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October 3, 2022
The Only UX Writing Guide You’ll Ever Need

What is UX Writing? And why is it an essential component of any digital product design?

Let’s do a fun exercise together. Pull up your favorite song on Spotify or YouTube and give it a quick listen. What sticks out to you the most?

Is it the masterful composition? The energy and vibe? Or maybe a lyric that really hits home? Are you blown away by how much emotion a songwriter packs into a simple line with their word choice?

Now picture your favorite song without those lyrics. Sure, it sounds pretty on its own, and maybe you can paint a picture in your mind — but something FEELS incomplete.

This is the idea behind UX writing. If your favorite app didn’t have any written content, you would only have some cool designs to look at. You would have no idea how to use it to accomplish your goals. The UX/UI design might as well be wall art at that point.

Just like your favorite song, digital products need UX writing to compliment the tone of the design, communicate ideas, lay out directions, and support the overall experience. And we’ll show you how to use your brand identity to craft your website’s “lyrics.”

What is UX Writing?

There are multiple types of writing out there, so we need to draw some distinctions.

The three common types of business writing are copywriting, technical writing, and UX writing. All three require strong analytical skills to break down concepts and communicate them in ways that are easy to understand. 

Copywriting has a strong focus on marketing. Copywriters persuade the audience into buying their products, fulfilling a “want.” The goal is to bring in new customers, appeal to their desires, and talk them into making a purchase.

Technical writing is much more complex. It’s all about communicating complex information and processes in a easy way for the end user to understand and implement. In the UX/UI design field, this usually means material related to computer software and consumer electronics.

If you need an example of a technical document, dig in your miscellaneous drawer and grab the box your iPhone came in (because we know you’re saving it for SOME reason). The instructional manual has to show the average user how to set it up and how to use it.

UX writing combines copywriting and technical writing, but with a different endgame in mind. Simply put, copywriting sells, technical writing teaches, and UX writing solves.

The emphasis is on the user’s journey in UX writing. We’re writing for existing users, focusing on solving a problem and achieving a goal. In this scenario, there is no room for the abstract, so keep it simple and don’t overthink it.

UX writing comparison chart

The Characteristics of UX Writing

While most copywriting services give you plenty of room to explore ideas, UX writing has a few more intricacies. Unless we’re writing a blog or some other long-form piece for a client, we are usually working with limited space.

Like a songwriter that packs a big punch with a well-written lyric, the copy on your digital product needs to communicate a lot while saying so little.


UX design is driven by empathy for the user — and our designs wouldn’t be as impactful without written content. Being unrelatable is NOT an option.

It’s all about putting yourself in the user’s shoes and understanding how to communicate with them on behalf of the client. In UX writing, we need to know exactly what to say and when to say it to strike the perfect chord with our audience.

When you’re writing, always be thinking about what the user wants to hear and how the client can get them to the finish line.


It’s worth repeating every time: our online attention spans are short. We don’t have time or room to write a college dissertation about how amazing our clients are.

We have to reel in the audience with some thoughtful copy, help them understand the big picture, and get them where they need to go. Not only does the content need to be written well, but it needs to be structured perfectly in order of importance.

Utilizing active voice helps UX writers be as clear and unambiguous as possible, but it’s also on the UX writer to cut down on wordy sentences and paragraph length. Just remember the last time you looked at an enormous paragraph and thought “Nah, I’m not reading that” (even if the answer lies within).


The client’s digital product is often the face of their brand. We cannot (under any circumstances) lose the client’s voice and tone for the sake of brevity.

After all, the client’s communication style plays a big part in shaping the user experience. We form our designs around these identities, and copy that does not support the look and feel makes for a disjointed and awkward experience.

Be aware of UX writing constraints, but let your imagination run wild within them. Form some key messages that sum up the client’s purpose and weave them throughout the written content with some clever, inventive word choices.

