The Most Common UX Writing Mistakes

“I deleted this app last week. It’s too hard to use, and some of the features just don’t make sense. Don’t waste your time, there are better apps out there.”

Chances are you’ve come across similar reviews on popular app stores. Reading this sometimes makes people wonder:

“Why would the business go through all the trouble of developing a terrible app?”

That’s a good question. But often, the reason for a bad review isn’t a lack of benefits for the user. It’s a poor user experience caused by the text inside the app. For example, it might have terms the user doesn’t understand or just written in complex language.

Poor UX writing – that’s the “official” term we’re going to use – means lower revenues, wasted investments, and negative user reviews for apps, websites, and other digital products.

In this article, you’re going to learn three common UX writing mistakes. Avoid them at all costs to ensure that your next investment in an app or a website pays off nicely.   

ux writing mistakes

1. Complex Language

This is an extremely common UX writing mistake.

For some reason, those in charge of writing the UX copy assume that the users know all terms they’re using. So, they use professional jargon and other complex terms that an average user might have a hard time figuring out.

As a result, the user experience suffers.

If your app, website, or other digital product needs to have complex terms, you need to do some UX research. Basically, it means conducting a survey or field research with target users involved. If at least 20 percent of them say the copy is difficult, consider making it simple.

Another mistake relates to language style. Some digital products have a complex copy that introduces unnecessary difficulties with understanding it.

Here’s an example.

Complex copy Simple copy
“The email address you entered could not be validated by our app. Please fix the format to continue.” “Please use this format for email: me@mail.com”

 

The “simple copy” version is easier to read, right? It conveys the message without introducing the details the user doesn’t really need to know. Plus, it doesn’t sound like a robot.

Writing a simple copy takes some time. Don’t be surprised that your first copy isn’t really perfect – it never is – so write the first version and edit it ruthlessly.

Get Inspired: 5 Mobile Apps with Outstanding Usability

2. Spelling Mistakes

It’s easy to think that people do their job when it comes to finding silly spelling mistakes. Why would anyone spend money on quality mobile app design but ignore such a simple thing, right?

Well, many people do ignore that. In fact, it happens much more than you think.

Just the other day, I was browsing the website of an accounting firm and found this feedback form. There’s not one, but four misspellings! 

ux mistakes

Obviously, many people will be a bit hesitant to contact this company. If it takes them so long to spot and fix such a simple issue, how professional they are, really?

Well, a misspelled word doesn’t necessarily suggest low-quality accounting services. Still, for many people, this mistake will ruin the first impression. In turn, this can lead to fewer people contacting you. So making it right is really in your best interest.

To avoid making this mistake, do your absolute best to proofread everything. Don’t have time or that a professional should do it? No problem – services like  Classyessay and Supreme Dissertations are out there, helping app developers and companies get it right.

3. No Emotional Appeal

Unfortunately, many digital products today still sound like instructions to using a ship control panel (just remember the “complex copy” example we used above).

The copy displayed to the users is lacking in engagement and simply boring. In many cases, it’s abstract, so the people have no idea what happened. This error message is a great example.

It has no emotional appeal whatsoever or doesn’t help to understand what happened. That’s bad. The only good thing about it is that the device will restart by itself (hopefully). 

ux issues

Don’t miss an opportunity to engage with emotional language and even entertain your users (yes, this works in error messages, too). The text in your digital product can appeal to their emotions and make the overall user experience much more pleasant.

Like this message about a new discount code. It’s simple and super positive. 

ux writing

More and more UX writers are starting to use this approach.

Diana Adjadj, a UX writer at TrustMyPaper, says: “By using positive language that appeals to emotions, you can even mitigate the effects of negative experiences with your product.

A lack of an internet connection is a good example to show that. Instead of displaying a generic error message (or the Windows’s blue-screen-error-style one), you can go for something like this. 

ux

This version is good because it:

  •       Doesn’t blame the user (only the internet, which is fine with the user)
  •       Suggests an action (turning the connection off and on)
  •       Has a natural and clear language
  •       Is short and lacks any technical terms
  •       Avoids negativity.

By writing UX copy this way – especially in areas where some negativity is involved, e.g., error messages – you can keep the overall experience good. Never think about the text as a technical component because it’s your way of communicating with people.

If you have a web design agency taking care of the project, get their proposals for the copy but treat them as starting points. Always try to apply some emotional appeal where possible. 

The Bottom Line

Never sacrifice the user experience by ignoring the importance of clear and simple UX copy. It’s something that has a profound effect on your digital product’s performance, so getting it right is a must.

Keep these tips in mind to make using your products and services an enjoyable experience. Avoiding them is an excellent way to avoid negative user reviews, wasted time and effort, and lost investments.    

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