What Is UX Writing? A Guide for Aspiring User Experience Writers

Discover our guide to find out “What is UX writing?” and read our top tips on becoming a better UX writer.

UX is a shorthand for user experience. UX writing is copy created to improve the user experience for people using digital products. A few examples of UX writing include the messages you see when you open an app, error messages on software, or alerts within a video game. UX writing requires a small word count, so UX copy is often called ‘microcopy.’

Another focus of UX writing is to guide users to complete tasks preset by the design team for a product. You could work on various products as a UX writer, from writing for mobile apps to writing for vehicle interfaces. This type of writing is everywhere and a big part of our daily experience interacting with the digital world.

UX writing aims to bring users on an easily-navigatable journey, allowing them to interact with a digital product. UX writers have the job of conveying the organization’s voice while ensuring their writing enhances the overall functionality of the products they are working on. Check out our guide on how to become a copywriter to get started!

Purpose Of UX Writing

When you’re using a digital product, there will always be messages on its interface, and somebody needs to write them. You may not have thought about the fact, but it is true. This is also true for voice assistant messages. Although Amazon Alexa might sometimes seem lifelike, the script is created by a team of UX writers.

Creating content like this is the job of a UX writer. The good ones improve the overall experience of those using these products. They are an integral part of the UX design team and ensure that these products have usability and are easily navigated. Put simply – a UX writer allows users to acquire the necessary information to utilize the available functions.

Designing a content strategy and user interfaces comes down to a UX design team, which the UX writer is usually a central part of. They are an essential part of the team who designs a content strategy in digital product design. For example, without a piece of microcopy that says ‘click here,’ how would a user know the correct place to click?

Differences Between UX Writing and Copywriting

What is UX writing? Discover the differences between UX writing and copywriting
Examples of the products a UX writer will work on include software, apps, chatbots (along the lines of Amazon’s Alexa or Google Nest), and video games

You might write blogs, marketing emails, or product descriptions for a company’s website as a copywriter. However, suppose you are working as a UX writer. In that case, you are a part of the design process, writing the elements within the digital product.

As a copywriter, the goal of your writing is typically to educate, drive sales, or entertain your audience while maintaining the brand’s voice. Meanwhile, as a UX writer, your job is to create copy for a product that improves the overall experience for the end user of that product.

UX writing typically involves concise messages, sometimes called ‘microcopy’ by those within the industry. Examples of the products a UX writer will work on include software, apps, chatbots (along the lines of Amazon’s Alexa or Google Nest), and video games.

They are less likely to have to write marketing copy and social media posts, which are the fundamentals of modern copywriting. Of course, within smaller organizations, there are times when one person will take on both roles.

Differences Between a Technical Writer and a UX Writer

It can be easy to mistake the jobs of a technical writer and a UX writer. They are both required to take complex information and create easy-to-understand content. However, a technical writer mostly focuses on long-form content, such as user manuals, documentation, and installation guides.

A UX writer creates copy to help the user journey for a product or website, such as labeling navigational tools or error messages. If these pieces of copy were thousands of words long, that would create a poor user experience, so they are usually short and to the point.

A UX writer will also have more input in the overall content design of a product. In contrast, a technical writer will create the associated long-form copy but generally isn’t part of the design team.

UX Writing Salary and Career Progression

UX writing can be an excellent career if you are technically minded but still want to work as a writer. According to Talent.com, the average UX writer’s salary in the USA is $121,875 annually or $58.59 per hour. Entry-level positions start at $89,807 annually, while most experienced workers make up to $156,848 annually. Their research details that UX writers in Maryland make more than UX writers anywhere else in the United States, whereas those within the position in Iowa earn the least.

It isn’t a niche position either, with around 3,000 UX writing positions being advertised in the USA at any one time. According to UX Writing Hub, it is the most common position for writers working within tech. They detail that almost 45 percent of writers working within tech are UX writers.

UX Writing Hub also showed that globally, the USA, Australia, and Switzerland are the top earners of UX writers. However, more and more regions are realizing the importance of user experience, with an increasing number of industries investing in fully-trained competent UX writers.

How To Get a Job as a UX Writer

Internships are common within the world of UX writing, with many of the bigger tech companies offering graduate programs. However, the most common way to gain a position as a UX writer is to take a UX writing course, which will educate you on what’s required within the position and give you some of the skills you need to succeed.

