The world is changing fast, and most professions are evolving to adapt to that change, and so is writing. Nowadays, there are content writers, copywriters, technical writers, or blog writers.

Finally, there’s also UX writing. That might sound confusing, right? Isn’t UX supposed to be associated with design?

Well, yes. – But UX writers use words to drive UX design and engage digital users. If that still doesn’t clarify what these professionals do and whether you could do it too, here’s an in-depth explanation.


What is UX Writing?

UX or User Experience writing stands for the process of creating persuasive, concise, and readable texts that users encounter when interacting with the website and mobile app interfaces. This type of content typically appears on welcome screens, login screens, navigation and taglines, page titles, error screens, etc.

The goal is to help users navigate their way around the interface and product intuitively. Besides, UX writing has a significant role in creating the voice and tone of a brand.

Due to existing in a fast-paced world, websites, apps, and internet content is more complex than ever, arising a need for precise guidance. Thus, digital services and products increasingly intertwine with people’s daily habits and lives.

Because of that, it’s essential to establish a virtual experience that feels natural and flows seamlessly. Since people interact with technology differently than a few years ago, UX writing emerged to ensure copies align with the context and make them more user-friendly.


What Makes UX Writers Different from Copywriters?

After all that you read, you might think that UX writing and copywriting are essentially the same. Although the line between these two might seem a tad blurry at first, they’re substantially different.

UX writers convey and deliver a clear message about a product while targeting a specific audience. To achieve that, they must put themselves in the users’ shoes as that allows them to create relevant guidelines that intuitively instruct them on what to do.

That means that users are at the center of UX writing, and words are the tools writers use to reach them and deliver the message. It’s necessary to connect with the target group through a product.

The best way for UX writers to accomplish that objective is to be a part of the UX design experience and process. Hence, they’re typically active members and contributors of UX teams and support it by working alongside designers, sharing their ideas, discussing projects, and establishing the UX writing principles.

However, that tends to be a challenging task, which is why UX writers must have an in-depth understanding of UX and research its practices and goals. Many started as copywriters or still perform both roles.

The difference is that copywriters aim to sell a product using words. These professionals typically create copies for products and services that already exist, meaning that, unlike UX writers, they don’t have a say in the design.

Copywriters rely on various methods to persuade readers to purchase something, such as email marketing, landing pages, social media captions, or blog posts. The number of sales and new customers is the measure of their success.

In a nutshell: copywriting strives to help businesses increase their profit. The goal of UX writing is to help customers.

The latter identifies the best words to support UX design, and it’s present in any copy users encounter while interacting with a product. Thus, UX writing typically centers around those that are already customers.

Moreover, these two types of professionals have different writing processes.


The Writing Process: Copywriters vs. UX Writers

Before writing a copy, copywriters usually research the topic to analyze and identify the most relevant keywords. The draft must rely on an appropriate density of keywords to provide good text optimization and rank high in Google.

These professionals leverage various tools such as Yoast, Thesaurus, Google Keyword Planner, etc. After finishing the article outline, they send it to the client and adjust the final version according to their feedback.

UX writers also start with research, but it’s more complex and focuses on user communication style. They analyze the language and how their customers talk.

If they didn’t participate in the product creation, UX writers talk with the product creators or owners to understand every detail.

Thus, UX writers don’t have too much freedom concerning the message structure. Because of that, their work includes more editing than actual writing.

In UX writing, copies continuously undergo tweaks and editing to keep them relevant and effective. That means that these professionals will invest a lot of time and energy in testing various microcopies.

The tools they use are also different from the ones copywriters need. Google Docs, spreadsheets, Sketch, GitHub, Sketch, Figma, and Thesaurus are a must for UX writers.

a woman writing
Source: Unsplash


The Fundamental Principles of Stellar UX Writing

UX writers help users intuitively navigate the virtual experience, meaning that their texts represent a bridge between the company’s objectives and what the users need. Because of that, they participate in developing the product style and voice, ensuring that all content departments understand how to use it efficiently.

UX writers typically develop a content guide on the writing style, guidelines, and principles and share it with the company. That way, all relevant parties can align their efforts and deliver the same product message and tone.

Thus, these professionals prevent developers, product managers, and designers from releasing anything that users would struggle to understand. They’re responsible for ensuring that every project and feature is coherent, resulting in decluttered communication.

UX writers play a critical role in product design as they contribute to app, website, or feature creation and determine the issues users could face when interacting with the product. Hence, they must turn robotic and incomprehensible texts into something coherent and easy to comprehend.

These professionals must use four principles to make that happen.

