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Human-Centered Copywriting: How Your Words Can Make or Break Your User Experience


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The words you include in a website, app, email, or ad are your brand’s opportunity to speak directly to your users and build a relationship. The problem is that most copy is written to serve the company, not the customer.

• How bad copy can destroy your UX
• How good copy can help you win more business and increase customer loyalty
• Some surprising human quirks, and how we can use them to our advantage when we write

Published in: Technology
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Human-Centered Copywriting: How Your Words Can Make or Break Your User Experience

  1. 1. @hannahkalvarez
  2. 2. Humans are weird.
  3. 3. [use your imagination here]
  4. 4. Part 1: Copywriting + UX Part 3: What NOT to do Part 2: Writing human-centered copy ...and some take-home tips, resources, and Q&A
  5. 5. Part 1: Copywriting + UX
  6. 6. copy copy copy copy copy copy copy copy
  7. 7. Copy can make or break the usability of a product. #UTwebinar
  8. 8. Icon usability study
  9. 9. 47% Icon usability Add to Favorites
  10. 10. 159% Icon usability Groups
  11. 11. Copy shapes the user’s perception of your brand. #UTwebinar
  12. 12. Going somewhere Special? Dressed Up & Ready to Glow Shop Soiree Stunners » Night Fever Late nights that turn into early mornings are kind of our thing, so dress like a midnight rambler and get your ass on stage. View the Lookbook »
  13. 13. polite genuine smart confident serious remembered my name!
  14. 14. (no pressure.)
  15. 15. Part 2: Writing human-centered copy
  16. 16. 5 weird things about humans (and how knowing about them will help you write better copy)
  17. 17. Weird human thing #1: We’re basically terrified of everything. Is my credit card info secure? Am I doing this wrong? Will I be able to get back to this screen? What if none of these options apply to me? Will I have to talk to a sales person?
  18. 18. “Wait, what about…?”
  19. 19. Weird human thing #2: We read almost nothing, and then we forget almost all of it.
  20. 20. What we see What we read What we remember Average
  21. 21. What we see What we read What we remember Less copy
  22. 22. Only one thing to do at a time.
  23. 23. Weird human thing #3: We need to both fit in and stand out.
  24. 24. Yes, you ARE awesome!
  25. 25. NOPE
  26. 26. Why there’s nothing quite like iPhone
  27. 27. Fill in the blank: My users are the kind of people who really _____.
  28. 28. Weird human thing #4: Our environment affects our ability.
  29. 29. your user →
  30. 30. Plain language is your friend.
  31. 31. simplifying ≠ dumbing down
  32. 32. “This is too easy to understand. I hate it.” - No one ever #UTwebinar
  33. 33. Center for Plain Language Hemingway App
  34. 34. Weird human thing #5: We don’t want to like you.
  35. 35. You’re gonna have to win friends and influence people.
  36. 36. EMPATHY
  37. 37. Part 3: What NOT to do
  38. 38. Bad copy serves the company’s needs while ignoring the users’.
  39. 39. Jargon
  40. 40. Not every user is your ideal user!
  41. 41. Avoiding jargon: Plain language (if possible) Optional definitions and instructions
  42. 42. Fluff
  43. 43. “ ”
  44. 44. Avoiding fluff: Make a list of words to never say Every word should serve a purpose Use verbs and the word “because”
  45. 45. Obfuscation (making obscure or unclear)
  46. 46. The Committee concluded, having regard to the totality of the factors considered above that choice could not be given significant weight and that there was not currently a gap on the spectrum of adequacy sufficient to conclude that the provision of pharmaceutical services is not currently secured to the standard of adequacy. Accordingly the Committed concluded: The application was neither necessary nor expedient to secure the adequate provision of services in the neighbourhood, and therefore dismissed the appeal in this respect. “ ”
  47. 47. Avoiding obfuscation: Own the issue Helpful recommendations
  48. 48. Cleverness
  49. 49. Managing cleverness: Don’t force it Don’t get clever with instructions Does it support the brand experience?
  50. 50. Let’s write some awesome, human- centered copy.
  51. 51. 1. Listen to how your users speak.
  52. 52. 2. Question everything you write. Does this provide value? Does this make sense? Does this make me sound like a jerk? Does this build the relationship we want with our users?
  53. 53. 3. Test everything you can.
  54. 54. 4. Create a voice and tone guide.
  55. 55. 5. Get your team on board.
  56. 56. What kind of relationship are you building?
  57. 57. Human-centered copywriting is not about warm fuzzies.
  58. 58. Do it to make money. Do it to increase your conversions. Do it to improve customer retention. (If you’re into that kind of thing.)
  59. 59. Questions?