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Creating a Consistent Voice in UX Writing




An error 404 page
An error 404 page from Headspace

No user wants to use a product that is disorganized, frustrating and confusing in a world full of advanced technological tools. A product without a good description is simply a waste of time and resources. Language is the first element of communication, not only in our immediate environment but also in every digital product. Your users depend on the instructions they see on your product. Either on an app or a website, how a piece of information is communicated to users is as important as the visual aesthetics and intuitive interface. Hence, writing and design will always go hand in hand, 


Everyone can write, but the style and tone you use will determine how your users will interact with your product. This is why product designers should never overlook the importance of working with UX writers when creating a digital product. It's the job of a UX Writer to make sure that the language used in these products is clear, concise, and easy to understand for the user. Without UX writing, people would be wandering around in digital products like a lost pirate with no map.


Now, when it comes to creating a consistent voice in UX Writing, it means using the same tone and language throughout the product. This helps to create a sense of familiarity and trust with the user. A default change in tone can cause miscommunication from your product. This is because UX Writing is not just about writing words, it's also about creating a great user experience. So, to sum it up, this article will provide every information you need on the importance of consistent voice in UX writing and some tips for achieving it.


Why is UX Writing important? 


UX writing is the art of writing words that help people use technology more easily. Think of it like giving someone directions to a new place - if the directions are clear, it's easy to get there. If they're confusing, it's hard to find your way.


For instance, if Apple's Siri couldn't understand what you were saying because her responses were all mixed up - it would be frustrating, right? That's why tech companies like Apple, Google, and Amazon put a lot of effort into making sure the words and phrases they use in their products are easy to understand.


Statistics show that good UX writing can make a big difference in how people use technology. One study found that clear instructions on a website can increase sales by almost 160%. So, when companies invest in good UX writing, it's not just about making things easier for users, it can also mean more money for the company.


Importance of having a consistent voice in UX writing


Imagine you have a favorite TV show. You like it because it always feels the same - the characters act in the same way, the music sounds the same, and the story always follows a similar pattern. This is what makes the show special and fun to watch.


In the same way, when people use your product or your website, they want to feel like they know what to expect. If the words and messages they see keep changing, it can be confusing and frustrating. That's why it's important to have a consistent voice in UX writing. 


A consistent voice means using the same style of language and tone throughout the product design so that people feel like they are interacting with the same thing all the time. This makes it easier for them to understand what they need to do, and it can make the experience more enjoyable too.


Factors that Contribute to a Consistent Voice in UX Writing


Brave Achievers’ home page
Brave Achievers’ home page

UX writing is a very important field in product design that deals with how information is communicated on any digital product. However, some elements serve as a building block for every instruction passed across to users. Let's take a look at the factors that contribute to a consistent voice in UX writing:

  • Tone - The tone of a product's writing is like the attitude it takes toward its users. For example, if a product is meant to be fun and playful, its tone might be light-hearted and humorous. If a product is meant to be serious and professional, its tone might be formal and straightforward. If the tone is not consistent, users may feel confused or unsure about how to interact with the product. It's like meeting a friend who is sometimes happy and sometimes sad, it can be hard to understand how to respond.


  • Vocabulary - The vocabulary a product uses is like the words it knows and uses to communicate with its users. For example, if a product is meant for children, it might use simpler words that are easier to understand. If a product is meant for professionals, it might use more technical or industry-specific terms. If the vocabulary is not consistent, users may feel like the product is talking down to them or using words they don't understand. It's like a friend who uses words you don't know, it can be hard to understand what they are saying.


  • Sentence Structure - The sentence structure of a product's writing is like the way it puts its words together to make meaning. For example, a product might use short and simple sentences to be easily understood. Or, it might use longer and more complex sentences to convey more information. If the sentence structure is not consistent, users may feel like they are reading different languages or have to work harder to understand the product. It's like a friend who speaks in short sentences sometimes, and long ones other times, it can be hard to keep up.


  • Punctuation - Punctuation is like the way a product takes a breath or pauses when it speaks. For example, a product might use periods, commas, and question marks to help users understand when to pause or when to emphasize certain words or phrases. If the punctuation is not consistent, users may feel like the product is speaking too fast or too slow, or like it is emphasizing the wrong things. It's like a friend who talks really fast sometimes, and really slow other times, it can be hard to know what they mean.



Tips for Creating a Consistent Voice in UX Writing


A user interface of a children’s toy website
A user interface of a children’s toy website

When we talk about UX writing, we're talking about the words and language that are used in apps, websites, and other digital products. These words and language must be consistent so that users can understand what they're seeing and what they're supposed to do. These tips will help UX writing when crafting a style and tone for their digital product: 


A. Know Your Audience: It's essential to understand who you're designing for, what they want, and how they communicate. Imagine if you're designing a game for young children, and you use complex language and long sentences, they may not understand what you're trying to say. You need to use simple words and sentences that they can easily comprehend.


B. Define Your Tone: Tone refers to the attitude or emotion that your writing conveys. For example, imagine you're designing a website for a luxury fashion brand. Your tone would be sophisticated and elegant, and you'd use words that reflect that tone, like "exquisite" and "refined." If you use a casual tone or slang words, it would not align with the brand's image.


