What Is UX Writing?
UX writing is the practice of crafting the copy—the words or text that appear—in a digital product, with the goal of making the product consistent, easy, and enjoyable to use.
A UX writer’s job is twofold:
- Deeply understand a product’s features and users, as well as the organization’s objectives
- Use all of this contextual information to write useful and clear copy
In some teams, UX writing is one of many responsibilities carried out by a UX designer or product designer; other teams have a designated UX writer.
A key thing for UX writers to understand is how language might be interpreted across cultures and regions. UX writers need to craft copy that's going to be broadly understood by a wide-range of users. It's important for UX writers to have a good grasp on jargon, colloquialisms, regional differences, and vocabulary that may be unfamiliar to non-native speakers.
By pursuing a UX writing role, you can help create a better user experience for any type of digital product. You’ll have the opportunity to solve problems using a combination of creative, collaborative, and analytical skills—and of course your skill for stringing together a smashing sentence—to create the most usable product possible.
Where UX Writing Is Found
UX writers contribute to many different aspects and touchpoints of a product, writing copy that can appear in places such as:
- Menu items
- Written content sections
- Push notifications
- Confirmation pages
- Error messages
- Supporting documents and marketing messages
Why UX Writing Is Important
Whether long-form or microcopy, UX writing eliminates ambiguity for users and can be a powerful way to reinforce a product’s brand. Often, product and development teams use shorthand or unfamiliar jargon to describe a product's functionality or features when working internally. Without intentional focus on UX writing, that internal language might make its way into the final product that users engage with, which could lead to confusion or a suboptimal user experience.
While it’s not usually the role of the UX writer to establish a product’s brand voice or personality, it’s very common for UX writers to carry an established voice through their copy. Figuring out how to maintain tonal consistency, even within short pieces of copy, can be a creative and challenging task!
Examples of Strong UX Writing
You might not have paid particular attention to UX writing before now, but you can find examples of it on any website or mobile app. Often, the examples that are most recognizable are those of poor UX writing, because we’re much more likely to notice when things don’t work well.
Acceptable UX writing might be the least obvious, as it does a good job at helping users to engage with a product smoothly. At the other end of the spectrum, excellent UX writing surprises or delights users by exceeding their expectations and furthers the organization’s objectives.
Take a look at the following examples of strong UX writing…
Modern Fertility offers at-home hormone tests to help people understand their reproductive health. Their quiz-style inquiry form uses relatable, light-hearted, and informative copy that appeals to their target demographics and is sensitive to the fact that its users are sharing personal or private information. These subtle cues make users feel cared for, which can help persuade them to use the service.
Mailchimp’s style guide is often referenced as a great example for how to define both a company’s visual and verbal identity. Their brand personality carries through in strong UX writing, even on pages such as the often-overlooked 404 Not Found page of a website. This copy is helpful, clear, and reinforces that they don’t take themselves too seriously.
Check out more examples of good UX writing here.