FUNCTIONAL – UX copy is at the service of the task
- You understand the user task your copy will support, including its visual and functional design.
- Copy helps the user to understand the journey.
- Copy anticipates problems and barriers in the user experience and addresses them – 'Forgotten your password?'
- Copy works hand in hand with design to make the function clear to the user.
AUDIENCE-LED – UX copy is appropriate to its audience
- You understand who will use the copy and their immediate tasks and goals.
- You are aware of any relevant user research and testing.
- Copy models user outcomes and goals – 'Find a branch', not 'Launch branch finder'
- Copy uses analogy to describe unfamiliar things or processes in a familiar way – 'Save this person to your address book'.
- Copy is written for the least knowledgeable reader in your audience.
SCANNABLE – UX copy is easy to scan read
- Copy is brief and plain.
- Copy is front-loaded – the user benefit comes first.
- Buttons, field labels and link text are self-contained and meaningful.
CONTEXT-AWARE – UX copy works in its technical and local context
- You are aware of the specific requirements of the platform – desktop, tablet, smartphone, touch-enabled laptop, various operating systems, email clients – and adapt your copy where necessary.
- Where possible, copy is made for reuse across platforms.
- Copy is easy to translate and localise: it avoids idioms and culturally specific references.
SIMPLE – UX copy is functional before it is promotional
- Copy is specific, helpful and clear, not flowery.
- Copy avoids over-selling and hyperbole.
- Tone of voice does not compromise clarity.
- Jargon is replaced with plain language.
- You have taken special care to make error messages clear and jargon-free.
- If an unfamiliar term is necessary for precision or brevity, provide an explanation (for example, in a tooltip or with a link to a glossary).
Download your print-friendly best practice