What makes UX and UI copywriting different?

If you navigate through a website or app with ease or even delight, your user experience (UX) is a positive one. These days, UX and user interface (UI) designers work closely with writers (also known as content designers or content copywriters) to make sure your journey through a digital environment is intuitive, effortless and enjoyable. 

This is important because how a person moves through your website or app influences how they feel about your business and brand. UX and UI writers develop the copy that guides people along this digital journey. UX copywriting is different from other types of copywriting because its mission is to help the user (or customer) move intuitively through the interface, from start to finish, and at every interaction in between. 

Successful UX and UI writing must: 

  1. Start with empathy. Putting yourself in someone else’s shoes helps you understand how they’d like to interact with your business and brand. Gather all the available data and research to build a picture of your customers, their needs, their mindset and how they perceive your brand. Then UX and UI writers can use this information to strike up a conversation with them online. 
  2. Be clear. Words guide people at critical points in their customer journey. Every time a person gets to a new screen, a call-to-action button or an error message, words explain what the options are and fill any gaps in information. UX and UI writers can use words that prompt, reassure them and give feedback. Their mission is to make your interface easy to use. 
  3. Be concise. Our time, mental processing power and the available digital landscape are all limited, so concise, simple language is essential. UX and UI writers are writing for mobile-first, and make every word count. They aim to minimise the cognitive load on the person moving through your website or app, so customers can achieve what they’re there for as quickly as possible. 
  4. Have personality: You can be concise and clear and still express personality! To achieve this, UX and UI writers need to understand your brand personality, particularly your tone of voice. If you haven’t defined this yet, they can help you craft it. Then, they will skillfully employ it throughout your digital landscape to evoke a feeling about your business and brand. Writers can imbue every word with a sense of who you are, creating a consistent and authentic experience. 

Having a professional writer on the job, from the idea to the development of your digital environment, is the best way to optimise the user experience. The best UX and UI copywriters are strategic thinkers and problem solvers. They pay attention to the micro detail, take an analytical approach and have an open mind. With these attributes, UX and UI writers can create quality content that encourages users to stick with your brand every step of the way. 

Three good reasons for keeping up your traditional media activity


Several clients have asked us recently whether they should continue to target traditional media with their marketing and communications. It’s a valid question, given the decline of traditional or ‘mainstream’ media, the shift of advertising dollars to social media and the real advantages new media offers in terms of rich data, metrics and the opportunity to target. Yet, the reality is to build a brand effectively you still need both. Here we take a look at why.

  1. People still consume traditional media

According to The Digital News Report: Australia 2016 traditional media (TV, print and radio) is still our main source of news (52.3%). Of course, depending on your target audience, this varies. Younger consumers (18-24 year olds) cite online news as their main source of news, whereas 72.4% of 55+ year olds continue to consume news via traditional channels. You need to know your target audience and their media preferences.

  1. Old media has undergone a major transformation to include new media and continues to evolve

In the past few years, traditional media outlets (particularly print) have had to change – and quickly – or shut down. While they may still be working out their business model, many outlets now offer news via their websites or newspaper apps, which are the top sources of online news. Media outlets have also embraced social media, recognising that a growing number of consumers use different social platforms to access news. According to the Digital News Report, 18.5% of survey participants said social media was their main news source and this figure is 40.7% for the 18-24 year age bracket.

  1. Old school still works

If you have been doing bus-stop advertising near your local business and it is still working, then keep it up. New media is accessible, measurable, affordable and interactive (think user-generated content) and it certainly provides a myriad of new choices (for you and for consumers). So it is worth considering your options, but keep in mind it is a complex landscape and the rules are always changing. If you have a winning formula then there’s no need to ditch it for the promise of the latest shiny, new thing. It comes down to what’s best for your business.

While it is clear the traditional media industry continues to suffer as people shift their focus online, it is equally clear that traditional media is not giving up without a fight. This is why you have to keep up with both – for now at least.

The simple, social way to build a better brain


What surprised me about the experts’ advice is that their recommendations for a better brain were almost the same as for creating a healthy body – with one main exception.

