Copywriting and UX Writing. Similarities and Differences

Posted on
October 5, 2020

UX design is facilitating life for users and creating memorable digital products. But let’s not overlook the importance of UX writing to increase conversion and improve the whole UX in our websites.

UX Writing is key to help users have a comfortable and pleasant experience on your website. Imagine your future customers browsing your brand on Google and see you on the first page, clicking to visit your page… And she finds soulless words that evoke no emotion. Probably won’t resonate too well. 

What is UX design and what connection does it have with UX Writing? 

As UX designers, we always keep the foundations of graphic and UX design in mind. However, after preparing a useful, original, usable, intuitive and desirable design; is when we start thinking about what words we should use to evoke emotional states in our users.

Words are an essential component in UX design. This is precisely the job of a UX Writer: designing the content of the interfaces in such a way that users experience the product as if it were the main character in a story.

Words are fundamental for a good UX design and around 70% of failed online businesses didn't have a good UX experience (Webeo).
The right words improve the user experience

What does a UX writer do?

An UX writer makes two types of writing:

Microcopy. It is the transactional and navigational part of the design expressed in words. These words create a sensation of a smooth advance through the website and it helps to make users feel welcomed and guided.

In other words, microcopy comprises all those words or phrases that help improve the UX on a web page, add personality to the texts, and most importantly, encourage readers (prospects) to take action. The goals of the microcopy are:

  • Motivate the customer to act (for example, the text of the button to buy or contact).
  • Tell the customer what or how to perform an action (for example, a message telling you to select an option from the menu).
  • Inform the customer of the result of the action (for example, a notice as your message has been sent/received correctly).

Copywriting. It is the part with the most personality and vitality of a product. It is the way in which your brand expresses its voice and attracts your audience’s attention. 

One definition of copywriting is the following: it’s the “art and science of strategically crafting and publishing targeted, reader-focused words (“copy”) online” to make your users take action (Expresswriters). In other words. it is the art of selling: no more, no less. Copywriting doesn't have to be funny. It has to sell.

We are already tired of corporate texts, general jargon and serialized sales pages. We want us to talk to us. We want products that talk to us and that are made by people like us. In short, a text that looks like it was written especially for us is the end goal.

UX writers adjust the tone, voice and style of the product by combining both microcopy and copywriting. Once they have their copies ready, they match words with the needs and desires of users, matching the message with the emotions of the brand and its customers.

Ideally, UX writers should work with designers and developers from the beginning to understand the project entirely and define the story of the product. In fact, it’s important that before you start designing the screens or choosing the interaction components, you define what you’re going to say to convince your audience, show empathy and demonstrate you understand your user’s deepest needs.

Unfortunately, this situation rarely happens. What usually happens in the creation of digital products is that there is no defined process and the copy is added at the end, without paying much attention to it.

So, in general, UX writing and design are not part of the same creative process... But really they should because UX writing is about connecting with your fears, clear your doubts, receive the right information, send good vibes, etc.

In UX design, everything should deliver the same message with texts, images, videos and animations. Therefore, UX writing deals with creating texts that guide and help the reader to interact with your page, connecting with their emotions and guiding them through the web in a comfortable and intuitive way. And all this, without neglecting the brand voice.

How to differentiate between copywriting and UX writing

The difference between both concepts lies in their purpose. In copywriting, the copy seeks to hook and sell, while in UX writing the copy minimizes the uncertainty and friction of users when interacting with your platform. In other words, we seek to reduce effort as much as possible, to the point of guiding readers without thinking too much.

Until a while ago, the work related to the development of digital content had the only intention of hooking potential customers. However, writing for usability doesn’t necessarily require texts to be masterpieces of persuasion. On the contrary, we must look for ways to connect with users' needs and help them meet their goals; through clear, short and useful texts.

UX writing combines elements such as information and brand identity in short formats. In this way, you will ensure that your products are coherent, both visually and textually.

Developing content focused on UX requires empathy with the average reader. As a result, by knowing their wishes and pains, you’ll be able to understand that a phrase such as "complete this form with your data", although functional, does not challenge the user to write their names and emails.

