UX writing: Copy is an integral part of ux design

Sophie Ianiro

Sophie Ianiro

23 June 2020

2 min read

When we talk about digital products or interfaces, we get more concentrated on visual elements such as illustrations, icons, buttons, animations, colors, and shapes. But, there is one vital element that is not discussed in detail and not even mentioned most of the time: words. Yet the copy should be thoughtfully created in a way supporting the general design concept and enhancing positive user experience via successful interaction. Naturally, a new design role is emerging and we are seeing UX Writers appearing within design teams. UX Writing become the new graal.

What’s UX writing?

UX Writing is the practice of creating copy that is directly used in user interfaces to guide users within a product and help them interact with it. As UX Writer, my goal is to help users understand the “why” and “how” at each step of a task so that it feels simple and easy. If an app is confusing or lacks proper guidance, that’s called friction. Friction is anything that makes tasks harder or makes users feel confused, frustrated, and less likely to continue using the product.

Copy created by UX writers is called microcopy. The name tells for itself and stands for the small components of text which serve as hints for users. To be more specific, microcopy includes call-to-action, error messages, menu copy, in-app notification, banner, etc. The term UX Writer may be new but microcopy has always been a part of digital products.

Functions of copy in the design

Even if we can go very far in the detail of the user experience in terms of design, a bad copy can completely ruin the work done in design. To realize the importance of words on a digital product, take your favorite app, and imagine it without content. It’s pretty easy to see how critical the words are to the design!

Words have the power to make or break the experience and shape people’s perception of your brand. Bad-written copy can ruin even a really good-looking user interface. Various user tests I’ve been able to run have shown that it affects user experience as well as the information architecture and navigation system do.

Good-written copy is concise, specific, and consistent, but it’s also creative. It delivers a clear message that resonates with its intended target, and it motivates users to action. Good UX copy effortlessly guides users through an experience to an intended goal or objective.

Some may think that UX writing takes a few minutes to be done since it includes only small pieces of text. But creating a powerful copy for a CTA sometimes can take much more time and effort than writing off an entire article!

Words that make design go round

Words can’t be fully replaced with the designs whatever amazing, high-quality, and professional they are going to be. Therefore, the copy should be thoughtfully analyzed and created in a way supporting the general design concept and enhancing positive user experience via successful interaction.

UX copy needs to be clear and consistent so users don’t have to figure out what you mean. UX Copy needs to be simple so users could interact with the product intuitively. If users don’t notice they’ve been guided, UX writing has been done well. And, UX copy should be based on the context and the target audience.

For all of this, we can say that copy is a design element the reason why its effectiveness highly depends on the visual presentation. UX writers need to make sure it looks good and fits the design composition.

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