Level Up — 8 Quick Ways To Improve Your UX Writing

Starting guide for improving and learning about how good content can make a better user experience

Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash

1. Don’t reinvent the wheel

It can be tempting to do your own thing and come up with new phrases and break away from the “norm”. When it comes to UX writing however you don’t want to come up with something new, instead of using words and labels people will understand quickly such as “profile”, “checkout”, and “add to basket”. The idea is less cognitive load the better, you don’t want to confuse people or make them worried that their action will be wrong.

2. Be Concise

When we design interfaces or create new experiences we try and make it as minimal as possible by only including the features our users need. This should apply to our writing as well, keep in short, concise and readable is key to any successful UX writing.

3. Lorem Ipsum is not your friend

Typically during the designing process, the go-to tool to fill the content areas is lorem ipsum to see how the content will “look” in the space. We then spend ages developing a said feature, release it, and then realise that the copy or the content writer can’t actually use that feature as it isn’t large enough or in some way doesn’t fit the need.

4. Using proper pronouns

While using gender-neutral pronouns is almost always advisable, you should consider how you use first and second person pronouns like ‘I’ and ‘you’ as well. For example, ‘your changes have been saved’ is better than ‘the user’s changes were saved’.

  • “Added to the basket” or “added to your basket”

5. Incorporate UX Writing into discovery, not at the end

Like with any part of UX I believe in a data-driven customer focus approach, set aside personal voice and preference instead my recommendation is favour an approach that is usable for your audience.

6. Priortise Content

Often it’s quite easy to just show all of the content upfront to the user, without thinking what is most valuable content, by creating this hierarchy of importance through discovery and research you can identify which content is a must and then which can be hidden or if possible removed.

7. Use Numerals

Use numbers instead of writing them in textual form as numeric value is easy to scan for human eyes, it’s also shorter if you have to fit a tight area or make your UI tidier. For example instead of saying:

8. Instead of use dates say “today”, “tomorrow”, “yesterday”

With point 7 we were saying to swap text for numbers which is true for the most part apart from dates. When we talk to someone else we typically say what are you doing today? Or what did you do yesterday? Rather than saying what did you do on the 15 October?

Senior Interaction Designer at Companies House, Government. Living in Cardiff, South Wales, interested in human psychology and behaviours.

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