An Introduction To UX Writing

If you are a content or copywriter, you must have come across the term ‘UX writing.’ While UX writing is an old craft, the coinage is relatively new. That’s because UX writing has evolved as a separate discipline in recent years, and many businesses are actively hiring UX writers. UX writers are also called content designers in the UK and Australia.

Before User Interface and User Experience were given their due importance, most of the interface texts were written by the developers themselves. We have come a long way from those times. You can easily observe how clunky websites have given way to sleek pages and apps over the years, and one of the main reasons is the focus on User Experience.

This brings us to our first question…

What is UX writing?

First, let’s discuss what the acronym UX stands for. UX refers to User Experience and emphasizes the overall experience that a user gets from a digital product. UX writing is the writing that goes into creating that experience. Traditional copywriting usually aims at selling a product or a service. But UX writing is a part of the product itself.

When you download a new app, the screen guiding you about creating an account contains UX writing. The online forms you fill consist of UX writing. What Siri or Alexa says to you is UX writing! UX writing involves writing copies for the consumer-facing part of an app or a digital product. The copy is called a microcopy.

Unlike a traditional copy, it is an integral part of the product itself. A microcopy not just conveys a message; it enhances the experience of a user while using the product. While traditional copywriters usually come into the picture after a product or service is designed and needs to be marketed, UX writers are a part of the process since the beginning. They coordinate with software developers, UX researchers, front-end developers, product managers, etc. They have to know the product in and out in order to make it more palatable for the users.

Moreover, they have to keep the end-users’ interest at heart while writing a microcopy. When you are a UX writer, you have to think about how you can improve the users’ experience, and sometimes you might have to express your disagreements with the rest of the team. Your job is not just writing small pieces of text; your role is to bring the product closer to the user!

Is UX Writing Easy?

Well yes….but no!

Actually, the answer depends on why you are asking the question. If you think that writing microcopies should be a super easy task as these are just tit-bits of texts, then you are mistaken! UX writing is a random social media update that you can just type in when you feel like it. It involves a thorough understanding of the product as well as the customer’s expectations.

Also, it’s a lot easier to express your ideas in a big body of the text. But writing the perfect few words or one sentence that hits the mark is more difficult than what people think! In UX writing, every word should have a meaning, and the placement of each phrase or sentence matters a lot.

UX writing involves greater teamwork and coordination with the rest of the brains working on the digital product. UX writers should also be familiar with UX design and product development for executing their work efficiently.

However, the good thing is that UX writing is not rocket science, and a good writer with an open mind should be able to master the craft. While some UX writers have been copywriters and journalists who forayed into the field, there are people from varied backgrounds as well. You can find a science or history major in UX writing as it’s a growing field suitable for those who are willing to adapt and learn. Of course, you have to have a flair for writing, but no one will ask you about your academic qualifications.

Responsibilities Of An UX Writer

Understand the Internal and External Content Guideline of The Company

A UX writer’s first and foremost responsibility is to understand the content guideline of the business. Most companies have a content guideline that reflects their brand values, ethics, and objectives on different platforms- right from the company website to the sales copy on a brochure. The same would influence the digital product you will be a part of, so you have to internalize it!

If your company has multiple products or plans to add more products, you have to ensure consistency in the tone and voice across all products.

If the business is new, you might as well play a role in drafting the content guideline for the company. UX writing is a specialization of content strategy; sometimes, you might have to step outside your specific role and play your part in the bigger scheme of things.

Learn The User’s Journey With The Solution

How users feel about using the digital product is at the heart of UX writing. Hence, the writer needs to visualize a user’s journey with the product. The user’s journey starts from the point when he or she experiences a problem and starts searching for suitable solutions. Users might discuss their issue with their friends or search on the web, and discover the existence of digital products.

They do further research and compare different products. Let’s say they find your product more appealing. Now they would explore it more and assess if it’s good for them or not. If there is a demo or a trial version available, they would like to try it out. After these considerations, they may buy the product.

The user’s journey continues further as they use the product. They open it for the first time and figure out how to use it. There are times when they would need customer support. If their journey is smooth and their needs are met, they become long-term users of the product.

As a UX writer, you have to facilitate each part of this journey so that customers prefer your product over your competitors’ and have a hassle-free customer experience.

Craft Purposeful Microcopy To Empower The Users

Now comes the writing part! Since you are the UX writer, it’s your main job to create the interface-text that helps the user in understanding and using the product. You have to focus on giving them a smooth experience, for which-

  1. You work closely with the development, marketing, and design team- right from the conception of the product.

  2. You and your team will work on visual as well as written design solutions that will go into the product.

  3. While you are a writer, you would need to learn the tech tools that the designers and developers of your team are using.

  4. You have to hold the mirror to your team and make them understand what users need from the solutions.

  5. Adhere to the deliverables set by your team.

  6. Create impactful microcopies that fulfill the identified objectives.

  7. Be a part of the Quality Assurance of the product, and make necessary changes to your microcopy accordingly. You also need to be receptive to users’ feedback and find scopes for improvement.

  8. Improve old copies of other products. You and your team may realize that the new microcopies are remarkably better than the ones in other products, and you may have to align the old copies with the new ones.

  9. Collaborate with the marketing team and copywriters so that the copies within the product and the copies created for marketing are in harmony.

  10. Work with the support and sales team to solve users’ queries, create FAQs, and make necessary changes when new features are added to the product or a new version is released.

  11. Supervise and guide new writers in your company in UX writing. If the business is big and growing, more professionals would come on board. Fresh talent could benefit you’re your guidance and add to the overall growth of the business.

Never Stop Learning

Technology is a dynamic world, and if you want to thrive as a UX writer, you have to keep pace with the changes. You must be aware of what’s happening in your industry. Attend conferences, seminars, and webinars to know what the industry leaders think. Engage in online communities, read blogs, and sign up for workshops periodically to hone your skills. And most importantly, keep your fingers on the pulse of customers. Learn more about their expectations and paint points with digital products.

Can You Be A UX Writer?

If you are a writer who can convey more in a few words and takes a keen interest in the world of technology, you can consider a foray into UX writing. However, the objectives of UX writing are very different from traditional content writing or copywriting. Even if you are an experienced writer, you have to be ready to learn with an open mind if you want to excel in UX writing.