7 UX writing guidelines to optimise your content

From conducting meticulous user research to rigorous testing and refining, we’ll provide invaluable insights and techniques to ensure that your UX writing creates seamless and delightful user experiences.

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In today’s fast-paced digital age where user experience is paramount, UX writing plays a critical role in attracting and retaining users. From websites to mobile apps, every word you choose has the potential to significantly impact the overall user experience.

This article will equip you with a well-rounded set of UX writing guidelines to navigate and enhance your UX writing process. From conducting meticulous user research to rigorous testing and refining, we’ll provide invaluable insights and techniques to ensure that your UX writing creates seamless and delightful user experiences.

So, without further ado, let’s jump right in. We will cover:

What is UX writing?

Before diving into the guidelines, let’s establish what UX writing entails. 

UX writing is the art of crafting clear and concise content within user interfaces. It involves carefully choosing words, phrases, and sentences to guide users through their journey while using a digital product. Every word matters, from error messages to button labels, and contributes to the overall user experience. 

Imagine you’re using a mobile banking app. As you navigate through the app, you encounter a screen with a button labelled “Proceed.” This simple label immediately informs you of the action you need to take, allowing you to complete the transaction smoothly without any uncertainty.

By carefully crafting the words within the interface, UX writers can significantly impact how users perceive and interact with digital products.

Read next: What’s the difference between UX writing and copywriting?

7 UX writing guidelines to optimise your content

Now that we have a clear understanding of what UX writing is, let’s dive into some practical guidelines to help you optimise your content and create a remarkable user experience.

1. Conduct user research and analysis

Before getting stuck in with UX writing, developing an in-depth understanding of your target audience through user research is crucial. Take the time to carefully analyse existing data, conduct user interviews, and perform comprehensive usability tests. This important step will provide invaluable insights about your users and their needs and empower you to create UX copy that captivates your audience on a deeper level. 

2. Establish a conversational tone

It might seem counterintuitive to speak to strangers in an overfamiliar way, but it’s a best practice to adopt a conversational tone if you want to build a connection with your users. 

Contractions and everyday language will help you write like you’re having a friendly conversation with your audience—which, in turn, enhances engagement and fosters a sense of trust. 

This also includes breaking down complex concepts into digestible pieces of information, and avoiding complex jargon or formal language that could alienate users. For example, instead of “The system is currently experiencing an unexpected error,” write “Oops! Something went wrong. Please try again later.”

3. Focus on user benefits

Aim to shift the focus from features to user benefits. Highlight how your product or service effectively solves problems, enhances efficiency, and significantly improves users’ lives. Showcase the immense value users will gain by embracing your solution. 

This user-centric approach helps users understand why they should care about what you’re offering and empowers them to envision the positive impact your product could have on their daily lives. For example, instead of “Our app has a built-in search feature,” write “Find what you need in seconds with our powerful search tool.”

4. Provide contextual help and guidance

To reduce cognitive load, it’s important to guide users through their journey with proactive and contextual support. You can leverage user data and user behaviour patterns to anticipate users’ questions, concerns, and any challenges they’re likely to face. Armed with these insights, you can provide clear and concise instructions, detailed explanations, and reassurance at various points throughout the user journey. 

By strategically incorporating tooltips, error messages, and microcopy at relevant moments, you’ll facilitate seamless navigation of the interface.

5. Use action-oriented language

You can guide users towards the desired actions they should take by using actionable language that prompts specific actions. Employ powerful verbs like “Sign up,” “Get started,” or “Buy now” to create compelling calls-to-action (CTAs) that are easy for users to understand and encourage them to engage with your product or service. Not to mention, it’s much more attention-grabbing!

By using action-based language, you can effectively direct users and increase the chances of conversion. Sounds like a win-win to us!

6. Test, iterate, and refine

Like any other aspect of UX design, UX writing requires continuous improvement to deliver exceptional user experiences. To achieve this, it’s crucial to regularly test your copy with real users, gather their valuable feedback, and iterate accordingly. 

You can gain deeper insights into user preferences and behaviours through various techniques like A/B testing, user surveys, and usability testing. Embracing this ongoing cycle of improvement will ensure your UX writing is always at its best, effectively communicating your message and satisfying user needs.

7. Stay updated on UX writing trends and best practices

The field of UX writing is constantly evolving, with new techniques and strategies always emerging. Staying updated can help you deliver a cutting-edge user experience. Luckily, the global UX writing community is an active one—and you’ll find no shortage of conferences, webinars, meetups, blogs, YouTube channels and social media pages to keep you inspired and in the know. We’ve also rounded up some of the biggest UX writing and content design trends here.

Read next: Which UX meetups should you be attending in 2023?

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