Imagine a product with no copy. No CTA’s, no button texts, no error alert when you entered a wrong password, yet the password bar gives a red outline each time you enter a password. How lovely would that experience be? Not too lovely right? That is a clear indication that UX writing is not just the icing on the cake of your product. It is a core part of the process. UX writing might just be what your product needs to be a success.
The truth is product development is not a walk in the park. It combines processes, techniques, multiple iterations, and strategy meetings before the final launch. It will be a painful experience if the product does not get the expected acceptance after much money and time has been spent.
At times, it is difficult to name one thing that is responsible for a failed product, but you can always make sure you do all you should do to satisfy users. The first question you should answer while creating your product is; Does it solve target users' problems?
The second question is, is it simple enough for them to understand? This is where UX writing comes in. UX writing is the element you need for users to understand your product. Product managers usually tend to focus and dedicate time to the technical aspects of the development process, like coding, wireframing, prototyping, etc. But all these will not make your product successful if users cannot understand how to use the product.
You must not forget that your products are for users, not machines. So, as much as you are concerned about the application running well and debugging codes, you must be equally concerned about customers' perception of your product. It is not enough that your product has awesome features. Those features must be well communicated to users through good UX writing.
Laura Mwiricha said this concerning UX writing "UX writing is the lubrication, so to speak, between the user and the machine. Without any UX writing, the process can be counter-intuitive and confusing. With terrible writing, the process is convoluted, messy, and worst of all… frustrating"
In this article, I will share some reasons why you should prioritize UX writing in your product development process and how you can leverage it to make your product successful.
Why your product needs a good UX copy
In one of the talk shows at Google, Maggie Stamphill, a UX writer and content strategist at Google talked about "How words can make your product stand out". She talked about a simple change in their copy when users search for hotels using Google.
The previous CTA in their copy reads, "Book a room." But they had a low engagement with that CTA. So, they soon found out that the CTA was at the stage where people were still trying to check out if rooms were available; it was too soon to start committing to booking a room. So, they changed the CTA to "check for availability," which skyrocketed the engagement.
In this short story, you'd notice nothing was wrong with the page. The idea of checking for a hotel is also a fantastic one. But the CTA is the most significant determinant of engagement. Once it was changed, engagement increased. That is to tell you the power a good copy has on a product.
Let's take a quick look at some of the reasons why UX writing is essential for a product's success.
1. It helps you create an empathetic bond with users
Empathy separates an ordinary design from a design that is meant to provide solutions to users’ pain points. Empathy is being able to relate to the emotions of your users. Users do not get attached to products because they have a nice interface alone; they get attached because the product satisfies a craving or meets a particular need.
This is the reason video games are addictive. They are created to make users long for more, giving them free coins or points for another level, which motivates them to continue playing.
You cannot overlook the importance of empathy in your product development. Users want a product that they can connect with while completing tasks.
One of the ways to form an empathetic connection with your users is through words. Your designs should be empathetic, no doubt. But not every user connects with designs, they can only understand your designs better with a good copy. For example, a simple message like "Don't worry, your password is safe with us" can build a sense of trust.
2. Good UX writing drives conversion
You can significantly impact user engagement and conversions through your UX writing. The way you craft your CTA can either make or mar your product. A well-crafted CTA is sure to increase engagement on your website.
Although UX designers might attempt to be more expressive in their designs when trying to get users' attention to a particular concept, if conversion is the end aim of a user interface, being overly expressive might have a negative outcome. Users can be more productive when a whole interaction is focused on a single objective.
3. UX writing helps users understand your designs
For UX designers, the main aim is to create a seamless interaction between users and the digital product. So, the designs and the information architecture must be structured so that users can operate without difficulty.
However, UX writing creates a pathway for users to comprehend the designs and architecture of a web page through the copy of the designs. UX writing helps to close the gap between humans and machines, this can lead to people becoming more at ease with using user interfaces.
For example, the red outline that shows the information on a password field is excellent, letting users know they have filled in incorrect details, but the red outline is not enough. The error alert is still needed for users to understand why their password details is inconsistent with the requirement. So, the copy includes details like “Password must include: An UPPERCASE LETTER, a symbol, lower case letter and must not be less than 8 characters”. Without this copy, users cannot0 relate well to the design.