Tips to improve your UX writing skills

First, know your audience. This is one of the most basic points of good UX writing. Ultimately, you can only convince your audience to take the desired action if you know what they need and understand how to communicate with them. 

For that, it’s necessary to know them well, know at what stage they are in the purchasing process, and understand how to create content that generates value for users according to the stage they are in.

In this way, you can create a copy that really answers the doubts and satisfies the wishes of your audience, communicating with them in the way they want. Specifically, to make users believe in your brand, it is necessary that your UX writing consider the following aspects:

● Work in sync with designers and developers, understanding the requirements and supporting their work

● Research and know the users in detail

● Test your content

● Develop and follow a style guide

● Manage the various applications of a microcopy

● Calls to action (CTA)

● Instructions or explanatory texts

● Buttons

● 404 errors

● Confirmation messages and errors in sending data

● Disclaimers of privacy and security of personal data

● And much more.

Additionally, you must consider that writing good copy takes time and you have to remember that:

● You’re addressing people with needs that you must help

● You’re a UX writer to reduce uncertainty, both in the actions we are taking on the platform and in its results

● You must integrate the personality and voice of your brand into each product

● You have to adapt the text and its length to each type of screen (responsive)

● You should keep in mind that today, and depending on your sector, a large proportion of your audience will visit you from their mobile phone. Around 60% of users won’t recommend a business that offers a bad mobile site (Intechnic)

● Use bullets to separate ideas. 70% of readers do read bulleted lists (Smallbizgenious)

● You should offer something to your readers. If you want to initiate or intensify the relationship with your audience, don’t start by asking them for their information. On the contrary, offer something valuable to your audience first. Read this article to know what to offer to your readers!

Similarly, copywriting also facilitates your work when designing a good UX because you need to guide your readers toward the sale. In fact, if you manage to improve the UX and, at the same time, guide your customers step by step to the sale, you will convert more leads.

Copywriting tips to improve the user experience

Be brief and efficient. Use as few words as possible while maintaining the meaning.

Talk to your users directly. YOU is one of the words that attract the most attention in the mind of your client. We are egocentric beings, we like to be told about ourselves.

When citing a figure, use numbers instead of words. For instance, you only have two steps left to receive your book / You only have 2 steps left to receive your book.

Entering your name in an email or greeting increases trust and strengthens the relationship between you.

● Avoid creating very long paragraphs and put relevant information at the beginning.

Clients scan. Face it, when you surf the wet you do the same. You stop a little more in titles and bold and, if you do not find what you are looking for, you go to the next page.

Short paragraphs improve readability and help the reader retain the message.

Write in the present tense and active form (avoid passives, seriously). As an illustration, “your message has been sent” vs “we have received your message”.

Avoid using confusing synonyms to talk about the same concept, especially if it is essential. For example, if you have called it ‘Audit’ before, do not click on the ‘Request review’ button.

Eliminate technicalities, acronyms or words that are uncommon and difficult to understand. In fact, a good copywriter writes like she’s talking to a 12 years old kid (Crazyegg). 

Use pleasant language that takes into account the emotional state the reader is in.

● Find the balance between giving the information they need and overexposing the obvious.

● Remember to keep your brand voice.

Storytelling is not a technique used by chance. Through the stories of your company, your clients will feel empathetic with your brand.

● Offering your product, service or content as something unique and exclusive will create urgency in your target audience to get it. You can, for example, send emails that inform the leads or clients that you’re offering a test of your product for free, but only for the first to download specific content.

The devil is in the details. Just write it in plain English!

Learning about UX Writing is an opportunity to delve into other areas of design and apply these new tools to create a solid product with an attractive personality that communicates directly and consistently with your users.

Make sure that your UX design and UX writing are a complement to each other. Good copywriting and microcopies have the power to create and influence people's perceptions of your brand.

Contact us to learn more and we will guide you on your website’s copywriting and UX writing!

Posted in
October 4, 2020