Open the UX-File and discover who (and what) contributes to making the digital user experience as positive as possible.
So far, I’ve published several posts, answering different questions about the type of writing that improves the user experience (UX writing):
- What the UX writing is;
- Which blog posts are the most informative when it comes to UX writing;
- What the user interface content (UI content) means;
- Which is the most appropriate name for the content that enhances the user experience (in Spanish only).
In this post, however, I’ll write about the digital user experience.
I’ve made this decision because lately, I realised that there was a certain level of confusion among some blog visitors when it came to terms like:
- UX writing;
- UX writer;
- UX copy;
- UI copy.
To prevent these terms from being an unknown – a mystery like The X-Files – I’ve decided to help all those who are still unsure of what they mean. With this goal in my mind, I’ll start from the beginning, explain what the digital user experience is, and open a very particular UX File.
In other words, in this post, you’ll read about the user experience, the digital user experience, and the concepts such as “UX writing”, “UX writer”, and “UX copy”.
Are you interested in finding out what the digital user experience is? Would you like to know how a UX writer can contribute to making the user experience the most positive possible?
In that case, let’s open the UX-File.
Table of Contents
What is user experience (UX)
In the beginning, let’s see what the term “user experience” (UX) means.
User Experience refers to the feeling users experience when using a product, application, system, or service. It is a broad term that can cover anything from how well the user can navigate the product, how easy it is to use, how relevant the content displayed is etc.User Experience, Product Plan
In other words, the user experience is a subjective perception that arises from the use of a product or service.
Before moving along, let’s not forget that there is a difference between the terms “usability” and “user experience”.
- Usability is a factor that is estimated according to the amount of time and energy that the user needs to perform a specific action. That factor can be high or low. If the usability is high, it takes little time and energy to perform the action. On the other hand, if the usability is low, the action’s execution takes longer and is carried out with a more significant energy investment.
- User experience is a feeling that arouses in the user during and after using the service or product. This feeling can be positive or negative, while it directly depends on the level of usability of the product or service.
Regarding the products, we can distinguish between:
- Physical products – For example, a computer, mobile device or tablet.
- Digital products – For instance, a website, desktop application or mobile application.
Info products, such as ebooks, video recordings or audio files, are also digital products.
According to the types of products that exist, we differentiate two types of user experience:
- The user experience with physical products – It refers to the use of physical products and offline services.
- The digital user experience – Relates to the use of digital products and online services.
The digital user experience: how it differs from UX with physical products
To achieve a positive user experience or improve the existing one, it’s necessary to consider the level of usability when modelling, designing, and creating a product or service.
Furthermore, it’s good practice to provide users with a manual containing instructions for use or other, usually printed, material. The goal of the material is to make the use of the product easier and eliminate any doubts the user may have.
In the majority of cases, users receive this material free of charge when purchasing the product.
The same is true when it comes to digital products and online services.
The aim of the company that develops and offers a digital product on the market is to achieve the optimal user experience.
In other words, the product is designed, created, and launched to be as usable as possible. Besides, it should produce the most positive feelings for the user.
However, unlike most physical products, the download and use of digital products are rarely accompanied by material written in a manual that features formal instructions for use.
Nevertheless, it doesn’t mean that there’s no content crafted to improve the user experience.
This content is called UX content (UX copy) and is different from manual content and formal user guides.
In summary, UX content is one aspect that makes the difference between the digital user experience and UX with physical products.
When it comes to the content of the manuals and instructions for use, crafting that content is technical writers’ job. On the other hand, content creation for digital products is mainly done by UX writers. To find more information about these two professions, I invite you to visit the post on the Gordian knot of writing.
The most important terms related to the digital user experience
UX content or UX copy is content that is part of digital products or is related to them. This content contributes to making the digital user experience as positive as possible.
In most cases, UX content is found within the user interface of digital products. However, it can also include marketing content and any other content that has (some) influence on the digital UX.
On the other hand, content that is exclusively part of the user interface is called UI content (UI copy). This type of content is micro-content (microcopy) and represents a more specific term than UX copy.
All UI copy is UX copy, but not all UX copy is UI copy.
- UX content creation is a discipline called UX writing.
- Professionals who dedicate themselves to UX writing are UX writers or UX copywriters.
In the end, UX writers aren’t the only team members working to improve the digital user experience.
- UX teams are usually made up of UX researchers, UX designers, UX writers, etc.
- The disciplines these professionals deal with are UX research, UX design, and UX writing.
However, although UX writers aren’t the most important members of a UX team, they play a significant role in building and enhancing the digital user experience.
Not the X-File, but the UX-File
To resume, I’m going to make a small summary of what we’ve read in this post. So, today we’ve learned:
- What does the term “user experience” (UX) mean;
- In which aspect the user experience with physical products differs from the digital user experience;
- What terms are essential to know and differentiate in order to understand the disciplines and roles related to digital UX correctly.
In a nutshell, the digital user experience is an essential factor in retaining users and customers.
What’s more, this factor is in line with two marketing imperatives:
- Instead of selling products to customers, promise them a positive experience.
- Better than offering services is finding solutions to customers’ problems.
And since “it’s not about giving a promise but keeping it”, to fulfil your promise, it’s necessary to count on the contribution of all the members of a UX team. In that team, of course, it should always be a UX writer too.
Only that way can you prevent this particular UX-File from turning into one of the terrifying episodes of The X-Files, the one that causes the most confusion, provokes the most friction, and instils the most frustration.
A Writing-Friendly Question: What is the most effective way to improve the digital user experience?
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