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Resources to help you get started with UX writing

UX diagrams and Apple devices

If you’re a technical writer, you know that documentation has come a long way from the thick manuals and online help systems of yore. Software developers are putting more and more user assistance right inside the application.

You probably know what I’m talking about: tooltips, information embedded on a page or a screen, error messages, and more. Short text that gives users the information they need when they need it.

Creating that kind of user assistance is called UX (user experience) writing or writing microcopy. It requires you to not only write tightly but also to have a good understanding of content strategy and of how to write in a user-friendly tone.

For many technical writers, UX writing is a new frontier. What do you do if you want to learn the basics of UX writing? You can start by checking out these resources:

Getting Practical with Microcopy — An introduction to planning and writing microcopy, with several good examples that take you through all the major steps of a UX writing project.

Micro Copy: Content Strategy and Writing the User Interface — A guide to the content strategy around a UX writing project. This article contains a several excellent nuggets of advice that will make the process a lot smoother.

Five Principles of Writing for Users — A set of five guidelines that underpin and define how we should write for users. You won’t learn any writing techniques from this article, but the guidelines it presents will help you better focus your UX writing.

5 Ideas for Better UX Writing — Like the article I just mentioned, this one doesn’t offer UX writing techniques. Instead, it presents on principles that focus on the user experience and not the reading experience. And, yes, that’s important.

Writing Microcopy — Good advice that will help you write effective copy for small pieces of screen real estate.

Good MicrocopyExamples of good microcopy found in the right place, at the right time. You’ll learn a lot from these examples.

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