The importance of UX writing

When digital designers fail to give the words in their website, app or product the proper attention they deserve, they fail to appreciate the significant role that writing plays in the user experience they are trying to deliver.

That’s why designers who follow a considered approach utilise UX writing as an important part of the design process.

Why writing is a key aspect of UX

Most people understand the role of a copywriter in communicating the benefits of a product or service and attracting prospects

However, as digital products and services grow and take up more of our time and attention, UX specialists have realised that the words within these environments are as important as design in honing the user experience. As a result, the significance of UX writing and UX writers has increased.

At Maido, we ensure that the UX designer and UX writer work closely together, and even when a UX writer isn't part of the team, our UX designers play their part by always being clear, informative, concise and useful in the words they choose.

How writing fits into the design process

It’s important to introduce UX writing into any digital design project as early as possible because it utilises the same user research that design does.

Great UX writing starts with developing an understanding of the target market in order to appeal to a user’s emotions and guide their intentions by speaking their language. In doing so, UX writing focuses on simplifying and clarifying what a user needs to do. It should also incorporate any technical or colloquial language, so the user feels comfortable within a digital journey.

This ability to land on simple but adequately technical information quickly can be particularly useful during prototyping and usability testing, when a few carefully selected words can relay a bigger purpose, even when visual and interactive elements are not finalised.

Designers often fall into the trap of filling their digital prototypes with ‘lorem ipsum’ in order to show how words will be laid out. But well crafted words in key areas, like headlines or call to actions, can help to test a digital experience while other design elements are not finalised.

Microcopy with macro importance

The words that matter in UX writing are almost always microcopy, the short snippets that are used in calls to actions, buttons and around key visual elements on a page. While these might sound insignificant at first, they have a major effect on how part of a site, service or product performs.

For example, when Google changed ‘book a room’ to ‘check availability’ on its hotel booking site, the engagement rate increased by 17%. As Maggie Stanphill, senior UX writer at Google, explained, this was about getting the correct language for what mindset the customer was in based on where they were on their purchase journey.

After a digital product goes live, UX writing helps to ensure that the user experience is optimised on an ongoing basis by looking at metrics like conversion rates and A/B testing different language in key areas in order to improve results.

Writing for UX, now and in the future

Microcopy is becoming increasingly important in digital design with every new device that is introduced into our ecosystems.

Now that all experiences involve some element of mobile interaction, the use of select bits of microcopy become even more important. Furthermore, UX writing becomes absolutely crucial when dealing with wearables and IoT devices, which have limited display space, and when designing for voice interactions.

The evolution of the digital experience and the proliferation of new devices means that UX writing will only increase in importance. At Maido, we always ensure words are given their rightful importance early on in our considered design approach.