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UX writing

Definition

UX writing (or UX copy) is the art of using language to make experiences easier, more enjoyable and with your unique touch for your users.

There are other ways of describing UX copy (‘the use of language to design a conversation between brand and user’), but actually, the meaning of the term is fairly simple. UX writing makes digital experiences more efficient, by helping readers navigate their way to their desired outcome. It’s UX design, but with words.

How do I write great copywriting?

The best UX copy is therefore often invisible to readers.

UX writing is typically focused on the bits of copy no-one notices, sometimes called ‘microcopy’. This includes buttons, tooltips, menu headers, pop-ups, instructions and page headers: all the tiny touches that make a web experience either smooth and fulfilling or shitty and frustrating.

UX writers empowers...

  • Simple words to explain things.
  • User's laziness to read.
    • Use just the write amount of words to be clear.
    • Remove unnecessary descriptions
  • Consistency as their guiding principle.
  • Clarity (log in + sign up VS sign in + sign up)
  • Are product-oriented.
    • Refer to your own terminology
    • Elevate your tone of voice

Tone of voice?

Tone of voice is closer to branding than UX Design but it is crucial to empower it to make your experience more enjoyable.

There are 4 primary tone-of-voice dimensions.

  • Funny vs. serious: Is the writer trying to be humorous? Or is the subject approached in a serious way? (Note that for our purposes, this dimension was only the attempt at humor. We didn’t evaluate if the writers successfully landed their jokes.)
  • Formal vs. casual: Is the writing formal? Informal? Casual? (Note that casual and conversational are not necessarily synonymous, but they do often appear together.)
  • Respectful vs. irreverent: Does the writer approach the subject in a respectful way? Or does she take an irreverent approach? (In practice, most irreverent tones are irreverent about the subject matter, in an effort to set the brand apart from competitors. They are not usually intentionally irreverent or offensive to the reader.)
  • Enthusiastic vs. matter-of-fact: Does the writer seem to be enthusiastic about the subject? Is the organization excited about the service or product, or the information it conveys? Or is the writing dry and matter-of-fact?

Tones could fall at either extreme of each dimension, or somewhere in between. Each product's tone of voice could be expressed as a point in the 4-dimensional space described by these dimensions.

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