UX Writing Challenges

Writing is like working out—the more you do it, the more you benefit and the more natural it feels. In addition to following UX writing blogs and groups, I look for challenges to flex my UX brain.

For example, Daily UX Writing exercises set the scenario and stipulate character limits to focus the message, clarify options, and cut the fluff.

I share a handful of these exercises below and welcome your feedback.

CANCELED FLIGHT

Scenario: A traveler is at the airport waiting for a flight home when their flight is abruptly canceled due to bad weather.

Challenge: Write a message to notify them of the cancellation and what they need to do next.

Headline: 45 characters max
Body: 175 characters max
Button(s): 25 characters max

THE SOLUTION

Having your flight canceled is stressful, so the message must inform and offer options. A conversational tone can soften bad news without sounding glib.

LIVE IN CONCERT

Scenario: The user is a music fan and on occasion goes to live concerts. They have a music player app on their phone. 

Challenge: Tell the user that one of their favorite bands will perform live in their city. How would you compel them to go?

Headline: 30 characters max
Body: 45 characters max
Button: 25 characters

THE SOLUTION

Depending on the user’s settings, an announcement regarding their favorite band could appear as a notification on their home screen or when they launch the app (shown below).

EXPIRED CREDIT CARD

Scenario: The user is trying to rent a car using a mobile app but the credit card on file has expired.

Challenge: Write an error message that helps them correct the problem.

Headline: 30 characters
Body: 45 characters

THE SOLUTION

The app in this case has detected that the user’s card on file has expired. This message clearly states what the user needs to do before they begin their reservation.

BENCHED SPORTS FAN

Scenario: A user is a working parent, and a big sports fan, amid their favorite sports season and can no longer attend games.

Challenge: Write a promotional screen for an app that lets a user choose teams and sends game reminders, real-time score updates, and highlight videos.

Headline: 40 characters max
Body: 175 characters max
Button(s): 25 characters max

THE SOLUTION

For this challenge, I opted for a motivational tone. For the hesitant user, I added an option to read reviews before downloading.

GROCERY DELIVERY PROMO

Scenario: A user is shopping in their favorite grocery store. They open the store’s app to see what’s on sale and are greeted by a promotion.

Challenge: Write a promotional screen for the store’s subscription service that delivers groceries once monthly for a flat fee.

Headline: 45 characters max
Body: 175 characters max
Button(s): 25 characters max

THE SOLUTION

Promo screens are generally annoying, so I adopted a commiserating tone for the user who might wish they were doing something more productive than grocery shopping. If the user is truly annoyed by the interruption, they can opt out of future promos.

FIRE AFFECTING TRAFFIC

Scenario: It’s Monday. A user has just begun their morning commute.

Challenge: How would you let the user know there’s a fire nearby that is causing road closures?

Headline: 30 characters max
Body: 45 characters max

THE SOLUTION

Pretty simple: get the commuter’s attention and tell them where the fire is. If they want to avoid a mess, they’ll need to find a different route.

CAN’T WATCH THE GAME

Scenario: A sports fan attends a wedding while their favorite team plays their archrivals. Their team scores.

Challenge: How would you briefly let the sports fan know about the latest play, the current score, and the key players?

Headline: 30 characters max
Body: 45 characters max

THE SOLUTION

Display a notification on the fan’s home screen. This is pretty much all they need to know before the next big play.

ASKING FOR USER DATA

Scenario: The user visits a website for help buying a car. But the content can’t load without the user’s location. They need to enter their ZIP code and first name.

Challenge: Ask the user where they live and who they are without sounding like you’re unnecessarily mining their data.

Headline: 25 characters
Body: 45 characters
Button: 15 characters

TITLE AND METADESCRIPTION

Scenario: An elderly user searches Google to find an easy way to buy contact lenses online.

Challenge: Write a title and meta description for a website that sells subscription contact lenses delivered to a user every 30 days—convince them to try it.

Title: 60 characters max
Meta Description: 160 characters max

SOLUTION

Title: ClearSight™ Contact Lens Monthly Subscription Program

Meta Description: Affordable and convenient, ClearSight™ delivers contact lenses to your home every 30 days. From $29.99 per month when you sign up for our subscription service.

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