Concise doesn’t mean limited; it means something closer to efficient. Use as few words as possible without losing the meaning. When writing concisely, we make sure every word on the screen has a job.
Double negatives increase cognitive load — they make users spend extra time decoding the message.
When a sentence describes an objective and the action needed to achieve it, start the sentence with the objective.
Specific verbs (such as connect or save) are more meaningful to users than generic ones (such as configure or manage).
Inconsistency creates confusion. One typical example of inconsistency is replacing a word with a synonym in a different part of the UI. For instance, if you decide to call the process of arranging something “Scheduling” in one part of UI do not call it a “Booking” in other parts of your UI.
Another common pitfall is combining forms of address. Don’t refer to the user in both the second person and the first person within the same phrase.
One of the significant characteristics of effective UX writing is clarity and simplicity. For clarity, you need to remove the technical terms and use familiar, understandable words and phrases instead. It’s especially important to avoid jargon in error messages.
Avoid using the future tense to describe the action.
The passive voice makes readers yawn. Compare this sentence in both voices:
Use numerals in place of words for numbers.
When using a product, users aren’t immersed in the user interface itself but in their work. Consequently, users don’t read UI text — they scan it. Help them scan the text by writing it in short, scannable blocks. Chunk text into shorter sentences and paragraphs. Keep the most important text up front and then ruthlessly edit what comes after it.
Sometimes it might be helpful to provide additional information or supplemental instruction for users. But all too often such details are presented upfront. Too much information can quickly overwhelm users. Thus, reveal detail as needed. Use a mechanism of progressive disclosure to show more details. In the most basic form, this mechanism can be implemented as ‘Read more’ link to the full content.
Progressive disclosure is especially good for mobile UI (where designers have a limited screen space to work with).
The terms we use when describing interaction with a desktop app do not necessarily apply to mobile platforms. For example, if you design an iPhone app, we can’t say ‘click’ when referring to the action. We need to say ‘tap’ instead.
Users don’t like surprises. They hate situations when they’re expecting one thing, and end up with another. People should be able to tell at a glance what an element does.
When labeling buttons and other interactive elements, use action verbs, such as ‘Connect,’ ‘Send,’ ‘Subscribe’ instead of vague ‘Okay’ or ‘Submit.’