How UX writing can impact user’s emotions ?

By Kelly Boreh

It's no secret that the words we use can have a profound impact on people's emotions. Just think about how a simple change in tone can make all the difference in a conversation. The same is true for UX writing. By taking into account the user's feelings, UX writers can create an interface that is not only easy to use but also enjoyable to interact with. In this post, we'll take a look at how UX writing can influence users' emotions and some tips for doing it effectively.

UX Writing is all about user experience

When it comes to user experience, the words we use are just as important as the design of our interface. In fact, they can often be the difference between a positive and negative experience.

  • UX Writers’ Goals

Some people often associate UX Writing with Copywriting or information prioritization. However, UX Writing lives up to its name: it is about guiding the user through an interface and maximizing their experience through words. UX Writing can intervene at all stages of the journey, often with a few words or short sentences, which is also why it is called microcopy.As UX writers, our job is to design words of the product by being as goal-centered as possible. To guide users and enable them to accomplish their goals and motivate them to act.There are a few key goals that we should keep in mind when writing for user experience. First, we want to make sure that our words are clear and easy to understand. We also need to be mindful of the tone of our writing. We want to create an interface that is friendly and welcoming, while still being professional.And lastly, we need to be sensitive to the user's feelings. We want to make sure that our words are positive and encouraging.

User Research is as important for UX Writer as it is for UX designers

  • Understand users’ feelings

To understand users' emotions and to better accompany them in the realization of action, a UX writer needs to know his users as well as the designers.

That's why the UX writer must be part of the user research process.

This will bring a different prism to the research, mainly focused on the words used during interviews or user testing. By establishing his research criteria, the UX writer can extract insights that are extremely useful for the microcopy even if they are less useful for designers or product teams. He can better understand how his users speak, what they feel, and when and if the emotion is rather positive, negative, and why.

  • Map users’ emotions in their journey

Having done this, I think it is the perfect time to map all these elements and results in a UX Map to visualize the overall user journey, what is happening to their emotions, and determine the ownable moment that users are experiencing.

The ownable moment is a change or escalation in a user’s positive or negative emotion. By making such a map, you can highlight points at which the user experiences a change in emotion or strong emotion and adapt your microcopy to solve or improve these different phases of the experience.

By being part of the user research process, UX Writing can impact user emotions by adapting the words to the different feelings, difficulties, doubts, or happy moments that users have with your product.

Karen Priyanka wrote a great article on using emotion map for UX Writing that I added down below 👇

Disclaimer each individual feels and experiences things differently. If your research highlights emotions that are largely dominant at certain stages of the journey, keep in mind some users might not live that emotion.

  • Improve users experience by being proactive

Finally, knowing user pain points is a real asset for the UX Writer: it allows us to be proactive and influence emotions even before a problem appears. Of course, UX Writing also aims at answering problems by accompanying users, but anticipating these difficulties can help avoid negative emotions and impact the overall experience on the journey.

This was especially true in one of my projects, working on the package tracking experience for a major mail delivery company. By providing more information about the status of the delivery than just "on its way", the user stress issue caused by the endowment effect (a cognitive bias showing the tendency of individuals to attribute more value to an asset when it is already owned, compared to when it is not) can be solved before it happens.

I will do another article or a LinkedIn post on this subject, so stay tuned 👀

Words are the most important elements in an interface.

  • Words change the experience

Copywriting has been around for years and is recognized as the art of selling and convincing through words. Today, it is hard to create an impactful landing page that reaches its visitors and converts without having defined good words that will touch and convince the audience. So how can we still offer an experience that lives up to the promise of copywriting if the impact of words is underestimated for the rest of the experience?

This image perfectly illustrates the importance of words in an interface. Without words, the interface is incomprehensible and unusable. Without design, the interface is not very intuitive, but it remains understandable. It is in the combination of design and words that the interface can be ergonomic, intuitive, clear, and usable

  • Most people talk about empathy

Empathy is an increasingly recurrent topic in UX. If empathy towards users is one of the keys to good interfaces that easily meet their needs, it also becomes an essential notion for microcopy.Again, the UX map is a very good exercise in understanding the emotions that can be felt at each step of the journey. You will then be able to define what tone to adopt at each step of the journey, but also what information to give and the best way to express it.

  • But it is also a question of inclusivity

Because of the societal debates of the last few years, the battles waged and the awareness raised, it seems all the more important to talk about the issue of inclusive design. We are not all equal in front of interfaces and yet, we tend to design products without always taking into account the different disabilities or inequalities, sometimes committing discriminations without even realizing it. Simply because we have probably not experienced these inequalities, these discriminations.

And yet, this is what empathy and accessibility in design are all about: succeeding in putting ourselves in the shoes of our users, making sure that each of them feels included in our interfaces, and experiences positive emotions. And for that too, words are very important.

For example, this means

  • Being accessible to all language levels by using simple language and avoiding jargon.
  • Avoid gender discrimination by offering an alternative for transgender or non-binary people during the registration process.
  • Fill in all alt-text of images for screen readers of the blind or visually impaired.

Emerson Schroeter wrote an excellent article about inclusivity and UX Writing.

  • Talk like a human: practice a conversational writing

After understanding our users and including them as much as possible in our interfaces, we must use human-like language to create the most positive emotions possible.

Practicing conversational writing allows us to put human feelings at the heart and create a more realistic conversation between users and the product. For my part, I usually say out loud my writing to get how the words sound when said by a human. If it doesn't sound natural enough, too formal, or too robotic, it's a sign that my copy isn't conversational and natural enough for my users.

Here are some tips to talk like a human (if you’re something else... Just kidding) :

  • Ask questions
  • Use active voice
  • Use “I” or “You” and just talk to ONE person
  • Show emotions
  • Use contractions
  • Again, use simple words

Headspace talks directly to its users, ask questions and use positive and simple words.

Air BnB’s new features are incredibly well written. It talks for the user, uses contractions and simple words.

Remember, humor and emotion should never crowd out clarity and simplicity in microcopy. But putting people at the heart of your messages can build trust with people.

Also, remember that not all users feel the dominant emotion, each individual is different. So take time to meet your users, check how their emotions evolve during their journey, and just use your writing to enhance their experience

See you soon ✌️

Source :

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