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UX Writing Vs. Copywriting- Comprehending the Contrast

Almost every good writer must have come across the creative avenue of copywriting. Thanks to the power of advertising, traffic generation, and marketing, copywriting has become an exceptional skill highly in demand in this technically advanced global market. But, this advancement has led to the production of writers coming in all shapes and sizes. Among content writers, editors, content strategists, bloggers, and whatnot! UX writing is a relatively new category introduced in the marvelous breed of writers.

As new and evolving as it is, many tech giants such as Google, Amazon, and Microsoft have started assembling teams of UX writers. So, when someone addresses themselves as a UX writer or a copywriter instead of simply a ‘writer,’ there’s no need to give that surprised look. Just remember that they’re the same anymore!

Let's do a little flashback before diving into the actual difference between UX writing and copywriting. A decade back, the copywriter would create the copy filling the ‘lorem ispsum’ space and send it to the designer, and they would design the page accordingly. In those days, copy or content was the King. Website creators could compromise design but not copy.

Fast forward to the user-centric approach, UX has become the king of the modern digital era. For the sake of good human-software engagement, UX contains multiple and diverse elements ranging from design and interface to copies. But, designing incredible experiences requires a deep understanding of the product, technology, and user behavior. There’s a massive interdependence between technology, design, and copy. This necessitated the development of a new skill set of UX copywriters who have a special understanding of communication, design, and technology.

Indeed, there is a crazy demand for both copywriting and UX writing in the market as both specialties are critical for businesses wanting to thrive in the digital era. So, not to use these as synonyms in the future and better understand what kind of writer you actually need, let’s dig into what copywriting and UX writing are, along with their key differences.

What exactly is UX writing?

Plain and simple, UX writing is all about writing concise and clear copies for UX design or user interface to enhance the overall user experience. UX writers’ job is to guide the user through to-the-point and deliberative content for seamless navigation. It’s all about writing interactive and engaging copies to make users relish the websites or application surfing. Unlike copywriters, UX writers closely work with the UX designer to optimize the user experience, making their career stand out from any other writing profile. Here’s what UX writers exactly write for-

  • Buttons

  • Error messages

  • Controls

  • Notifications

  • Instructions

  • Onboarding sequences

  • Form fields

  • Loading screen messages

  • Chatbots

Often UX writers are given fancy designations such as ‘content designer’ and ‘content strategist.’ However, both do not suffice the roles and responsibilities of a UX writer.

You can understand the power of UX writing with this study conducted by Google. So, while evaluating the user journey for how people used their hotel search feature, the result found that the UX microcopy saying “book a room” was daunting and looked like a forced commitment to the users. Therefore, replacing it with “check availability” led to a 17% increase in user engagement.

If you wish to explore it in detail, refer to this UX writing guide-

What is Copywriting?

Copywriting has been here since times immemorial. Whether direct or indirect, any content or copy that is written to make sales or draw customers falls under this category of writing. It has been a rock-solid part of web development for many years. A copywriter is that component of the web development process which calls or even shouts for marketing and advertising products and leaves a lasting impression on the reader or consumer. Here’s what copywriters exactly write for-

  • Landing pages

  • Email newsletters

  • Product descriptions

  • Blog posts

  • Social media posts

  • Print ads

  • Slogans

  • White papers

The Contrast

Copywriting is business-centric, whereas UX writing is user-centric

Undoubtedly, both UX writers and copywriters complement the growth of both job roles, but their focus key area remains different. Copywriters strive for profit growth, and UX writers serve for seamless user navigation.

UX writing is digital product-oriented, unlike copywriting, which is sales-oriented.

A copywriter tries to persuade the consumer to buy the product after reading the copy. Being sale-oriented, they try to boost the sales of the product they are writing for. On the other hand, UX writing is a product-oriented job that tries to maximize a positive user experience by clearly breaking down the instructions for the user and simplifying the journey for them.

UX writing is primarily technical, and copywriting is more creative.

