Why You Should Invest in UX Writing

January 13, 2021 Kevin Dabrowski

 

You probably know what the world’s oldest profession is. But did you ever hear about the youngest one?

As UIUXTrend.com says, while the UX designer is still a relatively new profession, the UX writer is even newer. Yet, although its history is short, writing UX copy is by no means a niche job. In 2019, the team of UX writers at Booking.com grew from 20 to 60 people, and Google was hiring at least 100 UX writing contractors; moreover, many fortune 500 companies were hiring UX writers on senior positions.

Currently, even smaller brands often employ at least one UX writer. In this blog post, we’re going to explain why you should too.

 

 

What is UX Writing?

 

Citing Adobe XD Ideas, design is all about communication. Regardless of what the product is, a UX expert designs a conversation between the product and end-users – and UX writing supports this, adding intuitivity to the interaction with precise interface messages.

So, shortly speaking, UX writing is the art of crafting the text that lives inside of digital interfaces and products.

Usually, UX writing includes two types of messages:

 

  • Microcopy, which are small pieces of text like, e.g., labels for buttons or menu options,
  • and Macrocopy, which are informative messages, text confirmation pages, etc.

 

One might think that UX writing should be fairly easy and quick since it involves only tiny pieces of text. However, crafting (yes!) a powerful CTA often takes more effort than writing a whole body copy. It’s a very precise job – every word counts and must be precisely tailored to the message it’s supposed to deliver.

Since the software market is growing increasingly, and thus filled with many, MANY digital solutions (in 2020, there were nearly 9 million available mobile apps alone), products that want to stand out and succeed desperately need good user experience. In the past (or now, at companies that for some reason don’t rely on UX writers), writing used to be done by the UX Designers themselves. However, currently, this skill is no longer seen as complementary nice-to-have; due to its complexity and importance, UX writing evolved into a specialist job title and is recognized as an integral part of the design team.

And since UX writers are in big demand, they even joined the six-figure salary club in the US.

 

 

What does UX Writing Add to Your Products?

 

According to Adobe XD Ideas, text makes up a significant part of mobile design and nearly 95% of web design. As a result, it can make or break the user experience.

Unfortunately, writing usually isn’t a priority. Especially smaller brands often view text as a redundancy and concentrate mainly on visual design. This is a mistake. Poor macro- and microcopy can ruin even the best visual efforts within a product. Studies show that concise text, objective language, and scannable copy improve usability by 124%.  As a result, many companies dropped traditional visual elements like brand logos, icons or images to free up space (and the user’s attention) for content; paradoxically, text started contributing to the visual side as well, aesthetically blending with the product look and feel.

 

“Text is no longer part of the design – it is the design.”
Gil Bouhnick

 

To see what we’re talking about, take a look at this powerful example:

 

UX Writing example

 

 

Overall, good UX writing can deliver a number of crucial benefits.

 

 

Clarity

This is one of the most obvious perks of exceptional copy. Did you ever abandon a shopping cart at an online store? According to Toptal, there are various reasons why users don’t finalize their purchases, stop using products or cancel subscriptions. Among them are, to name just a few, confusing messages, too many personal questions, unclear shipping charges, not enough information about the product and service, or uncertainty around how to cancel an order.

Proficient microcopy is the key to avoiding these issues. A well-crafted UI with a clear text can guide the user through your service and precisely explain what is happening and what will happen after choosing a certain option or clicking a button.

So, ultimately, UX writing can have a colossal impact on your revenue and the success of your entire business.

 

 

Empathy

Adding emotion to microcopy creates a better connection with users and helps foster a stronger bond. Users fall in love with brands that make them laugh and feel better about themselves.

A widely discussed example of this includes Slack. Their creative and positive messages are frequently shared as one of the best UX writing bits out there.

 

 

As a result of this exceptional copy, users get emotionally attached to the product. And hey – as a bonus, the brand got a lot of free coverage!

 

 

Transparency

Digital products can raise concern for security and privacy. This is hardly a surprise; the internet has always been filled with websites that tried anything to scam you out of your money. For example, a few years ago, the web was plagued by “free” IQ tests. Indeed, you could take them for free, but sending an SMS to get the results could have ruined your household’s budget for the month.

As a result, people are often suspicious, especially towards new or relatively unknown services – and rightly so! In this case, microcopy is a tool to make them feel comfortable and safe.

A great example is Airbnb’s reassurance that a client won’t be charged when booking a service, which is a strong incentive to click the red button without fear!

 

 

And More

UX writing can do much more than just that. For example, well-written microcopy serves as a powerful call-to-action, further improving your conversion rates. And as an icing on the cake, good writing sends an instant message that your product, platform or service is professional.

 

 

Importantly, UX Writing ISN’T Fine-Tuning

 

A common practice is side-lining the copy until very late in the design process. Intuitively, people might think that product design is the foundation, and a writer can join the project in the end stages to fill in the blanks with some text. Yet, this can have dire consequences.

Since text isn’t just an addition to the design, but an integral part of it, it should be included from the early stages of product drafting. Ignoring this principle won’t only result in a potentially worse-looking solution that will lack some of the biggest benefits of good microcopy. It may also confuse the users due to a flawed logic three behind it – a result of the text not fully corresponding with the rest of the design.

 

 

Tiny Text – Massive Impact

 

As you can see, although UX writing consists of very short pieces of texts – sometimes even single words – it can have a huge influence on the success of your business. Don’t make the mistake of ignoring it or thinking that it doesn’t matter. It actually matters a lot – and data-driven studies confirm it!

 

 

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