UX writing is the practice of crafting UI copy (aka microcopy) that guides users throughout a digital product (website, mobile app, digital screen menu, etc.). The primary aim of UX writing is to create a pleasant experience for the users while they interact with the UI to accomplish a specific user task. With the increasing complexity of functions and features of digital products, there is a large and growing demand for quality UX writing and writers.
Examples of UI Copy
UI Copy are text that appears in the UI design. Their mission is to provide instructional info that explains the purposes or goals of the UI. They include but not limited to:
- instructional text (e.g. placeholder text)
- menu labels
- error messages
- security notes
Keep in mind that not all copies shown on the screen are considered UI Copy. For example, the description or specifications of a product from an e-commerce platform is not considered part of the UI copy. These content are usually provided by the product owner and does not fall into the responsibility of a UX writer unless specified otherwise.
Tips for Writing Better UI Copy
Here are a few tips you can take into consideration to improve the user experience when writing UI copy:
- Be Concise – avoid long paragraphs and use fewer words to convey the same meaning
Don’t: You must log in before you can write a comment
Do: Log in to comment
- Be Consistent – when describing a task or action, be consistent and use the same wordings
Don’t: “Schedule your consultation now” on one page, and “Book your consultation now” on another page
Do: Use the word “schedule” throughout the product when describing the same task
- Be Current – avoid using the future tense to describe an action
Don’t: Your bank statement has been downloaded
Do: Bank statement downloaded
- Be Numeric – numbers in figure format are easier to grasp than in word format
Don’t: You have two messages
Do: You have 2 messages
Current Demand for UX Writer
The role is relatively new and not a whole lot of designated jobs are available. However, the demand is definitely on the rise since people’s lives are increasingly intertwined with digital products and the demands are unlikely to decline any soon.
Ideally, a professional UX writer should be employed for the copy write-up and this role should be part of the scrum team in an agile project. The UX writer should be an integral part of the UX design process and collaborate closely with other team members such as business designer/business analysis, designers and developers. It is highly recommended that a UX writer is recruited to a project at an early stage of the product development so that issues with product usability or user flows can be identified sooner.
Should You Become a UX Writer?
UX writing is a relatively new discipline and is a professional task that requires training and a lot of practice. As the current stage, the responsibilities may be absorbed up by an interaction designer or marketing personnel. However, if you are currently employed in a position that requires regular writing, or if you are interested in copywriting in general, now is a good time for you to extend your skill sets and portfolio into UX Writing.