Designers: Copy needs some love too

By Jesse Viana | UX Copywriter at Monday

Writing as a Design process

The more you think about writing as a design process, the more striking the power that words have in sharing user experiences will be. One thing we know for sure is that without writing, UX Design wouldn’t be complete. Why did you ask? People need direction and meaning in their experiences, and words make design more UX friendly — it’s meant to be for users.

Good UX is when design meets written language

If the content doesn’t deliver, even the most attractive page won’t hold the reader’s attention — and that’s why design is a process that should happen with content. Contrary to what’s been said, sometimes a picture is not worth a thousand words. And that’s super ok! This is why user-centered copy is vital to creating successful products and why UX Writing is the key to making users interact with products in the smoothest way possible.

Best practices on designing with words

If you want to start mastering your texts but have no clue on how to do it, here are some of the best practices to take into consideration the next time you need to design with words:

1. Write for people, not users.

Empathy is what makes your text sound like something you’d actually say to a human being, as we’re humans designing for other humans (sorry, sweet little R2D2’s of this world!).

2. Short beats good.

Wise words of advice coming from John Saito, content designer at Dropbox (and a fun fellow to learn UX Writing advice from!). Saito believes that most people don’t like to read. Whenever someone is looking at text on a screen, they scan the words and don’t actually read them (yep, I think we can all agree on this, right? I know that I often do this myself).

3. Call people to action.

Your mission as a designer — and even more so as a UX Writer — is to take people on a journey, so choose words that increase their productivity, like verbs, for example. Encourage your user to take action by following your lead and, most importantly, allow them to go on their own discovery crusade.

4. It’s not (all) about you.

It always comes back to empathy, right? It’s imperative to cultivate it as much as possible — after all, we practice human-centered design. Products should be easily located and understandable, even by someone with different backgrounds, languages, cultures, etc.

5. Be empowering.

How you write your words is also important — after all, no one likes to feel encouraged or defeated. Focus on what people can do with courage and optimism. Some good examples to start with are authentic and positive words, and forget about the “can’t” and the “don’t” vibes.

6. Ban Lorem Ipsum.

I know that it’s tempting to fill in the (early) voids of your interface with random Latin words. That way, you can design first and think about what to fill in the blanks with later, right? Wrooong.

7. Keep it simple.

Simple and straightforward language ensures that every word is serving a specific purpose. When in doubt, reorder the words as many times as you need until it makes sense, and you feel like it brings clarity to your message. The point is to provide the user with context without overwhelming it.

8. Consistency is key.

As you probably know, writing must fit the same in every screen size, so don’t forget about flexibility across platforms. Language style, formatting, and tone should be the same in every one of them, as it fosters trust in the experience and helps the user focus on the content, not so much on the style.

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