Getting Real: Copywriting is interface design 19 May 2005
34 comments Latest by Tom Holzel
CSS, HTML, XHTML, Standards, IA, flow diagrams, charts, boxes and arrows, color schemes, textured backgrounds, buttons or links, tables or floats, fixed or liquid layouts, etc. All important at some level. But where’s the talk about copywriting?
Copywriting is interface design. Great interfaces are written. If you think every pixel matters then you also need to think every letter matters.
Do you label a button “Submit” or “Save” or “Update” or “New” or “Create” ? That’s copywriting. Do you write 3 sentences or 5? Do you explain with general examples or with details? Do you label content “New” or “Updated” or “Recently Updated” or “Modified” ? Is it “There are new messages: 5” or “There are 5 new messages” or is it “5” or “five” or “messages” or “posts “? All of this matters.
And then there’s Defensive Design. Who writes your error messages? Hopefully a writer and not a computer.
Good writing is good design. It’s a rare exception where words don’t accompany design. Icons with names, form fields with examples, buttons with labels, step by step instructions in a process. Clearly explaining your refund policy is interface design.
Do not skimp on writing. Pay attention to what you are asking people to read. Read what you write out loud. Don’t use seven words when four will do. Hire good writers.
Write good interfaces.