Copywriters usually write to either sell something or to provide information. UX writers, on the other hand, help users to find their way around a website or app. At the same time, they can suggest a certain ‒ desired ‒ behavior to the user and encourage them to take action. With the help of so called “microcopy”, (freelance) UX writers make users’ lives easier. Microcopy is a tiny piece of language and, at the same time, a tool with gigantic potential.
What Does UX Stand for?
UX is an abbreviation for User Experience. In broader terms, UX stands for the user-friendliness of any product or service. However, the expression UX is most commonly used in reference to websites, apps or other software products.
Once a website has been UX optimized, it will meet user expectations or even surpass them. In other words: the better the user experience, the more fun the user will have with a product. If the UX is great, people will want to use a product again and again. They might even recommend it to their friends ‒ which is probably something you want. You can learn more about UX as a general concept over on usability.de.
What is a UX Writer? And What is UX Writing?
Everybody wants to feel safe, liked, cherished, and appreciated. A UX writer can convey this sensation through their writing. How does this work? The answer is as simple as it is delicate: By writing each word the way you speak to a good friend. Along these lines, a freelance UX writer can build up trust and encourage action through their copy.
Seven basic rules for UX writing are:
- Welcome your user.
- Use language and phrases from your user’s everyday life.
- Address your user with their name. Personalize the text accordingly.
- Make people smile and laugh.
- Be courteous and polite, use the appropriate pronouns, invite the user to come along and ‒ if it fit ‒ even rhyme a bit.
- Praise users and compliment them (within reason) when they have accomplished something.
- Avoid jargon, extremely technical language or internal company terms that discourage your user to continue working with your application.
Of course, there is a lot more to UX writing than that. Still, I think you got a taste of a UX writer’s work. Besides this magical part of our job, freelance UX writers are pretty much normal people who spend a lot of time typing on their keyboards.
What is Microcopy?
Microcopy is a key component of UX writing: micro-copy literally refers to tiny bits of text that make or break the user experience on a website, in an app or a software program. In other words, microcopy consists of letters, words or short sentences that help and guide the user through an application. Namely you can find it on
- 404 pages
- E-mail subject lines
- Error messages
- Form fields
- Hover information and hints
- Page title
- Site navigation
- Status information
- …and then some.
In addition, microcopy plays a very important role in reducing users’ fears: It builds a relationship of trust between user and application. The customer then feels more at ease with the software and will, thus, increasingly enjoy using it. Also, UX-Writers can encourage users to take action through microcopy.
UX Writing ‒ More Than Microcopy
Besides microcopy, there are other areas where UX writers come into play. After all, the surface of a website or app usually contains more than buttons and error messages.
Short Copy & Long Copy
Those include somewhat longer and long texts on a website. For example, product descriptions, teasers, tutorials, FAQs and similar longer pieces of copy.
UX writers also write dialogues for voice services like Siri, Alexa or Google Assistant. In recent years, more and more people have started using them. Futhermore, botcopy also includes the lines that are used by chatbots to communicate with users.
A large part of UX writing is to understand the customers and their needs. To do so, the UX writer describes personas, drafts as-is scenarios, delivers storyboards, and develops hypotheses for user testing.
SEO & Microcopy – A Content Marketing Dream Team
Let’s assume you already have a website or a software application. And you have successfully filled it with microcopy by a professional UX-Writer. Now, one thing is certain: thanks to UX writing customers will now find everything they were looking for on your website and maybe even a little extra. Jackpot, high-five, mission accomplished!
However, let’s quickly back up this success story. Right to the moment before your customer enters your website. Because this is precisely where SEO comes in: If your content is optimized according to what search engines deem worthwhile, people will actually find your homepage during their Google search. And can thus click on it to admire your great UX writing. 😉
In a nutshell: SEO brings customers to your website. UX writing guides your customer THROUGH your website to where you want to lead them. I’m sure you now know exactly what the headline means by “content marketing dream team”?
What can Microcopy Do for Your Business?
- People who find what they are looking for on your website become your customers. Your turnover increases.
- People to whom you offer guidance and added value stay on your website longer. Your turnover increases.
- People who have a good time on your website recommend you to others and will also come back themselves. Your turnover increases.
Take a moment to think about how nice it feels when your turnover increases and you make money. Mmmh. Fun! Now, keep this feeling. And if you are as fascinated by UX writing as I am, get in touch and let’s talk about it!