— Sonja Reichel, Senior Conversation Designer and UX Writer at think moto, explains why UX writing turns products from “Well,” to “Wow!” —
We all know those attractive people who immediately capture our attention. They appear almost too perfect — until they begin to speak. Suddenly, they become dull and uninspiring, making us wish we’d never started the conversation. Or perhaps, they’re excellent conversationalists, but something about them is disconcerting, leaving us feeling uneasy and eager to escape.
Imagine digital products as good-looking people. While it’s the looks that make us engage with them in the first place, in the long run it’s about how these products interact with us.
If they are uninspiring and complicated to use, we will turn them down forever. However, if they are simple and helpful, we will stick around. And if they empower and delight us? Well, that’s when we’re truly hooked.
UX Writing and Unique User Experiences Are Inseparable Twins
But how do you get your users hooked? Actually, you need to create the perfect interplay of stunning visual design, smooth navigation, and compelling UX writing. UX writing is all about helping users complete a task and providing copy that meets their needs.
That’s why a UX writer must also be a design thinker and an integral part of the product team, iterating and testing the product.
Think of design and copy as interwoven elements that are mutually dependent. Ideally, the text will emphasize what is shown, making the visuals and navigation even more powerful.
However, if the words don’t mesh seamlessly, that could be an indication that you need to revise the design first.
Understanding Comes Before Writing
That said, UX writing is more than polished words that sound good. UX writing is more than verbal bling, bling. Instead, UX writers need to put themselves in their users’ shoes. Before they write, they need to understand what’s on their users’ minds. What they want to accomplish. What might be holding them back. It’s all about empathy.
A good UX writer anticipates users’ needs and takes away their fears. A good UX writer is their loyal, verbal companion whose presence is useful and fun.
A good UX writer prevents stumbling, hesitating, or guessing. Instead, they show what to expect by being clear. They provide just the right information at the right time. It’s both simple, difficult, and — beautiful.
UX Writing is Addictive
When done right, UX writing is a multi-sided addiction. Between UX writers and their users. Between users and the product. Between UX writers and language. Yes, UX writing is indeed highly addictive. Because you want to make users happy. You want to come up with the best possible way to explain something. You want to share your passion for language. No matter if it’s a button, an entry screen, or a logout page. Because just as much as you care for your users you care for words, and you know how powerful they are.
You know how the wrong words can ruin it all, whereas the right words can do magic.
For More Wow in Your Products
While it’s true that UX writing principles can help other team members write decent UX copy over time, why would you entrust writing to someone who isn’t used to it or isn’t passionate about it? You wouldn’t turn to a UX writer for nifty visualizations, would you?
There’s a reason UX writers chose their profession. Because they take the utmost care with words. Because they’re well-versed in the nuances of language. After all, words have been their dearest friends for as long as they can think. And that will pay off. Because their words will flow in the user experience as smooth as silk or as edgy as a pouting teenager if required.
Users feel when everything is exactly where it should be and makes them think Wow and Oh and Love it! Aren’t we all looking for more wow in our lives? In an app? On a website? So let’s start listening. And get the right words out there.