Characteristics of UX writing

Establishing Voice and Tone

Whether the client already has their voice and tone set in stone or needs help creating them, they are absolutely crucial in creating copy that resonates with the user.

Think about a high-end luxury watch company. If you go to their website, notice how the messaging isn’t all over the place. It’s smooth, suave, and succinct. You get the big picture of their personality and target customer just from reading a few headlines and buzzwords.

This is because they have an established voice and tone — a style and flair that shapes the storytelling and breathes life into written content.

A company’s communication style plays a massive part in their brand identity. Sometimes it’s the first thing that comes to mind when someone mentions a brand. Take Wendy’s for example…is the first thing you think of their square burgers or their savage Twitter roasts?

Voice characteristics are like personality traits. Let’s stack the watch company and Wendy’s against each other. If they were people, they’d live completely different lives. How would you describe the brand if they were a real person?

Voice and tone comparison-Wendy's and Rolex
If Rolex and Wendy's brands were people, they'd probably live totally different lifestyles. One embodies luxury and class while the other emphasizes value with a side of sass.

Voice and Tone Discovery

Like all things UX, you’ll get the best idea of the characteristics your copy needs to emulate by talking directly to the end-user. Your interviews will show you how to play into the communication style that resonates with them.

Client interviews are also super helpful because they likely already have an idea of what their brand is about and who their users are. They’ll likely have some key messages about what makes their brand the best and know how they want the user to feel when reading those messages.

The user knows how they like to be talked to. They also know when they’re being pandered to. And the client knows what they’re all about and the audience they want to reach. It’s up to the UX writer to fine-tune that research into characteristics that make a brand stand out.

Ask these questions to hone in on voice characteristics that work for the client and audience:

Client Interview Questions

  • How would you define your brand?
  • What are your strengths and weaknesses as a brand?
  • Who are your biggest competitors? What are their strengths and weaknesses as a brand?
  • What sets you apart from your competitors?
  • Why should your audience choose your brand?
  • What are some other brands/communication styles you admire?
  • Who is your target audience? Define them in three words.
  • Are there any keywords we should include?

User Interview Questions

  • What brands do you gravitate to? Why?
  • What are your opinions of the client’s product? What are their strengths and weaknesses?
  • Why do you keep using the client’s product?
  • What drives your purchasing decisions?
  • What is most important to you when using a website/mobile app?
  • Where do you mostly use digital products? Desktop, mobile, iPad, etc.
  • What turns you away from buying/using products?
  • What are some of your favorite/least favorite marketing campaigns?

15 Tips for UX Writing

From Hemingway to Wilde and even Taylor Swift, we all have different writing processes. A special routine to help us get in the zone to write a masterpiece of literature (or just some really great digital product copy).

So brew a fresh pot of coffee, put on your favorite playlist to get in the right headspace, and keep these UX writing tips in the back of your mind.

  • Be concise. If a sentence is feeling wordy, it is!
  • Write for an 8th-grade audience. Not everyone visiting your page is an industry expert.
  • Keep your interview notes and voice and tone guidelines handy for quick reference.
  • Review brand and style guides beforehand to make sure everything gels.
  • Look at competitor messaging and consider how it could be improved.
  • Avoid jargon whenever possible. If you have to, explain it in the most basic terms.
  • Present tense and active voice are your best friends.
  • Use SEO keywords like spices – don’t overdo it!
  • Keep a thesaurus by your side to vary up your vocabulary.
  • Draft alternate copy to explore more ideas and give the client choices.
  • Empathize with the user by leading with the primary goal of the page.
  • Keep copy consistent and on-brand.
  • Peer reviews are super useful for exploring ideas and catching errors.
  • Keep your headlines and microcopy as short as you can.
  • Utilize bulleted lists to your advantage to make content scannable.

Who Can Help Me With UX Writing?

Allow us to throw our banana into the ring!

If you need us to take care of the whole design from beginning to end or just need help writing copy for a landing page, we’ve got you covered.

