Why copywriters are necessary for great experiences
An experience is more than the customer understanding, more than the visual design, it’s also how it reads. The copy of an experience many times falls into the same trap UX would historically fall into, the thing that is slapped on at the end of a project. As companies mature to focus on the experience, and UX is well integrated into strategy and product development, it’s time to help push for good copy as well.
Who writes interface copy today? Designers, developers, marketers, customer service reps, tech writers — or some combination of depending on how your organization is set up. And while many times you can get OK results from any number of the people in these groups, there are actually people who not only specialize, but can devote the appropriate amount of time to the betterment of your experience.
What does good copy look like? UX Designer, and copywriter Talisa Chang says just like User Experience, good copy considers the user, the context, the flow, business goals, and the brand. Not an easy task. She goes on to point out that good copy can reduce ambiguity, puts the audience first, and is well researched.
Writers are trained in tone, style, grammar — and can make something cohesive, smart, interesting — and helps promote a feeling that the tool, app, or experience is tailored specifically for them.
Integrating a copywriter throughout your project helps in a number of ways:
The design team can start to move to designing for content vs. content trying to fit to the designs — and usually failing to do so well.
They can keep you honest about actually labeling things correctly for accessibility — something that us visual thinkers sometimes miss.
Reduce clutter in the UI, to get straight to the point.
Double checking your cleverness with some good old fashion “No one overseas is going to get that reference”.
Making sure you’re near that sweet spot of 5th-grade reading level for general audiences. This is also now mandatory for all federal government websites.
To keep your brand tone across applications.
From a metrics perspective, copy helps tremendously with on boarding — a key success criteria for many software products. What is this, and what’s the value? What am I supposed to do first? How do I complete this task. And while I do still believe the best experience is one that doesn’t have to be explained, in the workplace and with new experiences that haven’t really existed before — it’s important.
Conversion is another place the written word shines. Simple phrasing like “Click Here” vs. “Click Here to Get Started” vs. “Click Here to Get Started for Free Instant Access” can have direct conversion impact on a site. There is an art to get people excited to scan their thumb or input their credit card number to complete that purchase they’ve been researching across 10 different sites. Copy can nudge someone past any number of fears around:
How long something will take to get to them?
Can the thing be returned?
Is this the cheapest place to buy?
Is this the best deal?
Can I trust them with my information?