As said above, UX writers simplify things for the user. And so, they have to be equipped with technical or backend knowledge to explain it to the user simplistically. Thus, their writing falls under the technical writing category as they make the complex details understandable and readable for the users. On the contrary, copywriters have to display their creative writing skills to engage the reader and compel them to buy the product for overall business growth. Therefore, they don’t need to possess the technical details to write creative content.

Almost every UX writer uses tools, but copywriters work with quantitative research.

For easy communication with designers, UX writers often use collaborative design tools such as Adobe XD and Figma. These design tools have live collaboration features so the entire UX team can collaborate efficiently. Contrarily, copywriters can work solely without the need to collaborate with anyone. They run numbers for quantitative research to analyze how to write marketable copies creatively.

Copywriters are storytellers, but UX writers are navigational guides.

A UX writer has a problem-solving attitude toward the user, while copywriters try to narrate stories to their audience. The more efficiently a UX writer starts writing stories in the copy instead of providing solutions to a customer’s problem, the less the user trusts the brand.

Copywriters, on the contrary, use storytelling as their primary power to impress their readers. But, of course, providing solutions with the story is just a cherry on the top. Thus, there is no limitation for a copywriter for not providing customer solutions or satisfaction. Similarly, while copywriters have the advantage of narrating stories, UX writers can also present a story if they are smart enough to keep it short and sweet. Who knows, this may give rise to intriguing user navigation.

Copywriting may include bulk content writing, unlike UX writing which is concise and crisp.

As said above, copywriters can freely play with words to depict stories through their writing. Unlike UX writers, they do not face the challenge of being limited with the words to deliver a concise and clear message to the reader. Indeed, when compared, this makes the job of a UX writer, which demands hours of brainstorming and research, much more difficult than a copywriter.

UX writer directs the user, whereas copywriting deliberates user/consumer to take action.

While ensuring smooth navigation of the website or application, a UX writer also delivers that the user is not lost and confused about what actions to take and how. We can say that a UX writer acts as a directional or guiding light for the user but doesn’t exactly force them to take a particular action. At the same time, to market a product and boost sales, the copywriter has to deliberate a user to take action by emphasizing the product's advantages along with the “Buy Now” or “Click now” button.

Pay scale differences.

As UX writing is a professional avenue, UX writers are paid much more than copywriters. According to annual salary estimates by Glassdoor, UX writers make nearly 37% more than copywriters. The same estimates also indicate that the average annual salary of UX writers is $112k, while the average salary of copywriters is $70k per year. Do the math, and you’ll understand that a UX writer makes almost 1.5-2 times more than a usual copywriter.

The Big Difference

Many copywriters are jumping on the bandwagon of UX writing. This new breed of writers is introduced as ‘UX copywriters.’ It’s clear that if they know copywriting well enough, they might ace UX writing too. The only difference is that their objective and mindset of writing undergoes an entirely new spectrum.

The stark distinction between these two is that UX writers have no connection whatsoever to the marketing staff. UX writers, however, are actually a component of the teams of product designers or UX designers. A UX writer's copy does not essentially create the brand voice, boost sales, or sell the product. Instead of trying to sell readers something, their primary writing objective is to improve user experience. A UX writer creates concise copies for form fields, control buttons, chatbots, screen messages, error messages, and instructions for mobile apps.

On the other hand, copywriters always collaborate with the marketing team, and their primary concerns are product sales and marketing instead of focusing on user experience. Therefore, they mainly write content for landing pages, product descriptions, social media descriptions, slogans, etc.

The Bottom Line

To have the best of both worlds, enterprises can make copywriters and UX writers collaborate to have the best of both worlds. This way, they can devise the best marketing content alongside optimum user experience content.

Although UX writers and copywriters are two separate professions with their own set of specialties, they are frequently confused with one another. While a copywriter writes to market and boost company sales, a UX writer writes with an emphasis on UX design and enhancing user experience.

It is even possible to switch from a UX writer to a copywriter. However, this flip is comparatively easier than the other way round. All in all, both of these writing fields possess distinctive writing abilities and cooperate to accomplish corporate objectives.

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