UX Copywriting: 5 Ways to Make it Work
The process of UX design places the customer, or user, as the top priority and focuses on establishing a well-designed interface that enhances the user’s experience with a specific software product. Though sometimes overlooked, the copywriting used in UX plays a majorly important role in a user’s reception of the product.
UX copywriting helps shape a user’s experience with any given product, as well as guide the user in regards to how to interact with the product and accomplish specific goals. Using proper UX copywriting techniques allows for a product to be made easier and more intuitive to use.
In this article, we will cover the basics of UX copywriting, including how it differs from traditional copywriting, as well as how it can be managed and tested. Keep reading to learn more about how to get started with UX writing.
Understanding UX Writing
When discussing UX writing, it is important to note that UX writing is not a separate process from UX design, but rather it is an essential component of the design process.
The words and text used on the interface of a product, such as a mobile app, are often the first information a new user will encounter and interact with. As such, the quality of the writing will have a significant impact on a user’s initial impression and overall attitude towards the product they are using.
Who UX Writers Are
UX writers can come from a variety of backgrounds and hold an even larger variety of job titles. As UX writing is not too far removed from traditional copywriting, many UX writers will come from a copywriting background.
In some cases, the writing may be the primary responsibility and companies may assign a specific person to the role of “UX writer.” However, in many other cases, the role of UX writing may be enveloped within a larger position, such as a product writer or content designer.
What UX Writers Do
The primary goal of a UX writer is to ensure the copy written on the interface of a software product is easy to understand and provides clear instructions or guidance that enable the users to navigate through the product intuitively.
Software products will additionally require several bundles of text spread out around the product, including for components such as loading screen messages and buttons. It is the duty of the UX writer to ensure all of this text clearly states its purpose and enhances the experience of the user.
Key Differences between Copywriting and UX Writing
While copywriting and UX writing serve similar purposes, there are some key differences that set UX writing apart. Below are some of the major differences between the two forms of writing to help those new to UX writing better understand the scope of the job.
Catchy Words vs. Simple Words
In copywriting, catchiness is key when it comes to the words chosen for titles, headers, etc. Catchy wording is what grabs the attention of potential customers and draws them in with the hope of converting those leads into sales and discovers what your customers really want.
With UX writing, the choice of wording places a much heavier emphasis on simplicity rather than catchiness. Rather than focusing on attracting new leads, the goal is more centered around ensuring current users are able to easily understand and interact with the product’s interface.
Sales-Oriented vs. Product-Oriented
UX writing shifts the focus away from being sales-oriented like traditional copywriting. Instead of being used to improve sales and increase the generation of leads, UX writing is used specifically for the enhancement and betterment of the product itself.
Collaborate with Marketers vs. Collaborate with Designers
Copywriters are traditionally employed by a business or company’s marketing team, as their writing is used to further an overall marketing strategy. Comparatively, UX writers are generally much more involved with the overall design of the product, meaning they must work closely with designers and engage in collaboration to ensure the copy they are writing matches the components and functions of the product.
Can Work Alone vs. Can’t Work Alone
In UX, collaboration is everything. While traditional copywriters may be used to working alone, a UX writer must be open and willing to collaborate and cooperate with a much larger team that includes designers and software developers. This is because all departments must work together to create a cohesive product that is user-friendly and fully functional.
Provides Stories vs. Focuses on Key Phrases
While copywriting may focus more directly on keywords and phrases, UX writing is more focused on telling a cohesive narrative or story that a customer or reader can easily follow and engage with. This improves the user experience by providing clear messaging around the product and brand. This story-telling type of writing also helps to further connect the user to the product, allowing them to better understand and appreciate what it has to offer.
A crucial component of both UX writing and UX design is tracking how well a product is doing and the overall user satisfaction with the user experience and interface. Key performance indicators, or KPIs, are quantifiable measurements that can help UX teams to keep track of how their product is performing.