Copywriting examples from CreateApe

On top of our expert UX/UI design and full-stack web development teams, we also have an in-house UX writing team to provide copywriting services for all your digital products. Websites, mobile apps, product copy, blogs, investor decks, scripts, social media content — you name it, we can write it.

We’ll work with you to form a unique voice your audience won't soon forget, then craft copy to solidify your style. And since we work in tandem with our UX/UI designers, all the parts come together like a perfectly-produced top 10 hit.

Like what you're seeing? Do you need to UX-ify the copy for your digital product? Start a project with us today!

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September 26, 2022
7 Website Design Branding Tips From Create Ape

What do you and five billion people have in common? Notably, you’re all on the internet. 63% of the human population has the potential to see your business online, so how can your website design branding stand out?

Think like this: a website brand speaks volumes about your personality. What makes things stick out to you? How do you, personally, want to portray yourself?

We’ll revisit this topic later, but for now, learn how to shape up your website design branding strategy.

Check out Our Seven Tips to Put Your Brand Front and Center:

CreateApe's seven website design branding tips

Define Clear Branding Guidelines

It’s one thing to understand what makes your brand stand out, but defining your guidelines is another vital part of the puzzle. Create a solid baseline to allow your company to understand exactly what to do to match your brand. 

When you look at a new Apple phone on the shelves, you’re certain the product will look sleek and modern with a decent chance that you’ll keep the box after it’s opened.

Their website is no exception. Apple uses negative space to enhance the visual appeal of their newest products, further emphasizing the modern feel of Apple devices.

Above all, their style is consistent. If you put a colorful mascot on the Apple landing page, it would look severely out of place.

One other example you’re likely to recognize – Nike tacks their logo on just about every product they have. Even though the word “Nike” isn’t always visible, the trademark swoosh lets the world know exactly what brand they’re dealing with.

Create Strong Visuals

Looking to make your site content up to 180% more engaging? Just add visuals! Tailor your site to your branding image to leave a lasting impression.

Online marketing has the perk of being highly adaptable. Change it up however you see fit, but create an engaging webpage to keep your visitors interested. 

Here’s our website redesign for PMPT, a business all about keeping you moving.

In this case, we streamlined their website design to allow for a more efficient user experience in setting up appointments and navigating the site. Your visuals should be appealing, but not obstructive to the user. 

Website design branding is more than creating a good-looking website – it’s about making an informed decision to craft a product that works for you.

If you’re looking to buff out your designs, check out how we can enhance your brand.

Minimize Text

One of the many keys to effective website design branding is in your text. Keep your viewers reading by organizing your ideas and sorting those ideas into easy-to-digest snippets.

For reference, long and wordy paragraphs might work for a research paper, but if you’re aiming for a broader audience, then keep it short and to the point.

Remember: less is more. Nothing turns away online visitors like walls of text, so spread out your paragraphs to keep your visitor reading deeper into your site. Break up your text into easy-to-read paragraphs and allow yourself to use vocabulary that suits your audience.

Overall, the focus should be on creating a comfortable user experience.

Three Things to Consider for UX Friendliness:

  • Content hierarchy
  • Bulleted lists
  • Punchy sentences

The purpose of a title is to get your visitor’s attention and read what comes after. Good content hierarchy allows for quick recognition of topics that your audience would like to read.

Once you have your content separated, split it up some more. Break up your text into readable snippets formatted as a bulleted list.

Then, structure your text around being as visibly appealing as possible. Short and to-the-point sentences keep your audience’s attention.

Develop Your Brand’s Voice

At this point, we’re mostly all familiar with Wendy’s Twitter marketing strategy and the many attempts to replicate it. The fast food chain created a definitive voice that puts them near the top in terms of creative online marketing. They remain memorable to customers by being consistently witty and snarky, but they never go overboard.

While Wendy’s developed their voice to reach a target audience that aligns with their identity, if you apply this persona to a high-end restaurant, it likely wouldn’t go so well.