How to leverage UX writing for product success
Your product will not be successful just because you have a UX copy. There are essential practices for you to follow when creating your copy. These practices keep you on track to creating a user-centered copy.
1. Write to address customers' pain points
One of the problems that cause low reception of a product in the market is when users find the product difficult to use.
A report revealed that 70% of users are likely to dump an app if they find its process too complicated. There are millions of products on the Google play store and Apple’s App store, which implies that users already have options to choose from if your product does not meet their expectations.
What you want to do with your UX writing is to teach your users how your product addresses their needs step by step.
For example, the slack app offers excellent benefits to users, and within a few minutes on the homepage, you can learn about all these benefits and how to use them. The app addresses users’ pain points in a simple but precise manner This copy pre-empts users' need to connect with different departments within the same organization and communicates it clearly.
2. Write to reflect the brand's tone
You must prioritize the importance of voice and tone for both the brand and the user experience. The tone of your copy reflects the company's personality to the user.
Making the brand’s voice a recurring theme in your writing will help you to foster trust and lessen conflict. The tone of your copy can help you foster an experience that is driven by empathy by being aware of the goals that people have at various points throughout their journey and adapting your tone accordingly.
Your UX copy is a fantastic way to introduce your brand to your target audience more profoundly and meaningfully.
For instance, if you are building an e-commerce product, your aim should be to increase brand trust by including affirmations in your text. Also, if you are building a product for a high-end target audience, every word of your text should feel lavish and further envelop the user in a first-rate expert.
The tone of your voice should be that of a guide. Learn to use soothing, encouraging language. You might want to use honest, direct language if something goes wrong. And never compromise clarity for personality.
3. Add context to your copy
The ability to establish a relationship with the user is maybe the most crucial function of UX writing. Every user activity may be contextualized, which is an excellent strategy for creating a more persuasive copy. Inform users of the reason they are waiting if a program must keep them waiting.
Give users instructions on what to do next if they become stuck. You can utilize copy to ensure that users understand what is occurring with the user interface without getting overly technical. Give the user as much information and context as is required for a smooth transition.
4. Avoid long text
Avoid long-form language when attempting to develop a welcoming user interface. Users will frequently scan a block of text rather than reading it in its entirety. If you intend to establish leads, your strategy has to grab the user's attention. You can highlight vital information by using unique fonts such as bold or italics.
5. Create a conversational copy
UX design places a strong emphasis on producing things that appear more human. Technical or robotic language puts the user at a distance from the experience. Examining a user interface's UX writing and attempting to give it a more informal, conversational tone is the simplest method to overcome this obstacle.
Conversational designs and copies will make users engage more with a product. This is the reason for the popularity of voice assistant interactions today. Using straightforward, concise language and resisting the need to overuse terms for the purpose of technical correctness can help a lot in this area.
Writing the text is only a tiny portion of the job. The most crucial part is ensuring they are understood, resonate, meet needs, and allow users to take action. It involves far more than mere click-throughs and search rankings.
You need to be sure that your information will be understood by the intended audience and that it won't confuse or mislead them or otherwise obstruct their path. It's not necessary to spend months finding and analyzing content for this.
6. Test your copy and effect changes based on the insights
The best way to create a copy that will make your product appealing to your target audience is to investigate how your target audience will react to your copy either before launch or within the first few weeks of launching your product
For example, if you have an e-commerce app and you see from the website insights that the purchase rate is low compared to the significant volume of traffic you get on the checkout page, that implies that you are having more cart abandonment on that page. You definitely need to improve the copy on the page to fix that. You might include a benefit customers can gain if they make a purchase.
Product design is incomplete without UX writing. Not realizing this can mar the success of a product. Do not see the copy for your product as the last thing or a mere addition to your product development process. It is a very important part of the process since the actions you want users to take on the product will be communicated by words.
Thus, the UX writing process of your product demands the same level of attention you place on creating designs for your product. Always remember that it is possible to have a visually appealing design that does not convert because users do not understand how it works. You make interacting with your designs easier when you have a good copy, which can significantly increase the chances of your product's success in the market.