We all enter ecommerce business with the goal of having a beautifully designed website that appeals to us and our buyers. A well designed online store can help you give your customers a better experience, an experience designed to bring in even more sales and new customers.
The first things that usually spring to mind when we think about ecommerce web design are usually templates, images, and navigation, but the text used across your site plays a big role in user experience, too. Remember, words are a powerful force that you can use to entice, persuade, and guide your customers.
User experience (UX) writing is an indispensable craft in website design responsible for guiding how your customers interact with your website and product. UX writing includes the subtle, yet powerful, messages you find in the menu tabs, error messages, notes, click triggers, and instructive guides.
Traditional copywriters, on the other hand, are less concerned with the user experience and is more in touch with the marketing aspect of a product, website, or app. While UX writers usually don’t have anything to do with advertising, selling, or marketing.
The UX writer is someone who writes to guide the user. In a world where apps and websites are becoming ever more complex, it is the job of the UX writer to guide users as fluidly as possible as they interact with your website. It is a subtle craft in writing that is a separate discipline in its own right.
One of the biggest hurdles a shopping website has to overcome is to create a process that is as smooth and frictionless as possible, and a UX writer’s job is to very subtly do just that. If you are wondering where you can find examples of UX writing, just take a look at any website, app, or even at your coffee maker and try to notice the text design to guide you, the user.
If you are wondering where you can find examples of UX writing, just take a look at popular shopping websites, apps, or even at your coffee maker and try to notice the text design to guide you, the user. UX text is concise and always useful, intending to guide the user towards an end goal, whether the goal is to have your website visitor “add to cart” or “sign up” without any hold-ups.
In essence, UX writing facilitates the interaction between your customer, your website, and its products. The more effective the UX copy, the better the user experience.
In this article, we are going to go over the rules and examples on how to create effective and simple UX copy that will make all the difference in improving your customer user experience when they shop with you and your ecommerce website.
1. Always Useful
No word on your website should be treated as an afterthought, and when it comes to UX writing, the text used should always be useful and helpful in getting your customers or users to where they need to go on your site.
UX writing requires thoughtful attention to the user’s needs and expectations. This means that when you are writing UX copy, it’s important to keep your audience and end-users in mind. The needs and wants of the user should be at the forefront of UX copywriting and should align with the goal of going deeper into the process that leads to the end goal, whether the goal is to “add to cart” or “learn more”.
2. Clear and Concise
There can be no room for confusion when it comes to writing effective UX copy, that’s why copy must be concise while having the ability to communicate clearly with its users.
The goal isn’t to create copy that is as short as possible, the goal is to create copy that is efficient and does its job at guiding a user. This makes UX writing totally distinct from copywriting, where a copywriter can usually have some more leeway in creating long blocks of text.
With UX writing, clutter is very much discouraged, and only necessary words and information must be included—the bare minimum for friction-free interaction between the user, your product, and your website.
- Unconcise UX- Would you like to add to cart?
- Concise UX- Add to cart
3. Consistency is Key
Keeping UX copy consistent across your website, app, or product is vital because inconsistency will cause confusion. An example of inconsistency is replacing a word that has a similar meaning across your site, for example, using “add to cart” and “add to bag” interchangeably.
The use of consistent language also plays a big role in earning the trust of your users. If your copy is inconsistent across your website, your users will notice your inconsistency and inconsistency breeds distrust, as your website may come off as unreliable and unprofessional.
To build trust, make sure tone and terminology are consistent so that the user experience is confusion-free and your site appears reliable to its visitors.
4. Aware of the User
The language used across your website should be accessible and understandable to all uses, regardless of their reading levels and technical knowledge. For instance, not everyone will understand what “Buffering” means so it may not be the best term used for a video loading up on your site.
This ties in with the first rule of clarity. We don’t want to use technical terms in our ecommerce website’s UX copy to avoid confusing and even alienating the user. Instead, we use familiar words and phrases all across, from our homepage, checkout page, to even error messages.
5. Tone and Voice
As clear and concise as good UX writing is, it doesn’t mean that it has to be bland and boring. UX writing takes into account what tone and voice the copy must take on to embody the voice of your brand and the voice that will appeal most to your customers and users.
Certain words and phrases have a certain power or appeal over others, for instance, when you enter Netflix’s profiles page, Netflix uses the words: “Who’s watching?” instead of something less engaging than “Select Profile”. They also use the personal pronoun “My List” across the site instead of the second “Your List”, which gives it a personal feel.
Netflix sets off a friendly and personal tone from the get-go that works for its users.
6. Stays Active and Present
UX writing utilizes careful word selection, and nothing is arbitrary. This is why the Active voice is encouraged because it has the power to call users into action. UX writing should be clear and actionable across all call-to-action buttons of your website.
The same goes for writing in the present tense. The present tense keeps your UX copy relevant and in-the-now, which is what you need to keep users engaged in your website or product. Writing UX copy that uses the active voice in the present tense will help make users feel more involved and will empower them to perform the actions that you want them to complete on your site.
7. Highlight Interactive Elements
Have you ever been on a website only to click on something that looked interactive but it wasn’t? Interactive elements on a website include dropdown menus, buttons, and items you can click and interact with. Nothing is more frustrating than not being able to find or mistaking an element of design for something else.
UX writers make interactive elements in your site identifiable and make sure that they stay true to user expectations by leading the users to the appropriate outcome. This is done by using appropriate verbs and call-to-actions that make them distinguishable and easy, if not pleasurable, to interact with.
8. Create a Smooth Journey
Ultimately, the role of a UX writer is to create microcopy that helps users navigate your ecommerce website with minimized friction. To do this, a UX writer has to know and understand every step of the process to create a flow or journey for your customers.
UX writers create positive user experiences by considering every step, from the moment a user opens a website to creating an easy signup or purchase journey by mending friction or pain points.
It’s easy to write off web design down to Hero banners, themes, colors, and templates but copy is also an integral part of the design process that can either help make or break your ecommerce business. As subtle as UX writing can be, it’s the less obvious powerhouse in creating positive and smooth user experiences.
Go ahead, the next time you view your website or any other ecommerce business or service, try to pay closer attention to the UX elements of the site and take note of the role it plays in your own user experience.
Creating good and effective UX microcopy takes effort and understanding of a brand and it’s target users, for a smooth experience that leads to greater conversations.
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