Reason being, they broke a few rules to reach their brand’s voice. This is 100% okay since that’s the style nuance they chose. Your brand can also reach this by understanding what works for you.

For example, a hair dye company might use incorrect grammar to sound casual and laid back. On the other hand, a bank would use proper corporate language to look professional.

All words have a story to them, and it’s just a matter of you choosing the right ones for the job.

Be Mobile-Friendly

Website design branding mobile statistic

We would guess that there’s a smartphone nearby while you read this article. To be more accurate, there’s roughly an 84% chance that’s true.

Nothing says “professional” like having a responsive website – a design that seamlessly adapts to smaller screen sizes. Always remember that as your brand grows, more people will check out your website on the go. 

And when we say “more people,” we mean that nearly 60% of all web searches come from a mobile device. Bumping up your mobile website design branding has the potential to skyrocket your influence.

Maximize your opportunities to spread your brand by ensuring the mobile version of your site is well-tested and optimized for smaller devices. Your visitors are ready to go, and you should be too.

Know Your Target Audience

As we said before, there are a lot of people on the internet. So understanding your target audience is valuable for moving your website in the right direction.

Keep an Eye on These Demographics:

  • Age
  • Location
  • Gender
  • Income
  • Interests

Use analysis programs like Google Analytics or Hotjar to get your user’s information. For example, if you have a low engagement rate with organic users then you’re not hitting your target market.

This means that if your visitors see your site from a Google search and don’t find what they’re looking for, they’ll leave.

Take a look at your analytics to get a better understanding of who you’re dealing with. For example, if you’re aiming toward the older crowd but your average visitor is a 19-year-old male, you need to revamp your site’s design.

Once you get a good idea of who visits your site, you can get into the details of how to market directly to them.

Stay Consistent

If someone told you that you could make 33% more money by using the same words, would you take them up on that offer?

The reality is: viewers are more comfortable with a consistent brand. Even using your signature colors could even boost your brand’s recognition by 80%.

However, proper website design branding has a few extra steps when it comes to building that recognition.

Every site has consistent aspects to it. For example, the buttons on your website should do exactly what they imply. A “buy now” button should always lead to the purchase page.

Given the same context, this call to action (CTA) should be the same everywhere else on the site.

This doesn’t only apply to your CTAs. Throughout your brand identity, you’ll notice consistencies that your visitors recognize. 

Now, apply this thought process to the rest of your website. You name it: banners, buttons, CTAs, structure, visual style, etc. Again, consistency is key when establishing a connection with your visitors.

Piece it Together

Take another look at your website design branding. How do you want to portray yourself? Bold, casual, professional, or laid-back? Each of these pieces come together in a way that paints your image in the public’s eye.

Every section of this blog post represents another piece of the problem when creating a unique and identifiable brand.

Each step to website design branding is like a Rubik’s Cube. It’s a relatively common comparison in digital marketing because each stage has a specific purpose. For example, suppose you attempt the standard 3x3x3 puzzle without a specific method. In that case, solving it could take you between 20 to 43 quintillion tries. Branding isn’t any different.

Naturally, successful branding can be done without research. It just takes time and a little bit of luck.

If you’re looking to make your own luck, CreateApe is here to solve your marketing puzzle. We’ll use our tried-and-true processes with a team of experts to investigate, ideate, and create your next big idea.

Get in touch to get your branding right the first time.

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February 6, 2023
5 Tips for Storytelling in UX

Storytelling in UX gets your audience emotionally invested in your product. Usability leaves an impression, but your product’s story keeps it relevant and relatable.

How often have you turned off a movie because it wasn’t sucking you in? Or have you ever watched a movie all the way through when it started strong, but didn’t stick the landing?

Our attention spans are getting shorter and shorter (thanks TikTok…). The actual statistics vary, but a 2020 report from the Nielson Norman Group estimates that you only have 10 seconds tops to catch and keep your users attention.

So, how do you visually convince your user to keep scrolling when they rarely look below the fold? Should you try to cram all the information into the header and hope they read everything?

