The right words will shape the whole experience.
Collecting text through user testing is a disaster. We need a copywriter.
Such a message was sent to me by a former colleague. She was a talented product designer and understood the importance of good UX copywriting. Now she realized that she needed help.
She recently joined a well-funded startup and the first few months of work were stressful. She was tasked with redesigning the company’s most important product. Everything is going well, she thought.
She was able to simplify the most complex user flows and reduce interface clutter. She even prepared a beautiful prototype for testing. But there were no copywriters on her team. And when she introduced the product to users, words didn’t work.
The next morning she called me at Zoom. I asked what she thought was wrong in the text. “That’s the point,” she said. “Everything is fine”.
All test participants went through all the user flows. They provided good, albeit predictable, product reviews. Many of them used words like “simple” and “easy”. But they said nothing more. When asked to describe the product, they declined. Or repeated. Plain. Light. Plain. Light.
Everything was in order with the text. But there was nothing memorable about him. The product was not broken, it was just boring. He didn’t have a single drop of personality.
So, we’ve made a plan for how to fix this.
The product was not broken, it was just boring.
For the next few weeks we worked together on a project. Copywriting and design in one massive Figma file. We created a new tone of voice, defined the text style, and started using the language that worked best in terms of product strategy. We’ve updated all of the prototype screens, improving the interface and changing almost every word.
In the next round of user testing, participants didn’t just know how to use the product. They really enjoyed using it. The product was still simple. But now he was also unique, modern and smart.
What are the differences? Copywriting. You can add personality in a variety of ways. With colors, fonts, illustrations, animations and sounds. Below, I’ll show you how to do it using words.
Shape your voice right from the start
Shape your experience from the very first screen. The first sentence or two will begin to shape brand identity and user expectations. This could be an interesting headline. Or a point of view of the world. It’s important that it sounds like your brand, engages users, and sets the tone for what’s next.
Choose your words carefully
Just one or two words can completely change the perception of your product. All features, categories and activities should be named and organized in a way that reflects the brand. In other words, be careful with how you name things.
Create the right content
Good content makes the product fit the brand. It helps users understand the experience and understand what the company is about. Of course, how you write is important. But first and foremost, it’s important to choose what to write. These two aspects need to work together. So think about all the articles, FAQs, and additional user flows that can shape your product.
Find where to add your brand voice
Some people call this “microtext”. I never liked this word because it makes the text unimportant. The converse is also true. Loading screens, error messages, footers – all these details are important. Each element has an opportunity to express the personality of the brand. Small texts should help users understand the interface and feel the brand. Write them with the same attention and thoughtfulness as the larger text.
Always choose clarity
Some screens in your product won’t have much personality. This is normal. Userflows related to things like personal data or payments should be simple. When in doubt, choose a clear and simple option. There is no synonym for “ZIP code”. And there is no better option than a “Pay now” call to action.