So, you’ve created your design system and are ready to move forward with your projects. Now what?
Creating a copy system is as essential a part of product design as a design system, although it’s a part that is easy to overlook. As UX Designers, we spend a lot of our time considering visuals. We think about layout and how a user might perform tasks or complete an action.
More often than not, when we consider content, we think about it as a block. A thing to be placed in a logical location, next to a call to action perhaps or immediately before a more complex part of the user experience we are bringing together. This isn’t, however, how we should consider content. That is because it’s an integral part of the experience and should be given more attention.
Why is copy so important?
When we’re bringing together a new service or a product, we often do so in a way that captures an overarching brand. We’ll have goals to achieve a certain look or feel, and we’ll take steps to capture that visually by doing things like using the correct colours or considering our transitions or use of imagery. It’s incredibly easy to fail to consider just how essential copy is to a brand. How a brand sounds can often be as important as how a brand looks.
Take Apple as an example…
Apple is often cited as a great example of creating a recognisable brand voice through the use of copy. Apple’s tone of voice is distinctive. They have a minimalistic approach and use short sentences to capture attention quickly.
This helps make their content memorable and exudes confidence as it forces them into a situation where they have to go bold – which they usually do. Apple often makes big statements using fewer words. Sometimes they may even pull focus to one word alone, making it stand out to the user and create a higher impact.
Apple speaks plainly and uses a minimalistic approach to communicating with plain visuals when it comes to the presentation of their copy. This beautifully complements their sleek and clean product design. The combination of the two has made Apple the brand it is today.
Enhancing your design system and improving efficiency
When it comes to creating a holistic user experience, design and copy go hand in hand. So too, should your design systems and copy systems. Creating a copy system is crucial to ensure your design system works as efficiently as possible. Creating these systems for simultaneous use will allow you to;
- Use shared knowledge of user preference and behaviour to make informed choices consistent across design and content.
- Ensure that there is a unified voice across all products and services
- Streamline the development process by having copy ready to be added at specific points in the design.
- Allow user experience designers to work more efficiently, particularly if you have a shortage of user experience writers.
- Create a resource that other teams or future projects can benefit from in the future
Creating a copy system
Creating a copy system involves taking into account the various elements that make up your content, from the style, tone and language used to how you structure your copy and how you address the user. You can also consider things like calls to action (CTAs), headlines or keywords that play an important role in creating engagement with users.
A copy system should be centralised, organised, and intuitive. To start, create a spreadsheet or other organisational tool to keep track of all the different pieces of content you need. This can include key phrases, taglines, CTAs, product descriptions, etc.
Make sure that each piece of content is succinct, relevant and valuable for your users. Additionally, consider how you can use copy to create a sense of urgency or emphasise key features that set your product apart from the competition.
Once you have created a copy system, make sure it’s easily accessible and consistent throughout all of your projects. This way, every designer on your team will be able to quickly find the copy they need and be able to apply it consistently. This will help ensure that the user experience is cohesive and allows your brand’s voice to shine through with every design you create.
Content is an integral part of creating strong branding that gives a unique and easily identifiable feel to users. Any successful design system should be created alongside a content system, with both sharing inspirations from the same source.
Consider Apple’s approach to content when creating a copy system that considers both the design and the user experience. Creating this type of organised, efficient system will ensure that your team is able to produce consistent, high-quality user experiences for your customers.
By taking the time to create a copy system, you will ensure that your content resonates with your users, and you can create an effective design experience that stands out from the competition and provides an unforgettable user experience that makes the most of your team and their time and resources.
So next time you find yourself at the beginning of a product, don’t forget the high value that copy systems can add to your service users, and your final product.