Concise, precise interface copy

Sometimes a tweet says all that needs to be said:

This is such good advice. I love that it was given in fewer than 140 characters. (I originally thought that “agin” was purposefully abbreviated, due to the character restriction, but it turns out his tweet is only 128 characters, and it appears to be a typo. If only Twitter would let you edit Tweets!)

In writing up my own blog post, I went and viewed this tweet, and looked at the responses or replies that it received. I’m so glad I did, because I was treated to this lovely reply that included a link to an even lovelier article:

The article, “On Writing Interfaces Well by Jonas Downey,” cited in this tweet is spot on. It has a similar message about editing interface text for conciseness, but it adds in my favorite compatible attribute of conciseness: preciseness.

I must quote from Downey’s conclusion, because it bears repeating:

Quality writing is hard work that takes time, but it’s worth it. Accumulated across your entire website or app, consistently good writing will help reduce your users’ confusion, and your customer support burden to boot.

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One Response to Concise, precise interface copy

  1. Anna Biunno says:

    Regarding, “…It has a similar message about editing interface text for conciseness, but it adds in my favorite compatible attribute of conciseness: preciseness.”

    Just yesterday, I asked a writer whether she really meant to say “situations” instead of “scenarios”. Interchangeable? Perhaps. Will users know the difference, or care? Maybe not. But we were trying to get to that elusive “preciseness” that we’re after.

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