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Writing effective app copy
Sarah Day
@scribblingfox
Ready? GO!
What’s app copy?
Application copy is any text element in your product that your users read
Tooltips, placeholder text, CTA...
What’s app copy?
Application copy is any text element in your product that your users read
Tooltips, placeholder text, CTA...
Application copy is documentation
for people who don’t read documentation.
How do I start writing application copy?
WHAT does this do?
● Feature names, field names
HOW do I use it?
● Placeholder te...
What?
Worst Practices
Assuming your userbase is as technical as your engineers
● “Submit a pull request” vs. “Get”
Wordiness
● “...
Best practices
Write to the What/How/Why of each field
...and don’t be afraid to re-work visual elements to convey meaning...
Writing effective app copy
Writing effective app copy
Writing effective app copy
Writing effective app copy
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Writing effective app copy

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In which I describe how and why to write app copy well in five minutes without taking a breath.

Published in: Technology
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Writing effective app copy

  1. 1. Writing effective app copy Sarah Day @scribblingfox Ready? GO!
  2. 2. What’s app copy? Application copy is any text element in your product that your users read Tooltips, placeholder text, CTAs/buttons, error messages & confirmations, headers, feature names, subtitles, descriptions, and more
  3. 3. What’s app copy? Application copy is any text element in your product that your users read Tooltips, placeholder text, CTAs/buttons, error messages & confirmations, headers, feature names, subtitles, descriptions, and more Application copy is not: ● Information generated by the system (dates and times, variable counts) ● Visual/design elements (star ratings, progress bars)
  4. 4. Application copy is documentation for people who don’t read documentation.
  5. 5. How do I start writing application copy? WHAT does this do? ● Feature names, field names HOW do I use it? ● Placeholder text, CTAs, walkthroughs WHY should I care? ● Business cases, value props, contextual explanations. In enterprise products, some features names are “Why” copy elements.
  6. 6. What?
  7. 7. Worst Practices Assuming your userbase is as technical as your engineers ● “Submit a pull request” vs. “Get” Wordiness ● “This feature is intended to let you do a million things which I will now list in alphabetical order…” vs. “From here, you can add and edit your settings” Workflow disruption ● “To learn more about enabling this feature, read our KB article…” vs. “You just enabled this feature! Click here to learn more.” Localized/regional language
  8. 8. Best practices Write to the What/How/Why of each field ...and don’t be afraid to re-work visual elements to convey meaning more effectively Internationalize, or have a plan to do so later Put variables at the end of strings whenever possible. Avoid jargon and slang. Use CTAs as confirmations “Cancel / Continue” vs. “Erase draft / Save draft” Write with mobile in mind Is it eight words long? Can you make it three? Can you make it one?

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