Here is a quick breakdown of some of the most important KPIs for managing and tracking the success of UX writing and design:
- Task Success Rate: A measurement of the percentage of tasks within the product being successfully completed by users.
- Time-on-Task: A measurement of the average amount of time taken by users to complete specific tasks.
- Search vs Navigation: A measurement of how often a user can find specific information or tasks within the product by way of intuitive navigation compared to how often a user finds said information through the search function. Overuse of the search function generally indicates an issue with the UX and navigability of the product.
- User Error Rate: This KPI allows UX designers to define in advance what constitutes an error and then track how often users encounter this error. This can help to identify areas of design or copy where instructions are not clear and user experience is not intuitive enough.
- System Usability Scale (SUS): SUS requires users to be surveyed and given questions regarding the overall usability of the product which they answer according to a scale, typically a choice between 1-5. This is one of the best ways to assess user satisfaction and identify specific issues that may have been overlooked that are causing problems for users.
- Net Promoter Score (NPS): NPS is similar to SUS in that it provides users with a simple question of whether the user would recommend the product, to which users can respond using a scale from 1-10. Scores of 0-6 are typically considered negative, 7-8 are neutral, and 9-10 are positive.
- Customer satisfaction (CSAT): CSAT is another commonly used metric that measures customer satisfaction by gathering data from customer feedback. Like with SUS and NPS, customers respond using a scale to measure their satisfaction.
3 Ways to Test and Analyze UX Writing
Similarly to the importance of tracking KPIs, it is crucial to test and analyze UX writing to determine its effectiveness and clarity. Choosing methods for testing that not only provide feedback on whether or not the text is effective but also provide insight into why specific copy elements are or are not working.
Here are three of the best ways to test UX writing:
- Cloze Test: Cloze tests use a fill-in-the-blank format to test users’ ability to comprehend the context and vocabulary within the copy. In the ideal copy, users should be able to easily and intuitively fill in the blanks. Generally, an average score of 60 percent or higher between all participants is considered a good score.
- Highlighter Testing: Highlighter tests are used to determine the conversational framework needed throughout a product’s design by indicating at what points within the user experience there needs to be copy and instruction. Participants are given highlighters to mark specific areas of text that either make them feel more or less confident about the product, differentiating those two feelings by color.
- Comprehension Surveys: Comprehension surveys present participants with a section of text to read, followed by questions regarding details from the text. This type of test allows for UX writers to see how well readers are understanding the copy they have written and indicate where more clarity is needed.
Ensuring UX Writers are on Track: Training with Certified Copywriters
Although UX writing has significant differences from traditional copywriting, having strong foundational knowledge about copywriting is essential for professionals within the field. For new UX writers, training under certified copywriters can be extremely helpful for building a solid knowledge base and skillset centered on copywriting.
In-Depth Training with Copywriting Specialists
Training with copywriting specialists is the best way for UX writers to solidify their capabilities and skills when it comes to creating an effective copy. There are many technicalities to consider when writing copy and having strong background experience working with copywriting professionals is one of the best ways for UX writers to stand out from the competition and really flex their talents.
Willingness to Always Upgrade Their Skills
An additional benefit of having UX writers train under certified copywriters is that they will learn the importance of flexibility within the world of copywriting, as what is effective today in terms of a copy may be entirely different tomorrow.
The effectiveness of copy changes alongside changing market and consumer demands, so the ability and willingness to upgrade skills and adapt to new conditions is extremely important for any professionals within the field of UX writing and design.
When it comes to UX writing, clarity and simplicity in your copy are everything. UX writing should strive to provide the best possible user experience for a product by making navigation and completion of tasks easy and intuitive.
It is crucially important to take note of the differences between UX writing compared to traditional copywriting, as there are some key differences such as being more product-oriented rather than sales-oriented. Moreover, it is essential to track and manage KPIs and test your UX copy to ensure it is easy to comprehend and work effectively.