A Minor Case Study in UX Writing
I want to highlight some of the UX writing principles I brought to the Cloud Elements onboarding process so that they don't get lost in the shuffle of my case study.
Problem 1: Linguistic Obfuscation
As I noted in my UX design case study, one of the critical problems to emerge from the research phase was the use of unclear and obscure language throughout the onboarding process.
Note the highlighted area of the dashboard below, where there is an emphasis put on "Elements", "Instances", "Virtual Data Resources", and "Formulas".
Our research found that these icons are crucial to the usability of the product. Yet, throughout the landing page, there is little explanation on what an 'Element' is, or what it has to do with the other features ("Instances", "Virtual Data Resources", and "Formulas").
This was frustrating for the developers we interviewed, who were left to guess and assume what these signifiers meant. Moreover, explainers or help guides could not be accessed easily.
Seeing that this concerned any immediate and intuitive understanding of Cloud Elements' product, it seemed prudent to bring in UX writing principles to
Problem 2: a Marketing-Heavy Voice & Style
Our research also found many linguistic pockets throughout the onboarding process that were off-putting because, as one developer put it, everything seemed "too market-y".
Consider Cloud Elements' home screen, where the user is met with the following:
While API integrations might indeed "suck" for developers, it's probably best to discuss it:
1) more positively,
2) in less-colloquial terms, and
3) according to a voice that echoes an established style guide.
Here is another example of a marketing-heavy voice and style, found at the end of the sign-up process:
Again, it seems strange to label a CTA button with this sort of diction. Because it lacks clarity, it could likely create anxiety in the user ("Where am I going? What am I doing? What are you doing with all of the information I just entered above?"
UX Writing Solutions
Solution 1: shape the product experience by combining clear and useful copy with meaningful CTAs
In the wireframing stage, I tried to combine multiple visual and written signifiers that would allow the developer to clue-in to the various components.
As you can see in the image below, the sidebar icons are still there, but they connect to the "three pillars" of Cloud Elements' product. Not only are Elements, Virtual Data Resources, and Formulas explained in clear copy, they are connected to CTAs that give the user a sense of utility.
Unfortunately, this approach was turned down by the UX lead, who wanted to find a middle ground: keep the original diction while offering quick-and-easy access to help.
With that in mind, I created "Cloud Elements University", which gave space on the dashboard for help materials.
Solution 2: craft copy that is more in line with developer expectations.
I tackled the sign-up CTA and gave it language that is more appropriate to the action on hand.
Since this particular CTA directs follows a form and precedes an email verification page, I decided to frame this CTA as one step in the process. In other words, the CTA now says, "Click here for the next step in the process...", and follows visual progressive disclosure cues on the page.
Concerning the Cloud Elements home page, I suggested a more positive summary of what they do that is matched with any sort of style guide.