No, dummy! No one (and we repeat NO ONE) is going to read all that. When it comes to getting your user hooked, your digital product needs a captivating and well-structured story.

5 Tips for Storytelling in UX

  • Choose a genre
  • Consider the scenarios
  • Treat the story as a hero’s journey
  • Learn to love editing
  • Focus on world-building

What Makes a Good Story?

Every person or brand has a story. Whether or not the user gets invested in the story depends on how you tell it.

Most stories (especially movies) follow a three-act structure: Set-up, confrontation, and resolution. This structure could translate to a website or digital product, but not every story needs three clearly defined acts.

If you’ve ever taken an English or creative writing course, you might have seen the mountain story structure chart. It maps the entire plot from beginning to end, starting with the exposition, followed by rising action leading to the climax. 

After the story reaches its peak, everything starts to settle by wrapping up plot points and reaching a resolution.

Basic plot structure for storytelling in UX
Image Source: Brittany E. Krueger

Let’s apply this structure to a brand story (using Spotify as an example):

  • Exposition: Spotify was founded in 2006 in Stockholm, Sweden by Daniel Ek and Martin Lorentzon as an answer to the music piracy problem in the early 2000s.
  • Rising Action: Spotify starts earning revenue through their “freemium” business model and selling ad space. They also started acquiring other music discovery platforms as early as 2013.
  • Climax: Though their focus was primarily on music from the beginning, Spotify started offering podcasts in 2015 when they reached 60 million active users.
  • Falling Action: Spotify continues to acquire podcasting companies, along with platforms for sports, entertainment, and pop culture media. Podcasts become a cornerstone of their media library.
  • Resolution: By Q4 of 2021, the number of monthly active users grew by 18% year-over-year. This roughly translates to 406 million users.

Of course, this isn’t the ONLY way to present your personal or brand story. Iconic movies like Pulp Fiction (actually, most Quentin Tarantino movies) are notorious for not following the three-act structure. And plenty of stories function as short vignettes instead of having a strong central plot (looking at you, “On The Road” by Jack Kerouac).

But if you’re not a wildly acclaimed author or Oscar-winning screenwriter, these structures can help any novice writer with storytelling in UX.

5 Tips for Storytelling in UX

So you’re putting together a digital product. You have all the flows sketched out and all the steps the user needs to take to accomplish a goal. Now, you have to give your user a reason to follow through.

How do you give the user the right incentive to stay to the end and come back for more? By telling a story along the way that hits all the right beats and resonates on a personal level.

Every product has a story to tell. But if you’re not sure where to start, you can always follow these five simple tips for storytelling in UX design.

Choose a Genre

It’s safe to say that there’s no such thing as a “general audience” in UX design. The best digital products have a focused niche that solves problems for a clearly defined demographic.

Just like science fiction novels are a bigger hit with the comic con crowd and some people can’t handle ultra-gory horror movies, a digital product’s story works better when it’s tailored for its intended audience.

You can start by defining the purpose of your product (an app for finance management, an integration software for client management, etc). But that’s just the beginning. The story should always have additional layers for a more distinct personality.

Once you identify the product’s target audience, consider how you’re going to communicate with them, how you’re going to establish and structure the goals, and how you’re going to pitch your solutions to your potential users.

Consider the Scenarios

You could write the best novel ever that wins every literary award under the sun, and some people would still rather wait for Netflix to adapt it into a TV show. Why would someone rather binge a TV series when the source material is so much better?

They might not be big readers, to begin with. Or they might not have time to finish a 1,000-page from end-to-end. How do you get your audience to take that crucial first step with all those figurative “blockers” in the way?

Audible is an excellent example of turning those user pain points into opportunities (we promise this isn’t a sponsored post 😜). A huge online audiobook library helps literature enthusiasts enjoy stories without taking time out of their day to sit down and read.

