Often designers work on projects that don’t have a ready text or the projects that are only at the prototype stage. There are designers who are overly concerned with the beauty of typefaces, graphics, proportions, and how the layout looks and treat text separately from design. The phase to fill it up with accurate copy remains at the end of the development process. This approach leads to the fact that design often becomes ineffective: descriptions may be inaccurate or inappropriate for perception.

Impact of text on UX

The end user encounters text on absolutely every screen: headings and paragraphs on pages, letters, push messages, CTA buttons and navigation, tips, errors and states.


Most of the design problems are associated with poor communication. Nowadays users don’t read long paragraphs and small text, but rather quickly scan screens and select headings. Therefore, the text is one of the bottlenecks that affects the end result of a successful interaction with the product.


Well-written copy reduces the hassle and feeling of insecurity when using a site or application. Users are less confused and understand how everything works, how to solve problems, where to move to achieve their goal, and what story the product tells about itself.


Writing a good copy in a product requires UX writers. They collaborate with designers early in the design process to ensure that text and design work well together and that the product is clear, useful, and a positive experience for users from the very first word.


Layout design and copy cannot be done separately, it must be a synchronized process. When designers work closely with writers, they create a more holistic product: the design enhances the tone of the text, and the text effectively conveys the message to the user in the design.

How designers can use text

Often there may not be a dedicated UX writer on the team, and the designer has to work alone on the text in the layouts. Finding the right words is a lot like finding a design. The portrait of the user, meaning and context are also important in the text.


Audience study

To write a good copy, you need to know who will read it and under what circumstances. To understand how users might behave on your website or app, it's worth answering the following questions:

  • What is the context of the user and what do they know before entering this screen?
  • What is the user's main problem?
  • What solution to this problem does the user expect to receive?
  • What tone of messages would the user like to see?

Thinking about these questions will help you choose the right perception of text and design. After answering these questions, it is easier to predict what users want to achieve and how to help them with it.


Benefits

For users, the functions of the product are not important apart from the benefits that they can get from it. Better to talk about how the product can solve their problem. For example, a request to send notifications should indicate that users will receive messages about discounts, and filling out a profile is necessary for more useful recommendations.


But be careful with dark patterns in texts

At first glance they can increase conversions, but explicit manipulation will only alienate users.


Meaning

Every designer should forget about the fake “Lorem Ipsum” text. It is not useful because it does not show how long real text can be and does not allow for full design testing. Always write the text that will be read by the user.

People don't want to strain to understand what the design is trying to say. If you force them to wade through long, incomprehensible or boring texts, they will quickly give up and leave.


The first thing to read is the headings, so they should be made very clear in meaning. When the reader doesn’t understand what the page is about, simply by reading the headline, they will not click through it, no matter how the “selling headline” persuades them.


If you want your text to be crisp and clear, it is best to make it easy to read. Don't use professional jargon. Write in words that are part of the everyday communication of ordinary people.


The text itself should be short, keep only the most important. Simple sentences are easy to read, and large headings look good when they are 1-2 words long. They are also easier to remember.

Hierarchy

More important than the length of the text, is the correct structure of the text. Eye Tracking studies show that people read in an F-shaped pattern, following headlines. Most do not finish reading the text to the end. Therefore, the content hierarchy should consist of important content at the top and less significant content below. This structure makes it easier to perceive the flow of information, improves understanding and increases conversion. The design should also emphasize this hierarchy visually: bright elements are placed on the first screens, information in the bottom of the page is presented more modestly.


To grab the reader's attention, you should place the relevant information as close to the headlines as possible. Too large paragraphs should be separated by subheadings. If lines of text are evenly spaced above and below the heading on a page, the text is difficult to read visually. The distance from the heading to the text should be less than to the paragraph above.

Tone

Every product has a voice. It shapes the user experience and personality. Just as the design visually communicates the brand language, the tone of the messages should create a certain impression. Design and text should not clash, in order to give the user a unified image of the product.


The text should always be directed personally to the user. This way they will feel the influence of the product as more personal. With the help of text, you can change the mood (button "Let’s shop now!" Instead of the dry "Start using"), add a sense of community with other users ("Join our 10,000+ community" instead of "Join a group"), or show concern (“Notify all 300 chat buddies?” Instead of “Send”).


Lately, designers have been using "Oops" when something went wrong, but be careful with those words. They may seem frivolous and the user will decide that their problems are not important, especially when, other than this message, there is no explanation of the context.

Conclusion

One of the main components of a good product is a harmonious combination of UX, interface design with a good copy. Always write for people, use human language instead of computer slang. Designers should always ask themselves what story the design is trying to say and how exactly it says it.