Designing Words and writing interfaces.

Sat 30 Sep 2017

Intuitive interfaces are not only graphical. They don’t just comprise of icons, motifs, and typefaces. They also include letters. UX is pleasant when a user acknowledges that there are people behind the screen as well. 

If you think giving your brand a personality matter, then you also need to believe in giving your product its own character.

To do so, you need to design words and write interfaces. Great UX copy can help make your app/website speak to the user. And that is where you build trust.

So how exactly do you ace writing for UX?

1. Write from a user's point of view.

Profile your users and adopt their tonality — speak their language. Understand their state of mind by learning their purpose of using your site/app. Gauge their interest levels and figure out how would they like us to respond. Use informal words and casual tone, it helps in making the user feel at home. Research about your audience and use the results to devise your tonality and design.

 

2. Use KISS Principle.

Attention spans are dwindling and screens are getting smaller. People like to consume more visual content. They don’t have the appetite for long and confusing instructional text. Keep the word length to a minimum. Avoid jargons and difficult words. Convey your message in the simplest possible language. 

 

3. Adopt a human tone.

We are social beings. We will always prefer conversations over bulleted list and slang over jargons. Talking in the most human tone to your user will get your users to trust you. They will know there are real people working behind the screen. 

 

4. Understand context and users’ emotional state.

Why is “Kudos! You completed the transaction successfully” preferred over “Your transaction is successful”? Every letter in your sentence count, then why write more than few words? Though lengthy, here, the former dialogue will make more impact. When people make online transactions, they are prone to getting anxious — “Did I put in the right number?” “Hope I did not enter three zeros instead of two”. Light-hearted copy eases such situation and makes the user feel better about the transaction.

 

5. Tell a story.

Stories humanize your interface. The user is your protagonist and has a task to complete using your app. Help him accomplish the task using intuitive verbal and visual cues. Avoid persuasion, focus on making your user happy/successful. This ensures a smooth and natural user experience.

 

The above tips are some of the few things I do while designing words and writing interfaces. Nothing out of the textbook.

Liked this story? You might want to read about the Psychology of Copy Writing.