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On Writing Interfaces Well

Jonas Downey of 37 Signals has some great advice for improving UI copy. If you write any text that appears in a UI you should be familiar with the principles he discusses.

Aesthetics are debatable, but writing is essential. Peel away the layers of styling and you’ll be left with words. Writing is the meat of a design, and it’s one of the hardest things to get right.

So why don’t designers talk about writing more often? I think there are three reasons:

  1. It’s not sexy.
  2. We’re all pretty bad at it.
  3. We think people don’t read.

And his advice:

  1. Write better words, not less words.
  2. Write for your friend.
  3. Edit relentlessly.