What is UX Writing?

UX (User Experience) writing is a specific type of writing, primarily for online or digital platforms such as apps and websites. The purpose of UX writing is to guide the user through a process, from start to finish. Ultimately it should give the user an excellent experience when they use a website, app or software.

UX writing covers information copy such as headlines, sub-headers, body copy and captions, as well as interaction copy such as forms, logins, prompts, CTAs, notifications, error messages and tips.

We have all come face to face with poor UX writing. An app with instructions that are too complex to follow. Software that is difficult to understand. A website that is confusing to navigate. Poor UX writing leads to a frustrating user experience.

What makes good UX writing?

Good UX writing has to be clear and concise. Space is often limited, so brevity reigns supreme. At the same time, UX writing has to serve a purpose: to move the user on to the next stage, level, task, action etc. So UX writing has to be functional and useful. But this doesn’t mean dry and academic. It should be a delight to read, even, in some cases, fun. Getting the balance between all these aspects can be challenging. But hey, that’s why specialist UX writers exist!

How to write good UX copy

If you are considering writing UX copy, a good place to start is in the shoes of the user. You need to think like them, know how they will use the app, navigate the website, buy a product, or connect with the help desk when there’s an issue.

I see it like someone stopping me to ask the way to their destination. I want to give them clear, concise and useful instructions that they can easily follow. And if they can enjoy their journey – or say “Wow, that was easy!” – so much the better.

Also important is the ability of the UX Writer to understand how websites, apps and software are designed and implemented. This will help you to appreciate all the possible scenarios a user may embark on and what specific difficulties may be encountered. Sometimes it’s useful to chat with the designer or developer, and even create copy in parallel with them. This is why I believe a good technical copywriter can make a good UX writer.

Make sure you are consistent in style, vocabulary and grammar throughout. Use the same words on buttons as in body text and captions. Bear in mind that your copy will probably be translated.

My final tip is to edit ruthlessly. Cut out those extra words. Reformulate that sentence. Read your copy out loud. Try a different approach. Perform A/B testing. You’re aiming for perfection – and that takes time and practice to achieve.

“Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away”

Antoine de Saint-Exupery

UX writing isn’t easy. It’s much easier to write 100 words to explain something than to find just 10 words. But I find UX writing enjoyable and satisfying because it gives me the opportunity to really drill down to the basics and continually cut out unnecessary fluff.

Looking for a UX Writer?

I have experience in UX writing and will happily discuss your project with you. Just drop me a line.

5 Reasons why a Conference Report is Essential

The conference you organized is over. The keynote speakers have shared their key notes. The presenters have presented. The breakout groups have broken up. The Q’s have been A’d in the Q&A. The Gala Dinner has been fully digested.

Writing a Conference Report by Denzil Walton

Everyone seems to be patting you on the back and telling you it was a highly successful conference. Even the VP Marketing comes over and shakes you by the hand.

“You did a great job,” she says with a broad smile. You feel yourself glowing, until she adds:

“When will the Conference Report be ready? Send it over as soon as it is. I’m looking forward to an overview of the main findings, a summary of all the breakout groups, all the Q&A’s in full, and I hope you captured all those comments during the roundtable session; they were invaluable.”

At this point, you could reply: “It should be ready next week. I hired a professional conference reporter and he promised me the first draft within three days.”

Or you might mumble something, change the subject and then turn away and silently swear. Yes, the conference report! Did you forget to plan it? If so, then weeks of frenetic activity are in front of you as you struggle to find colleagues who might have made notes, decipher them, or spend ages going through the audio and video recordings of the event – if they were made!

I sincerely hope, for your sake, that you chose the former option.

But apart from impressing your VP Marketing, what are the main reasons why a Conference Report is essential? Here are five:

1. It reminds delegates of the event

With so much information being communicated in the course of the event, no-one can possibly remember every key point from every speaker. The Conference Report will refresh the memories of delegates. Also, if your conference had parallel sessions, then half of the delegates are probably unaware of what took place in the sessions they were unable to attend. A Conference Report will therefore bring them up-to-date with the sessions they missed. This also refers to sessions they couldn’t attend because they had an urgent telephone call to make, or needed a short after-lunch powernap.

2. A Conference Report can improve corporate morale

Are the employees who were “left behind” feeling “left out” because they couldn’t attend? Are they wondering what they might have missed? Sending them the Conference Report will keep them fully up-to-date? It will clearly signal that they are valued just as highly as those who were able to attend the event.

3. It’s a reminder of actions to be taken

During Q&A sessions at the end of presentations, it’s easy for speakers and presenters to make commitments that they then forget to honor. Or during an open discussion forum, decisions may be made but may not be noted down. A Conference Report gives everyone a clear, gentle and impersonal reminder of actions they need to take.

Conference Reports by Denzil Walton, technical copywriter

4. It’s a valuable promotional tool

The material in a Conference Report could be used to send to other stakeholders such as partner companies or policymakers to bring them up-to-date with your company’s activities. It could be used for multiple post-event blog posts, or a press release. You could use it to encourage participation at future events by providing a more informative snapshot than “View these photos of last year’s event.”

5. It provides closure

A Conference Report ties up the loose ends. It provides a written, reviewed and approved record of the event, the discussions, the decisions, the agreements and the action points.

Convinced of the importance of a Conference Report?

In a following blog post I will explain the benefits of using a professional conference reporter to make a Conference Report.

In the meantime, if you are needing a Conference Report for an upcoming event, feel free to contact me. I have written numerous Conference Reports for all kinds of events, workshops, symposia, congresses etc. and would be delighted to help you in this area.

The importance of writing a Conference Report
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