Perhaps I shouldn’t have been surprised, after all the brain is part of the body. Yet, as the fattest organ of our body, I wonder how the brain achieves such remarkable feats? Even after countless studies there is so much that we do not understand about the brain. However, there is fair evidence about how we can build a better one.

Six ways to build a better brain

  1. Eat well – just like the rest of the body the brain needs good nutrients to function.
  2. Get enough sleep, allowing the brain to restore itself (yes, it produces new cells).
  3. Stay fit – exercise increases communication in vital parts of our brain.
  4. Switch off and relax – sustained stress has a corrosive effect on this organ.
  5. Avoid drugs and smoking (but not necessarily alcohol in moderation).
  6. Get out into nature and soak up some Vitamin D.

Plus one more thing…

The tips above sound like the top ones for creating a healthy body, right? Well, here’s the rub – for a healthy brain, according to the brain experts, we also need social interaction. We need to communicate and engage with other human beings – in person and not just via a screen. This keeps our brains challenged, stimulated and positive all through life.

So the best thing you can do right now for your brain is to stop reading this and find someone to discuss it with.

‘Build a better brain’ was part of the Brisbane Writers Festival 2016. The authors talking about brain health were Dr Nicola Gates, John Elder Robison, Dr Nancy Pachana and David Astle. #bwf16

5 things every woman should remember about her own health

not_what_I_expectedIt was not how I’d imagined spending my Saturday morning. At a recent symposium there I was looking at diagrams of the female reproductive organs and graphs of survival rates. (Stay with me, this is important). While the audience was listening intently and asking polite questions, I wanted to jump up and shout, ‘How can you be so calm? They’re talking about you!’ Instead I stayed silent, listened and learnt five things every woman – with or without gynaecological cancer – should remember about her health.

  1. Exercise is a lifelong medicine

We know exercise has a positive impact on our physical and mental wellbeing, yet we find a million excuses not to do it. If you think exercise is hard, then imagine trying to do it while having chemotherapy. ‘That’s crazy,’ I hear you say. Well, the ECHO research trial is proving that 150 minutes per week of moderate exercise (yes, huff and puff stuff) helps get patients through chemo for ovarian cancer. Imagine what it can help you get through.

  1. Resilience is vital

Australian author and social commentator Rebecca Sparrow can talk with authority about resilience. She has it in spades. As she says, the reality is that life pitches a curve ball at everyone at some point. Knowing how to pick yourself and keep going is a skill vital to our health and wellbeing.

  1. We need to talk

Today there are many support services available for women’s health, yet often it’s our own networks that prove the most powerful. Sitting next to me was a woman who had vaginal cancer, which is not a common cancer. When she was first diagnosed she felt very alone. She felt a certain (undeserved) stigma and embarrassment about her condition. Her mother had confided in a friend and it turned out her friend’s daughter also had vaginal cancer. So they got their daughters talking.

  1. Prevention is still better than cure

In the past 20 years researchers have found new ways to detect and in some cases predict cancer (genetic predisposition) but not for all cancers. We tend to think if we have a regular pap smear we’re covered, right? Wrong. Pap smears can detect cervical cancer but not the raft of other cancers. In Australia every two hours of the day a woman is diagnosed with gynaecological cancer. Women, young and old, need to pay attention to any irregular symptoms and see a doctor.

  1. Medical research may help us all

Gynaecological cancer research is positively impacting healthcare for all women. Take, for example, the LACE clinical trial, which examines the treatment of endometrial cancer via a laparoscopic (key-hole) hysterectomy versus traditional, open-abdominal surgery. This trial has shown the keyhole approach results in less pain, fewer complications and an improved quality of life. This could also be used for benign hysterectomies, helping women without cancer as well.

It is only because women participate in such clinical trials that medical teams can improve the way that they do things. Hats off to everyone who has volunteered. You are potentially helping yourself and all womankind.

I was a guest at the Queensland Centre for Gynaecological Cancer’s annual research symposium. For more details see http://www.gyncan.org