The user interface provides a surface where the user interacts with your product to use it. The interface includes all design elements including images, labels, and text. When it comes to text, your user must easily understand the meaning of the textual content on the UI, or in other words, your user must catch up with what your text is trying to convey. Writing the textual content on UI is an important skill, and is referred to as UX writing.
Below listed are a few UX writing best practices that will help you create concise and meaningful textual content for your designs. The result is an easy to understand content for your users that ensures a smooth and pleasant user experience.
1. Get Rid of Redundancy
Redundancy refers to a group of words (phrases) that repeat the same meaning or idea. In UI, the redundant text is considered noise on the UI which causes distraction for users. It is a misconception that using two or three similar words will convey your message more clearly to the user. This is not the case. Doing so will divert you from conciseness and can distract your users. So you must re-check your text to see if you have used any redundant words which you can remove upon checking.
Don’t: Create New Project
Do: Create Project
2. Go for Numerals
You are encouraged to use numbers where required instead of writing them in words. Because the human eye can catch numerals very quickly and easily. If you write numbers in words then there is a chance that the user may not pick up the number.
Don’t: You have three unread emails.
Do: You have 3 unread emails.
In the first sentence, three is a number that is written in words. You will notice that on reading this sentence you might not catch up with the number of unread emails. But if you use the numeral, you can see it becomes easier to scan the number.
3. Use First Person
In your text, you must not mention the user directly then this tone will be less personal. Instead of this use, a first-person which will be a more personalized tone, and users will take it more seriously.
Don’t: The user must click the submit button to submit their application
Do: Click the Submit button to submit your application
4. Avoid Using All-Caps
You must not write the entire sentence in capital letters as it will be difficult for your user to read it out. Secondly, the sentence written in capital letters doesn’t have a pleasant feeling for the user rather it might sound like you are trying to convey the message to the user in a harsh manner. So you must be very gentle and polite with your user and for this, you must avoid writing the entire sentence using caps.
Don’t: CHANGE THE STYLE TO ITALICS
Do: Change the style to italics
5. Use Present Tense
While writing the text always prefer the present tense. Avoid using the future tense or past tense. By using the present tense you can create a live scenario that will influence the user’s mind that actions that the user will perform are occurring live and are associated with the present situation.
Don’t: The song has been downloaded.
Do: The song downloaded
You can see that the second sentence is in the present tense and is directly reflecting the action which is done after the user has clicked or touched the download button.
6. Use Active Voice
Using passive voice usually makes sentences very long and it can distract the user by making him bored and dull. So use an active voice which makes the sentence more concise and meaningful.
Don’t: The Publish button should be clicked if you have decided to publish your post
Do: Click the Publish button to publish your post
You can see that the passive voice version of the sentence is too wordy and difficult to understand what it actually wants to convey. So these types of sentences can make users confuse or annoy. Instead, if you use active voice, it is far better because it is more concise and meaningful, and easily understandable for the user.
The UX designers must follow the above-listed best practices to provide a better user experience for their products. Although these practices look very small and less important but remember these little things can impact your designs negatively if ignored.
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