadsheet with a common language (e.g., “Yes/No”, “Are you sure?”) and related codes. Strings are these chunks of text that can be added to the product by performing a “find-and-replace” for the code and exchanging it with the associated string.
A UX team may also undertake routine content audits. A content audit is a review of all assets in a product and/or website to identify which to keep, alter, and eliminate.
Businesses may conduct a content audit when conducting a brand refresh or redesigning a product or website. It’s also a good idea to do regular content audits to ensure you serve active and potential users to the best of your ability.
User Research And Testing
If you want to work on understanding your audience through various sorts of research, UX writing is a fantastic opportunity. UX writers are advocates for the user, thus they must spend time getting to know them.
Depending on the size of the organization, a UX writer may work alongside a UX research team or do their own user research.
User research is important at many stages of the design process, from initial concept to prototype testing and even beyond product launch. The goal is to identify which bits of copy genuinely assist users, which do not, and which pain areas can be alleviated using UX content.
Finally, the UX writing team is critical to providing accessible material. Users may have disabilities or limits relating to vision, hearing, mobility, and/or cognition, and UX writers should keep this user group in mind while creating designs.
Using alt text for images, making microcopy as basic as feasible, developing page headings that appropriately mark distinct areas of a website, and ensuring text color contrasts adequately with the backdrop color are all examples of accessible practices.
As previously stated, UX writing is much more than just writing – a product’s microcopy can make or break the user experience, so it’s not something you should leave to your design team at the last minute. Specialized UX writers and UX writing teams are becoming more widespread in the technology industry.
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