In UX and UI design we aim to create that delightful digital experience where the user easily achieves their tasks (💪 ), business goals are met and the brand really shines. We test it on users, fine tune the flow, layout and hierarchy, get that styling on point, and those interactions smooth and seamless, but at the heart of the experience are something very small and infinitely powerful that we often overlook in the design process: words.
The field of UX Writing is increasingly bringing the focus on words as a craft in their own right. However great our design is, without the right words a CTA may fail to convert, or an opportunity to bring more brand personality to the user may be missed. The magical unicorn of UX, they are as much an element to be designed and tested as any other part of the experience. So how can we use words to improve the user experience?
We often discuss tone of voice and brand personality but when we combine this with how our users speak, we have a really dynamic mix with which to build rapport and conversation. Learning your users 'language’, phrases and nuances and including them in your writing can go a long way to build up their trust in you.
Pay attention to the little guy
Microcopy, such as form labels, placeholder text, CTAs, feedback messages etc, have huge potential to let your user know you are there supporting them as they go through tasks. Neglecting this copy can leave users feeling cold. So when writing this copy imagine what you would say to them if you were chatting in real life and how would you phrase things if they encounter any problems.
Context is King
Where a user is in their journey is crucial. For example when a user is frustrated at having thrown a password error remember to be empathic, for many brands this isn’t the time to be trying to inject humour. But if they’ve found a broken link then crack on, a 404 page is the perfect opportunity to bring a smile to their face.
Test, test, test!
A rose by any other name would smell just as sweet? Perhaps not in the case of user experience. However lovely the design looks, the copy used can make or break whether users complete tasks or bounce. So it’s really important to test the copy on users. For those with large enough numbers an AB test can be a great way to determine which copy is more successful to complete a specific user goal.
So sharpen your quill dear reader, go forth and craft those words to delight and empathise. Your conversion rate may well depend on it!