9 simple but powerful UX writing tips for designersblog user
If you value the role content plays in the interfaces you design, it’s worth honing your writing skills.
One of the first reasons leading to UX writing appearance is growing attention to the role of copy in UI. Marketing and design specialists have agreed that copy content is a significant element influencing both UI and UX.
A few UX powerful writing tips are:
- Go ahead and end on prepositions
The people who advanced that “rule” were basing it on a grammatical rule in Latin — which is a very different language from English! The rule holds in Latin, but it has no connection to English.
- Visibility: Make all needed options visible without overwhelming.
The absolute last thing that users need to be doing on their tiny iPhones is digging through your navigation bar trying to find a solution to their problem. Pinpoint what it is that the user needs, and make it stand out to them. That goes double for writing.
- Simplicity: Communicate clearly, and keep it simple.
This is a basic rule in visual design that holds true when it comes to writing. It manages to get to the heart of the three principles of UX writing: Clear, Concise, and Useful.
- Structure: Like goes with Like.
In visual design, things that resemble each other, or do similar things should, naturally, be placed together. The same goes for UX writing. There is rarely a reason that words that do actively opposite things should be near each other.
- List clearly
Have you ever seen a cookbook that lists necessary ingredients in sentence format?
Sorry, rhetorical question. You almost certainly haven’t.
Why? Because listing several items within a sentence makes it that much harder to quickly see what you need — especially when it’s buried in a multi-sentence paragraph.
- Reuse: Don’t use synonyms.
As a writer, you’re probably of the flowery language persuasion. That’s ok. But UX writing is not the time, nor the space for it. Even though most writers are basically BFF’s with the concept of synonyms, all they do in this situation is complicate things.
- Link clearly
In most cases, embed your links in clear, descriptive language that provides “information scent” — which is just a fancy way of saying “any freaking clue of where the link will take you.” Doing so improves:
Usability: because of the aforementioned information scent. When the linked text gives me some clue where it’ll take me, I get a better experience. As long as the text and the destination line up well.
SEO: using terms that are actually relevant to the destination’s topic, rather than “here,” is like saying, “Hey, Google spiders: the page I’m linking to is really helpful for ‘SEO tips.’”
- Lead with the benefit
To wildly oversimplify human behavior for a minute: people are generally reluctant to exert effort unless they know they’ll get something in return for it.
- Scale the page to the topic
When you’re trying to decide how long a page or section of a page should be, keep a simple rule of thumb in mind: if your product’s unfamiliar, complex, or expensive, you’ll usually need more content.