Find out what UX writing is, which the purpose of UX copy is, and what type of copy enhances the user experience. Open a digital Pandora’s box and learn UX writing basics.
The main argument of the myth is that the first mortal woman, Pandora, out of curiosity, opened the box that the god Zeus gave to her husband, Epimetheus.
Immediately afterward, various evils emerged from the box to inhabit the world.
The only thing left in the box was hope.
The myth of Pandora represents the effort that the ancient Greeks made to explain the origin of all evil in the world.
However, I’ll use it in this post for another purpose.
In other words, I’ll turn to this Greek myth to provide you with answers to the following three questions:
- What is UX writing?
- What is the goal of UX copy?
- Which types of UX copy enhances the user experience?
Would you like to know the answers to these questions?
Table of Contents
A digital Pandora’s box: from the metaphor to the user experience
Pandora’s box is the symbol of surprises or unexpected consequences that a specific decision may cause.
Let me give you an example.
Imagine that you decide to download, install, and activate an application on your mobile device.
At the moment of the decision, the company that developed the application will give you a digital Pandora’s box.
However, it won’t warn you not to open it.
Just the opposite, the company will encourage you to be curious enough and open the box, download the application, and install it on your mobile device.
Nevertheless, once you install the application, you may discover some surprises, both positive and negative.
- In case of positive surprises, the “goods” come out of a digital Pandora’s box. For example, ease of use, clarity, and assistance.
- Speaking of negative surprises, the “bringers of evil” escape from the box. For instance, friction, confusion, and lack of assistance.
How to ensure a positive user experience?
The goal of the above-mentioned company is to help you enjoy a problem-free experience while using the app.
In other words, the company wants you to “meet the goods” and “avoid the evils” from the moment you download and install the app.
- The “goods” result in a high level of user satisfaction. If the use of the app is straightforward and not-too-challenging, users will be more likely to continue using it.
- The “evils” result in a low level of user satisfaction. If it becomes too challenging and time-consuming to use the app, users will be more likely to uninstall it.
However, users can’t know whether they’ll face positive or negative surprises once they open that digital Pandora’s box.
The company that developed the app and “gave the box to users” is responsible for ensuring the optimal user experience.
Luckily, companies can make sure that their apps provide users with only positive surprises.
With the help of UX writers.
If the terms “UX writing” and “UX writers” are still new to you, don’t worry. Keep reading, and you’ll discover:
- What UX writing is;
- What the goal of UX copy is;
- Which types of copy enhance the user experience.
What is UX writing?
UX writing is a design discipline. Its goal is to improve the user experience by means of UX copy or microcopy.
UX writing doesn’t restrict to content writing, copywriting, or UI writing.
- Content writing is a marketing discipline that consists of crafting content that attracts, informs, and helps readers find the solution to their problem.
- Copywriting is another marketing discipline, known as “the art of writing copy that increases the conversion ratio”.
- UI writing is a design discipline that embodies “crafting a microcopy that makes user interface (UI) navigation easier”.
UX writing encompasses the three writing disciplines.
The user experience may start, for instance, with a blog post where potential users discover the characteristics of the application (content writing, information).
If users find the information on the blog useful, they will probably move towards the landing page to find out which benefits the application provides (copywriting, conversion).
In the end, if they decide to download and install the app, the experience will continue through the user interface. Then, the UI content will aim to make its use the most intuitive possible (UI writing, functionality).
To sum up, user experience writing is a general term, while user interface writing represents a specific term. However, many of us tend to use the expressions “UX writing” and “UI writing” as if they were synonyms.
What is the goal of UX copy?
The goal of UX copy is to create a meaningful conversation between a user and a digital product.
The conversation is meaningful when users understand the WHY and the HOW of a task. In other words, they should at every moment be informed about the following two aspects:
- Why the product responds in a particular way;
- What the next step in the task is.
UX writing must ANSWER their questions and GUIDE them through tasks. This conversation is the core of UX writing.UX Writing Fundamentals, UX Writing Collective
If the UX copy manages to answer these users’ questions and guide them through the task, that way two “evils”, known as “two F’s of UX writing”, are avoided:
- Friction is any factor that makes a task difficult or contributes to a high level of confusion in users.
- Frustration is one of the consequences of friction. It decreases the chances of continuing to use the product.
Which types of UX copy enhance the user experience?
Now, let’s see which types of UX copy enhance the user experience.
If we focus only on the content that forms part of the user interface, UX writers craft the following types of UX copy:
- Instructions and on-tool information (first-use content, contextual help, and other pieces of information);
- Dialogue boxes, CTAs, and buttons (interaction interstitials and promotions);
- Legal notices;
- Notifications, alerts, and errors;
- Lists and forms.
Besides, mid-to-high level UX writers also create content for chatbots and voice-based interactions.
Content writing and copywriting “open” Pandora’s box
In this post, we have learned what UX writing is, what the purpose of UX copy is, and which types of UX copy enhance the user experience.
Now it’s time to get back to Pandora’s box from the beginning of the text.
As already said, once you decide to download, install, and activate a mobile application, the company that developed it will give you a digital Pandora’s box.
However, before opening the box, be aware of the fact that:
- Thanks to content writing, you can find all the necessary information about the app and the company that is behind it.
- On the other hand, copywriting helps you discover the benefits of opening a “digital Pandora’s box”.
- In the end, UX copy is there to provide you with nothing else but positive surprises if you decide to take the step and open the box.
UX writing “keeps the box open”
Nevertheless, in case you work in a team that develops mobile applications, keep in mind that it’s not that challenging to persuade users to open a digital Pandora’s box.
The challenging part is to help them keep it open.
And, needless to say, no one can face either overcome this challenge without UX writing.
A Writing-Friendly Question: Is there any other topic related to UX writing you would like to know more about?
My name is Stasa Durdic, and I work as a UX writer. For me, Pandora’s box is a concept. On the other hand, the digital Pandora’s box is not only a concept but also its realisation, in the form of a digital product. If you would like to know more about me, please read my story or visit my LinkedIn profile. On the other hand, in case you want to get in touch with me, I’ll be happy to offer you my help with UX writing.
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