What is UX Writing and why we need it in branding

Catharina Kelle
Catharina Kelle
October 25th, 2022

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Look at these sentences and words. Do you feel well met and taken seriously in your situation? Do you understand what the problem is? Do you know what to do next? Do you know exactly what will happen when you click the button? If you answered mostly no, I have good news: with good UX writing, such UI texts are passé. J

UX Writing is a relatively young field in the UX world. Especially on the German market, UX Writing is not yet established. As a UX Writer it is therefore an important part of the job to explain what we do, how we do it and why. In this blog article I want to pick you up, explain what UX Writing is and why we can’t afford to continue to treat all the little texts and words in our digital products stepmotherly.

What is UX Writing?

UX Writing deals with all the words and texts that users read or hear when they use a digital product: Button labels, help texts, error messages, notifications, and so on.

„It’s the discipline behind text in user interfaces and a distinct field that looks at language as a means to enhance user experiences and support user journeys through clear narratives, word choice, information hierarchy, and more.

The word choice, length, style, and construction of any text can impact how well a user understands the goal and benefits of features and tasks.“

– Google Material Communication Principles

We call these short words and sentences in a digital product Microcopy. Microcopy in a digital product or service has 3 core tasks:

  • Motivate users before an action and provide orientation
  • Accompany, guide and support users during an action
  • Provide feedback to users after an action

The goal of good microcopy is to help users achieve their goals with a competent experience while supporting business goals. As UX writers, it’s our job to write the right microcopy for our users on the outside and to enable consistent co-creation on the inside through smart documentation (for example, in content style guides or content design systems).

What tasks count as UX writing?

There is still no clear demarcation or term definition for the young discipline of UX Writing. Even the term UX Writing is not without competition: Job postings with the same requirements are also called Content Designer, Content Strategist, Product Writer or completely different.

The scope of tasks for UX writers can also vary from team to team and project to project. In the broadest sense, it is the disciplines of content strategy, branding, information architecture, research and concept design in which a UX writer feels comfortable and should have a say. Scoping, personas, scenario, user stories, storyboards, research, brand or product voice and tone – without all this information and context we can’t write a user-centric microcopy.

What are the ground rules for good UX writing?

There are certain ground rules for strong microcopy that can be prioritized differently depending on the brand, project or team.


Simple and quickly understandable texts promote the important, subjective feeling of “getting through quickly” among users. Ambiguity, complexity, poor expectation management, or lack of clarity, on the other hand, slow users down.


Above all, this means getting to the heart of the message as briefly as possible. The texts should provide just as much information as users need in their situation. No more.


UX writing is always goal-oriented. That’s why good microcopy describes an action (“select”), not a behavior (“click”). Users must be able to derive an action from the text that brings them closer to their goal.


The maxims of a conversation should be observed. This means above all empathy towards users and the context of use, natural and expectation-compliant turn-based interactions, cooperative support and fault tolerance.

Other criteria for good UX writing include consistency, accessibility, inclusivity, clarity, and brand conformity.

UX Writing and Voice & Tone

“Can you write a label for this button real quick?” All UX Writers know these requests. No context, no info, just write the button label and ask no questions.

But there’s more to UX writing than meets the eye. The microcopy of a product follows a certain product voice. It speaks to users in different tones, depending on the situation and the mood of the users.

Voice & Tone either correspond to that of the brand to which the product belongs, or are product-specific. And ideally, the UX writing is not just a mishmash of words and phrases that developers, designers, and other project participants have slapped into the interface in between so that there is no more Lorem Ipsum. PS: Please do not use Lorem Ipsum.

If there is no Voice & Tone Guide yet, UX Writers will be happy to create one. After all, a methodical review of the product’s core messages and added value, and translating these into voice and tone for all texts is part of our preliminary work anyway. These preliminary considerations are essential to ensure that every button label, error message, and notification effectively helps users and companies meet their goals.

What UX Writing can also do for brands

So by improving the user experience, UX writing strengthens the brand and makes more of the product and the interaction between people and computers. UX Writing ensures that users enjoy working with your product and keep coming back for more.

The better a brand understands its target group, and the more this understanding is reflected in the product’s microcopy, the stronger the product will bind users to itself.

“Well-written microcopy that appears exactly where it is needed prevents problems when performing an action. It saves the user valuable time and spares them frustration and feelings of helplessness. A few words that appear exactly when the user needs them prevents negative experiences, and your brand doesn’t take unnecessary damage.”

-Kinneret Yifrah, “UX Writing & Microcopy”

For those who still doubt whether mini-text snippets like a button label really make a difference, read UX Writer Jared Spool’s story: How Changing a Button Increased a Site’s Annual Revenues by $300 Million


Words create a user experience as much as the concept and visual design. Good microcopy can strengthen interactions, improve user satisfaction, and retain users; bad microcopy can confuse, frustrate, and drive away users.

In short: words are important. So important that they are worth being written by experts.


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