When you’re writing a UX copy, it’s obvious what you need to focus on.
It’s the USER.
Your users are your top concern, and it’s your task to keep them in mind while writing UX copy. This is the only way to make sure they’re satisfied with the content you provide. But, your target users can differ on so many levels. They differ in age, sex, ethnicity, social status, and more. So how can you write a UX copy that makes all of them happy?
We will share some tips that will help you to learn how to write an inclusive UX copy.
UX copy (microcopy) guides a user through a product experience, e.g. a website, app, platform interface, database or CMS.
An inclusive UX copy is based on diversity, empathy, and open mind – it’s supposed to make every user included. Writing a UX copy that’s supposed to meet the needs of different target groups is challenging, but doable. All you need is the right guidance and determination to succeed.
We’ve put together 8 best tips for writing an inclusive UX copy. Let’s take a look:
Adjust Your Language
Before you start writing your inclusive UX copy, you have to determine the type of language you’ll be using. That means you can’t write for a typical target group but write for all language levels.
There are simple but effective rules to make your copy inclusive in terms of language level. Here’s what we suggest:
- use simple language
Write your copy as if you were writing to a good friend of yours.
- use simple vocabulary
If you tend to use overly technical or scholarly words, chances are that a part of your target audience won’t be able to completely understand your copy. Find a simpler way to say the same thing and adjust your vocabulary.
- use simple sentence structures
There’s no need to have complex sentences that go on for miles as most users will find it hard to follow. Instead, use short and simple sentences – this will improve the dynamics of your copy and make it more inclusive.
This way, you’ll be making sure that everyone, regardless their age, sex, ethnicity, or education level, can fully understand your copy.
Set language rules before you start writing to make sure you have a clear idea and a plan.
As a UX writer, you have to be careful about the references you’re making. If you make a reference that includes only a certain group of people, you’re actually excluding everyone else.
So, a person reading your copy that doesn’t belong to this group might feel unwanted or confused.
This is why you should avoid doing the following:
- making cultural references
You’re limiting your UX copy to users who belong to a certain culture. Everyone else will feel like the copy isn’t for them.
- making social status references
It’s not your job to determine who gets to read your copy or not. This is why making references about the social status of your users would be highly inappropriate.
- using localisms, slang, idioms, or metaphors
Any of the above can be considered limiting and excluding. While people belonging to one group or target market would use the idiom you wrote, others might say it the other way.
When you’re writing your copy, you need to make sure you’re not excluding anyone. That’s why you constantly need to ask yourself:
- Will everyone understand this the same way?
If the answer is no, you need to modify it.
Set a Consistent Tone
An inclusive UX copy has to take the needs and feelings of all users into consideration. That means that the entire copy needs to provide a uniformed, clearly defined experience for all of them.
This is why you should set a consistent tone and make sure you stick to it from top to bottom. That includes:
- a specific voice
- a specific emotion
- a specific energy
The crucial three factors mentioned above is what defines how your users feel while reading the copy. And, if you tend to change it or mix it up all the time, you’ll be sending them different messages. This will lead them to trust you less and feeling unsure about what they’re reading.
Understand Your Users’ Needs
A strong and inclusive UX copy will be able to address all the pain points that your users are facing. And, if you don’t understand your users, you won’t be able to cover it all.
Therefore, you need to conduct a serious analysis that will help you collect important information about your users. That includes:
- their needs
- their wishes
- their expectations
- their pain points
The more you know, the better UX copy you’ll be able to write. This goes for UX design as well.
Go as wide and be as thorough as possible to make sure you’re getting to know all your users equally. Then, use the information you’ve gathered to make every user satisfied with your copy.
The question of gender is another very sensitive question when it comes to writing a UX copy. Not only do you have to make sure you’re not addressing just men or just women, but you have to think about transgender people as well.
This is why your copy should use the neutral “they” pronoun instead of the excluding “he” or “she.” This is the first step in making sure you’re not taking anyone out of the picture or insulting anyone.
You should also make sure that the forms your users have to fill out offer the user a chance to type the gender or pronoun they associate with themselves.
This way, you’re not making anyone choose an option they don’t like.
In case you need an extra pair of eyes to proofread your UX copy for gender-neutrality, check out these services that write custom term papers. You can also use tools such as Thesaurus or Collins English Thesaurus to find the right words.
Create Scan-Friendly Copy
Depending on their needs and goals, people will be reading your copy for different reasons. Someone will look for specific information, while another person will be reading it for fun.
But, very few people will read your copy word-to-word, top to bottom.
That means that most people will:
- skim your copy
- scan for the information they need
- focus on their personal goals
To make your copy inclusive, you should help them scan easier and find a way to structure your copy to fit everyone’s needs. Here’s what you should do:
- use headings and subheadings
- create bullet points and lists
- use bold to emphasize other important information
This way, all your users will be able to reach their goals quickly and find what they’re looking for without any trouble.
As a human being, you have your beliefs, ideas, and opinions. But, as a UX writer, you’re not allowed to publicly express any of this in your copy. Your job as a UX writer is to write a UX copy that will be informative, useful and practical.
You’re not supposed to:
- express your personal opinion
- state your feelings
- make subjective comments
You need to act like a true reporter, staying objective, and stating the facts.
Provide Easy-to-Follow Guidance
Finally, there’s a rather important issue that you can’t forget when writing your inclusive UX copy.
Your UX copy is supposed to guide people through a certain process, explain the steps, and help them perform the desired action.
But, if you’re not providing proper guidance, some users will struggle to fulfill their goals. This will make them give up on the process, and you’ll be using valuable people.
This is why an inclusive UX copy needs to take everything into consideration:
- the level of previous experience in performing the same action
- the level of trust users have towards apps, buying online products, or services
- how well certain users handle technology
All of the above fill shape how a user reads, follows, or understands your guiding points.
Let’s say you’re writing a UX copy for an e-commerce website or app. A senior user might be skeptical about leaving their personal data online, but a younger user will feel perfectly comfortable doing so.
And, you need to make sure you’re writing easy-to-follow guidance points:
- break it down into simple steps
- provide visuals to help the users understand better
- provide additional explanations in footnotes for those in need
An inclusive UX copy will make it possible for every user, regardless of their age, experience, or technical knowledge, to easily follow the guiding points and get to their goal.
That’s the ultimate goal you need to strive for.
When you’re writing a UX copy for users with different backgrounds, stories, goals, and characteristics, it could be a challenge to make it truly inclusive.
Your job is to avoid all the traps and potential mistakes you could make and stay focused on writing a UX copy for everyone.
Use the tips we’ve shared above to improve your UX writing and make sure each copy that you create is genuinely inclusive.