Being user-centric with copy

How being user-centric can help you be a better UX writer.


Jas D

3 years ago | 3 min read

Dana Chisnell said that if you want your users to fall in love with your design. You have to fall in love with your users.

What a powerful statement. It seems straightforward enough to follow. But things aren’t always as black and white, as not all organisations understand the value of user feedback and designing for the user, yet.

The business needs vs The user needs

Ah yes. The age-old conversation, or should I say battle, that’s waged in every organisation — both vital to the delivery of a great product or service. But one always seems to trump the other? Right?

You have the passion of the UX writers, product designers, UX’er advocating the value of delivering a service based on user feedback. And then you’ll have the business nudging you to provide something that will help keep the business ticking, such as some cool snazzy feature that might not be what the user wants, at this time.

It’s a pickle of an equation. Both are trying to balance each other out. It seems crazy that you have to choose between the two.

Find the sweet spot

But what if there was a sweet spot. Where the business needs and the user needs co-exist and complement each other.

Well, say hello, user-centric design. A mindset that helps you get unstuck from the business vs user needs battle.

The value of being user-centric

The value of user-centric design comes when the business and user needs, meet. This approach allows you to create copy and user flows that will deliver the most value to your end-user.

How to be user-centric with copy

Being user-centric means being journey led. It’s vital that a good UX writer understands the whole user journey, and not be caught in the moment.

Being user-centric means having a clear understanding of who your real users are so that you can craft content that’s meaningful for them.

Being user-centric is about what you know about the user. And how you document and circulate that so that others start creating user-centric journeys.

And you get there by:

  1. Identifying who your users are
  2. Understanding how your users think
  3. Realising what their needs are
  4. Becoming aware of how they behave
“A service is something that helps someone do something.” - Lou Downe

Map the journey

For a UX writer to become better at delivering copy for a journey, It’s good practice that they fully understand the end-to-end user journey. It helps create boundaries and keep your content focused and grounded.

As a UX writer, it’s easy to get carried away. So understanding the user journey helps provide context, as you can write for their needs. But it also helps you to spot the gaps and identify where the holes are — helping you to improve the overall user experience.

“I wisely start with a map and make the story fit.” - J.R.R Tolkien

Tell a story

Selling your product in the form of a story helps create a connection with the user. It helps them understand your product as it becomes more relatable, and the user can see how your product might benefit them.

Make your user the hero and help them achieve their goal. Allow your UX writing to become the mentor that guides the user through their journey, and lift them once they’ve become victorious.

You should be aiming to help the user to achieve their goal and overcome any obstacles. Give your story a clear beginning, middle and end.

“Stories are our most critical marketing tool.” - Donna Lichaw

Be consistent

When crafting your copy for your user, think about:

  • Content models
    How is your content going to be consumed? Will it be a large block of text? A video. Or will it be digestible content?
  • Taxonomy
    How easy is it for your user to navigate and find relevant content? Are your labels easy to read and understand?
  • Writing
    What type of language are you going to use? Will it be jargon-free and relatable? Easy to read?
  • Voice
    How will the end-user receive your content? Your voice is a representation of your brand.
  • Tone
    How will your copy make the user feel? Will you be authentic, happy or sad?
  • Design
    How’s your content going to look in a live environment? Does your content flow with the designs and work together? Or will it stick out like a sore thumb?

Bring it all together

Now that you understand the user’s journey and what you need to tell them through storytelling, you can shape a more consistent path enabling you to strike a balance between the business and user needs.

Being user-centric allows you to deliver something relevant for the user, but also delivering against the business needs.

But before you jump start to tackle it all, remember to break things down.

“You don’t want to break big things into big plans. You want to break big things into small things with small plans.” - Jeff Patton


Created by

Jas D







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