User experience (UX) copywriting is key to creating seamless user experiences. It’s different to content writing (writing an article or blog post) where the focus is on saying something interesting or expressing a point of view. Instead it involves using words in a way to help users understand the content on screen and what they need to do next. Think headlines, navigation buttons, error messages, help text, pop-up boxes, and application forms – each of which will have been designed to help the user accomplish a highly specific goal.
By choosing the right words – and placing them optimally within a specified design – the writer should be able to make users’ lives straightforward and hassle free.
What does a UX copywriter do?
A UX copywriter isn’t a lone wolf. Their content will be built around a persona created by a UX researcher. This data will include information about ideal customer wants, needs, and goals to remove guesswork from the equation.
The writer will also work with a UX designer whose job is to create a prototype wireframe based on information gathered at the research stage, into which the eventual content will be added.
In-depth knowledge of the research and design stages is essential if the UX copywriter is to create content that complements the digital product. And being comfortable with complexity is important too. UX copywriters often play the role of translators; understanding the detail of a complicated subject, boiling it down to the essentials, then conveying the key messages using plain language that is easy for everyone to understand.
What does a UX copywriter have to consider?
A UX copywriter’s decisions will depend on a range of factors, including:
- the overall aim of the user
- the product / service / subject matter being written about
- the user’s level of knowledge
UX copywriters must therefore wear many hats – being all at once authors, designers, researchers, and psychologists.
Thinking about the whole customer journey is key. Every individual screen or page is important, but UX copywriters also need to bear in mind where each page fits within the context of a customer’s overall experience – the steps a user has taken to get there, and where they will go next. This will determine what content to include at each step, and how that content should be framed. For example, providing a basic explanation of a new concept on the screen where users first encounter it, but offering more detail later on once they have a better understanding of the subject matter. It’s also important to maintain consistency throughout the entire customer experience, like using the same terminology throughout, and always providing definitions for technical or uncommon terms.
Five skillsets needed to be a UX copywriter
To succeed, technical writers need to:
- Have superb empathy – so they can identify with their audience
- Be able to think like a designer when creating content
- Consider the whole end to end customer experience
- Know the service or product they’re selling intimately
- Understand complexity and be able to translate it using simple everyday language
In short, UX writers are capable all-rounders who play a key role in developing a product and ensuring it is easy to use and understand by customers of all abilities.