Why UX writing is a crucial web design skill

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UX writers give our interfaces a voice, and create context for users. Here’s a look into the art of good website copy.

7 min read

UX writing in a mobile website for a design webinar

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A quick Google jobs search will tell you this: UX writers are in demand.

UX writing might be one of the least talked about – and hottest – web design skills on the market right now.

And while UX writing has a lot to do with an overall website or app design, it’s a very different job. It calls for different competencies and requires you to use a seperate part of your brain.

Without good UX writing, your design projects will be flat, lack voice and personality, and will provide a subpar experience for users. This is the time to add UX writing to your resume, or dedicated UX writers to your team.

UX writing in a nutshell

User experience writing isn’t the same as general copywriting. It’s a hybrid style of writing that takes some of the best of copywriting and incorporates it with the design process, with a focus on end users.

Good UX writing guides visitors through a website interface in an intuitive way. The writing is like breadcrumbs that lead users to certain content or actions, without the user having to stop and think about what they are doing or how to complete the journey. The more complex a project, the more vital solid UX writing becomes.

Then there’s another layer. UX writing has to be in the right voice and tone to match the personality of the website or brand itself.

A UX writer could be thought of as a product designer because they are part of the full design process and impact every part of website or app creation.

UX writers might do anything from crafting microcopy to clever error messages to notifications or cues to lead users through the design. And their job doesn’t start after the website is designed. UX writing, outlining, and conceptualizing is as much a part of early-stage design as wireframing.

What makes UX writers so valuable is that they can tell stories in a relatable context, that website visitors would enjoy and want to be a part of. They have a knack for turning complex information or instructions into something simple, creative, and engaging.

Strong UX writing is the key to finishing a project with a consistent, and highly usable, design.

Top skills for UX writers

UX writers come from plenty of backgrounds – some are past copywriters, while others have design backgrounds. The commonality is a love for superior user experiences.

The skills UX writers possess include:

  • A design mindset with an understanding of how visuals and text come together to create context.

  • Strong writing capacity with broad vocabulary and ability to change and adjust voice by project.

  • Active listening and research methodology to determine actual wants and needs of users.

  • Networking and relationship-building to marry design and user experience.

  • Desire to keep evolving and learning since this field is fairly new and continuing to change.

  • Ability to work on a collaborative team, manage deadlines, and show flexibility when it comes to editing and revisions.

What makes UX writers so valuable is that they can tell stories in a relatable context, that website visitors would enjoy and want to be a part of.

10 UX writing guidelines

We’re going to let you in on a little insider secret: There are a few principles that every UX writer knows (and follows) to create experiences that demand interaction and engagement.

Add these ideas to your arsenal of tools to help grow your UX writing skill set:

1. Avoid long text blocks. Users don’t read; they scan. Brevity is key.

Avoid long text blocks in UX writing

2. Junk the jargon. You never know who will visit your website. Make it equally understandable for all.

3. Write in active voice. Make users part of the action.

4. Use numerals when possible. Why write out one-hundred when 100 is much more scannable?

In UX writing, use numerals when possible.