C. Create a Style Guide: A style guide is like a rule book for writing. It defines how you use vocabulary, grammar, punctuation, and formatting to create a consistent voice. For example, imagine you're creating a social media platform, and you don't have a style guide. One team member uses American English, while the other uses British English. There would be inconsistencies, and users may find it confusing or unprofessional.


D. Keep it Simple: Simple writing is easier to understand and remember. You need to use simple words, sentences, and structures. For example, imagine you're designing an app for learning a new language. If you use complex grammar structures or long sentences, it may be difficult for users to understand the language. You need to keep it simple and use basic grammar structures and short sentences.


E. Be Clear and Concise: Being clear and concise means that your writing is easy to understand and doesn't have any unnecessary words. For example, imagine you're designing an email that users receive after they sign up for a newsletter. If you add too much text or irrelevant information, users may get confused about the purpose of the email. You need to be clear and concise and only include relevant information.


F. Consistency Across Platforms: Consistency means that your writing is the same across all platforms. It helps to create a recognizable voice and brand image. For example, imagine you're designing a website and a mobile app. If the writing style is different on each platform, it may confuse users. You need to use the same writing style across all platforms to create a consistent user experience


Examples of Consistent Voice in UX Writing


Here are some examples of consistent voice in different types of UX writing:


A. Emails: When writing emails, it's important to use a consistent voice to maintain the tone of the conversation. For example, imagine you're writing to a friend about a party you went to. You wouldn't suddenly start using formal language or change the way you write mid-conversation. In the same way, UX writers need to use a consistent voice in their emails to maintain the user's trust and familiarity with the brand.


B. Error Messages: Error messages are the notifications that pop up when something goes wrong on a website or app. A consistent voice in error messages means that the user should be able to recognize the same tone and style of language used throughout the app or website. For example, if the app is usually humorous in its language, the error message should also be written in a similar style. This helps keep the user engaged and also helps them to understand the problem and solution more easily.


C. User Guides: User guides are instructional documents that help users understand how to use a product. A consistent voice in user guides means that the writer should use the same language and tone throughout the document. For example, if the user guide uses a casual tone in one section, it should continue to use that tone throughout the entire guide. This helps to keep the user engaged and also makes it easier for them to follow the instructions.


D. FAQs: FAQs are frequently asked questions and their answers. A consistent voice in FAQs means that the user should be able to recognize the same tone and style of language used throughout the website or app. For example, if the app uses a friendly and conversational tone, the FAQs should also use the same tone. This helps to create a consistent user experience and also helps the user to feel comfortable using the product.


Common Mistakes to Avoid in Creating a Consistent Voice in UX Writing


A clustered home page
A clustered home page

UX writers always want to give their best, and this sometimes results in oversimplification and miscommunication on the product. Here are some mistakes that should be avoided when creating a voice in UX writing:

A. Inconsistent Tone 


Imagine if you were talking to a friend, and sometimes you spoke very formally, and other times you were very casual. Your friend might get confused about how to respond because your tone keeps changing. In UX writing, it's important to use a consistent tone throughout the entire experience. If the tone is too formal in one part and too casual in another, it can confuse the user.


B. Inconsistent Vocabulary 


Have you ever been reading a book and noticed that the author used different words to describe the same thing? For example, they might use "big" in one sentence and "huge" in another. This can make it harder to understand what they're trying to say. In UX writing, it's important to use the same vocabulary consistently. This means using the same words to describe the same thing throughout the entire experience.


C. Lack of Clarity 


Imagine if you were trying to give someone directions to your house, but you didn't explain them very clearly. The person might get lost or confused because they didn't understand what you were saying. In UX writing, it's important to be very clear and concise so that users can understand what you're trying to say.


D. Overuse of Jargon 


Jargon is like a secret language that only certain people understand. Imagine if you were talking to a friend, and you used a bunch of words they didn't understand. They might get frustrated and stop listening to you. In UX writing, it's important to avoid using too much jargon because it can make the user feel excluded or confused.


E. Overcomplicating Sentences


Imagine if you were trying to read a book, and every sentence was very long and complicated. You might get tired or confused and stop reading the book altogether. In UX writing, it's important to keep sentences short and easy to understand. This makes it easier for users to follow along and stay 


Conclusion

If users are confused by the instructions on a product, they might give up and stop using it altogether. With the rate at which technology is advancing, users are less worried if they will find a better product or not, the pressure is on the product designer. This is why it's so important for UX writers to make sure their writing is clear and easy to understand. 


Similarly, if the role of the UX writer is neglected, the writing on the product might not make sense or might be hard to read. This could also make it less enjoyable to use, and users might not want to come back and use it again. 


A consistent voice is important when it comes to UX writing. This helps make the product feel more polished and professional, and it can also make it easier for users to understand what's going on. The voice on the Brave Achievers team is one, and this is why we open a wide range of learning opportunities in the product design field, with UX writing inclusively. Our website features a platform for learning that will help you stay competitive in design and writing to meet users’ expectations.

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