Word Power

Words are a critical part of User Experience.

I have been watching a bit of The Crown, a Netflix series based on the life of Queen Elizabeth the 2nd. It shows notable personalities like Winston Churchill and Lord Mountbatten, in their day to day life, and I recommend it for the detail.

In a few scenes Winston Churchill is shown mulling carefully the right words to say to an audience. He might be meeting someone in person or it might be the media. But he really takes the pain to communicate with passion and force. This snippet from this site the put it better:

…Churchill does what Churchill does best: He uses his speech-writing skills to write himself out of a corner. He turns a hospital visit into a quick PR stunt and transforms his public image from that of an out-of-touch politician to a “true leader in a crisis.” He re-writes his narrative in real time. It’s as impressive as it is upsetting.

Words affect the neurons of our brains directly. They make us laugh and cry, anxious and relieved. Good products must use them to make a relationship with users.

Slack is one app which has done it well. Their home screen is something like this:


When I recommended Slack to a friend, his first reaction was he wants to use this app just because he saw Mars. This was before he’d actually used the product or seen anyone using it.

Slack does not just use the power of words within the product UI, it even does so in App store updates:

Maybe this comes from Slack’s roots in Video games but Slack has got it right. And given that how powerful the impact of words can be, more products should focus on the messaging as part of the user interface.

PS: This useful article can help you in getting started with better writing for UX.

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