When choosing a UX writing course, you should choose one incorporating project-based learning. This is so you gain practical on-job know-how that will be clearly demonstratable in job interviews. From there, you can pick up freelance work, or an internship, to build your portfolio of work and help with your hunt for a full-time UX writer position.

There is an abundance of job boards that will be of assistance to you when you reach this stage. The Interaction Design Association’s jobs board is a good place to start, with UX writing jobs regularly updated on the site. Another option is The UX Job Board, an online UX career site that advertises positions and gives job hunters advice.

5 Qualities of a Good UX Writer

Qualities of a a good UX writer
To become a quality UX writer, there are other specific skills that you should have too

Over the last few years, the number of UX writing jobs has increased, with more and more people making their living by creating easy-to-understand UX copy. However, that is not to say that it is a job that would suit everyone. It’s technical and requires a digital literacy that not all writers possess. To become a quality UX writer, there are other specific skills that you should have too.

1. Excellent Writing Skills

Your UX copy should be clear, concise, and error-free in this profession. Good UX writing brings the product used on an easily navigatable journey, helping them carry out the action and get the result they seek with as little fuss as possible.

Mark Twain once said, “I didn’t have time to write you a short letter, so I wrote you a long one.” And the point he made in this instance is that there are times when it’s harder to be concise and get to the point when your allowed word count is low. Of course, he wasn’t talking about UX writing specifically, but it still applies.

2. Ability To Visualise The User Journey

When creating copy for a product, you have to be able to put yourself in the place of the end-user and how they will interact with that product. In other words, you have to think of their experience and how that can be improved with copy and navigational design.

Being empathetic to the user’s journey is vital if you are going to be a good UX writer. That is because you will have to consider their potential uses for the product and what issues they will have while using it.

With that, you have to create instructions and copy for every possible circumstance associated with the user. If you progress in your career, you may get promoted to the position of content strategist. There, you will have a say in the voice of a product and help develop the associated style guide.

3. Active Team Player

A UX writer’s job requires them to collaborate with a number of other people on the product design team, including UX designers, software engineers, and product managers. So, if you are considering pursuing this career, you should ask yourself whether you are a team player or not.

Put simply, this is not one of those writer positions where you work in solidarity in a cabin in the woods, creating your masterpiece on your lonesome. As a UX Writer, you will constantly work alongside other professionals with a shared goal. You will be on the design team and expected to be a team player when creating products.

4. Keen Eye For Design

Keen eye for design
The nature of UX is that you are dealing with an interactive design, so it’s also worth your while to understand whatever product design process your company uses and the software they use

An eye for design can make life as a UX writer much easier. That is because it can help you picture the user’s journey and how an end product will be when it reaches its final form (or at least its prototype). Anticipating problems will allow you to understand the copy that’s needed and create it with better efficiency.

The nature of UX is that you are dealing with an interactive design, so it’s also worth your while to understand whatever product design process your company uses and the software they use. Of course, you can be someone other than an expert in this area. Still, having a good knowledge of UI design programs like Figma is worth it. With that, you will be better placed to make decisions as part of the design team.

5. Unbeatable Attention to Detail

Unfortunately, writers can be impatient (the author of this article included!). However, consider working as a UX writer. In that case, it’s worth practicing your zen, as patience is a virtue in this field.

Developing a new product involves prototyping, user testing, and sharing it with selected stakeholders. This can result in a huge number of changes being brought forward for your UX content.

You will have to take the opinions on board and ask yourself whether returning to the drawing board (or, in this case, the editing room) would improve the overall user experience. Therefore, this is not your role if you are not patient and don’t appreciate constructive feedback. Looking for more? Check out our round-up of the best copywriting books!

FAQs About What Is UX Writing

What is good UX writing?

Good UX writing incorporates all the skills above to fit into the design of a tech product, allowing a user to easily navigate that product. It is effective in allowing a user to make informed decisions and guides them through the product with confidence. It should also incorporate the organization’s voice and the product’s tone to emphasize the brand being used.

What is the difference between UX writing and journalism?

UX writing is a job where you are helping a user navigate a digital product by writing the microscopy within it. Whereas journalism is the reporting and distributing of news via a media platform.

What is UX writing in relation to UX design?

UX writing and UX design are closely aligned. A UX writer would often sit on the UX design team. The UX writer is tasked with creating the copy for a digital product. UX design refers to the overall process of designing digital products to provide meaningful and relevant experiences to users.