A Beginner’s Guide to Understanding UX Copywriting


As with all copywriting projects, to understand UX copywriting, we need to place ourselves in the shoes of the reader. Since we all use the internet this should be easy. So why is UX writing so hard to master?

The problem is that we usually don’t notice our browsing experience unless it’s painful. If the experience is even just OK, we give little thought to the copywriting. We almost never stop to consider if it could have been written better.

Here’s some things to think about that will help guide you to better UX copy.

The human attention span is short. UX copy should be too.

You probably read the above line after skipping most of the intro text. Why? Because you want to get to the point. However, client’s also need their site’s to be searchable, containing lot’s of great SEO keywords for engines to read. We can solve both problems.

Break up copy into bite-sized pieces.

Reading paragraphs is perceived as work. Break things up, use bullets, and adopt short phrases. Then, put the most important copy for your reader upfront. Use larger, bolder, or brighter text to highlight key information, making it easy to find even when skimming quickly.

Clarity is more important than length.

Don’t follow the copy-must-be-short rule if it increases confusion. Sometimes things need to be explained. That’s OK.

If you were shopping on a site that required logging in before adding items to your cart, which instruction do you think would make the best experience?

You must login before adding products to your cart.

Login to add products to cart

Login to add products.

Login first.

Login to shop.

Login to continue shopping.

Place the desired goal first.

Most people know what they want to do, they just need to be guided in how to do it. By moving their desired outcome to the beginning, you assure them that you understand they’re needs and are here to help. It builds trust in a simple, subtle way. Take a look at the above example with the objective placed first.

To add product, login

Make every word meaningful.

Learn more has it’s place, but sometimes Get Infographic, Watch Video or even Read Article will see higher clicks. This is because the user has a better idea of what they’ll get in return. Another great example is the word Submit. We all know it means we’ll be sending something off to whoever’s at the other end. However words like Connect, Subscribe, Save or even Send sound friendlier and provide more information.

Say things simply.

Sometimes we have a lot of meaning to squeeze into a short space. This can result in long, sentences peppered with commas. It can also lead to lots of adjectives being thrown in front of words. When possible, guide your clients toward shorter sentences and fewer adjectives. This will reduce the mental focus needed to understand the copy. It increases understanding and makes your copy more memorable.

Julie ComstockComment