These scenarios also apply to the accessibility of the product. It helps to put yourself in the user’s shoes and think about when and where they need to use the product (on the bus, at the gym, or in a crowded nightclub). What flows or messaging would assist them or drive them away in these scenarios?

Treat the Story as the Hero’s Journey

The kids call this “main character syndrome” — but when we’re out to accomplish a goal, we’re only thinking about our needs and wants. Whether the user is booking a trip or launching a business with your digital product, they’re your Batman, Wonder Woman, or Luke Skywalker as long as they’re using your interface.

Storytelling in UX: The Hero's Journey
Image Source:

Let’s break down the hero’s journey to see how it could apply to your digital product.

Ordinary World

  • Call to adventure: The user stumbles upon your product and takes in the information.
  • Refusal of the call: The user may have trepidations about taking the first step. How will you incentivize them to begin the journey?
  • Meeting the mentor: Your chatbot or onboarding process is your Obi-wan Kenobi. Show the user they’ll have a guide along the way.
  • Crossing the threshold: The user heeds the call by creating an account or beginning the conversion process.

Unknown World

  • Tests, allies, and enemies: Gauge the user’s wants, needs, and ability levels, direct them towards what they want, and steer them away from what they don’t.
  • Approaching the inmost cave: The user’s doubts and fears may crop back up before they move forward. How will you help them soothe those anxieties?
  • The ordeal: The user draws upon their skills and past experiences to accomplish their goal, buy a product, start a campaign, etc.
  • The reward: Reward the user with any incentives you provided earlier (product discounts, a month of free membership, etc.)

Back to the Ordinary World

  • The road back: Reward in hand, how do you help the user get back to “the ordinary world” (AKA, the starting point)?
  • The resurrection: How do you incentivize the user to come back to your product?
  • Return with elixir: How do you get the user to keep seeing your product in a positive light? How will you represent how they’ve improved or succeeded on their journey?

Learn to Love Editing

The first draft of a story is never perfect, EVER. Your favorite novel probably went through several rounds of edits by the author, their peers, or their publishing company.

When the novel is finally released, that’s it (at least, until the publishers decide to run a re-release). If there are typos and grammatical errors, you can’t fix them and automatically publish like you can on a WordPress site.

But with storytelling in UX, your product and content can go through several iterations until the story is flawless and leaves a lasting impression on the user.

Yes, internal reviews, user testing, and revisions take some time. But it’s a valuable opportunity to polish and fine-tune your product’s story.

Focus on World-Building

If we’ve said it before, we’ll say it again...Version 1 of your digital product is just the beginning. It’s up to you if the saga continues.

You don’t have to plan out an entire extended universe like Marvel, Star Wars, or Lord of the Rings, but think about how you can build upon the existing story with a sequel. It could be a new product that answers a different user need or a feature that gives your product a whole new layer of usefulness.

Sequels get a bad reputation for never being as good as the original, so proceed with caution. Do lots of research and spend plenty of time at the drawing board before releasing your own The Empire Strikes Back, Aliens, or Shrek 2.

Just like a business grows and improves, so does the user. They have the potential to discover new abilities and possibilities in the digital world. Always be thinking long-term instead of reveling around in your short-term success.

Using Storytelling in UX to Make Meaningful Products

There’s an intention behind everything in UX. Every button, color, link, and word is meticulously placed to engage and guide users through their journey. And nothing makes a user feel more “seen” than a relatable story.

After all, whenever you’re talking to a friend and they start telling a story, they’re not trying to direct the attention back to themselves. That’s them trying to relate to you and empathize with your struggles.

Through storytelling in UX, you give the product more context and create a sense of familiarity with the user (even when there’s no actual human interaction). Your product story, both in and outside the interface, is the heart and soul of the user experience.

A functional, good-looking product is only half the battle in UX design. Use storytelling to give it a colorful past, immersive present, and promising future.

Need help fleshing out your story? Our designers and UX writers know how to really paint a picture with words and visuals. Start a project with us today!

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