  1. Clear

Users typically read up to 28 percent of the words during an average visit. UX writers strive to convey the core message to the users using simple language and intelligible phrases.

  1. Concise

In UX writing, every word is meaningful and has a purpose. These professionals avoid every expression that could diminish the message efficiency.

  1. Consistency

UX writers always use the same writing style, terminology, and tone for a specific product or feature.

  1. Human-centric

The goal is to create easy-to-understand microcopies and humanize robotic texts. Because of that, messages must make sense and encourage users to trust the product.

When UX writers implement these values, users believe product creators care about them and their needs. That brings products closer to the people and helps create a connection.


UX Content Examples

In general, any content that users encounter when navigating the interface is UX writing. However, the following are the most frequent examples.

  1. Call to Action

CTA is a subtle instruction that triggers a response and invites people to take action. UX writers ensure these are understandable and specific.

  1. Interface Input Hints

Input hints represent text fields that instruct users what information they should enter. It’s essential to make these texts clear, ensuring people don’t have to guess.

  1. Navigation and Website Menu Design

The website menu lists content features and categories, creating easy navigation for the users. UX writers develop a concise pattern and establish a clear link labeling, helping visitors orient themselves.

  1. Prompts that Trigger User Interaction

Most websites and social media channels include prompts that trigger user engagement and spark a conversation. These should be subtle, interactive, and short.

  1. Feature Support Content

Most functions and features typically require an additional explanation that lets users know what to expect. This content should be straightforward and understandable.

  1. Conversational UI

Conversational User Interfaces (UIs) represent a user interface that mimics a natural human conversation. UX writers make these texts feel more genuine and authentic.


Most Frequent Mistakes UX Writers Make

Despite the simple language UX writers use, this type of writing can be challenging. It’s tricky to spot mistakes as they can be subtle. Yet, if severe enough, they can hinder the product messaging.

Here are the typical UX writing errors.


Technical Language and Jargon

The goal of UX writing is to make texts easy to understand. Technical terms and colloquial phrases inherently give an overwhelming tone to the messages.

Thus, industry-specific words usually confuse those new to the product.


Lorem Ipsum

Lorem Ipsum is a placeholder text that doesn’t use meaningful information and is confusing to the users. UX writers should avoid its use because it makes product design look unrelatable and alien.


Passive Voice

The use of passive voice makes content sound dull and verbose. Instead, UX writers should use active because it’s more engaging and makes texts easier to understand.


Wordy Sentences

UX writers should avoid inflated sentences at all costs and stick with crisp, succinct, and concise texts.


Who can become a UX Writer?

If you wonder what it takes to become a UX writing, you should know there’s no typical educational background one should have. These professionals could have a bachelor of journalism or a Ph.D. in architecture.

This discipline is new, but these professionals are in high demand as companies want their products to resonate with customers. Thanks to that, the global average salary for tech writers in 2021 is 65,000 USD.

However, the pay depends on various factors, such as years of experience and the country. For instance, UX writers can expect the highest salary in Switzerland, the USA, Australia, Ireland, and Germany.

Moreover, you might find UX writing under various job titles as this is an ongoing debate. Some of them are UX Writing Manager, Lead UX Writer, Senior Digital Copywriter, Content Strategist, and Content Designer.

Women also seem to be more prevalent in this profession. According to some global findings concerning UX writers, 74 percent of respondents identify as female, while 26 percent classify themselves as male.

Most of them have between four and nine years of experience, and only four percent have been in this industry for less than one year. It’s safe to say that there’s no universal path you should take to become a UX writer.

However, it’s good to have copywriting experience and a substantial understanding of the user experience. UX writers typically work in teams, so you should also have stellar communication skills and collaborate with people from different backgrounds.

Attention to detail, patience, and good research abilities are other significant characteristics of these professionals. Finally, empathy and emotional intelligence are essential in UX writing because you should sympathize with users, understand their needs, and help them connect with the product.

Final Thoughts

UX writing connects the users with the product by creating an intuitive digital experience and giving a positive impression of a feature, product, or service. Although pictures might attract people, words make them stay and eliminate ambiguity. UX writers use text to make customers feel understood and bond with the product.

Moreover, visuals and words must blend well together to create a stellar user experience. Without it, users will likely be disappointed and won’t get the message. For example, 88 percent of online shoppers say they wouldn’t return to a website after a negative user experience. Thus, 44 percent would tell their friends about it.

That proves the paramount importance of UX writers. It also shows that now is the best time to become one.

Tina Nataroš

As a journalist and content writer, Tina uses writing to interpret the world around her, identify trends, and play with ideas. She finds inspiration in technology, marketing, and human resources and aims to leave lasting impact with her words.